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Sociology Newsletter Letter from the Chair

Spring 2015

Dear Friends, This is my last letter as department chair. In the social sciences, the chair position rotates every three years and this is the end of my fourth year, and I am eager to spend more time conducting research, teaching, and mentoring students. Fortunately, we have an amazing chair-in-waiting: Professor Darnell Hunt. I am quite confident that you know about his research even if you don’t know him personally. He is the lead author of the Hollywood Diversity Report that documents the degree to which women and minorities are present in front and behind the camera. As you will see in this newsletter, the report has received much media attention in the past months.

Table of Contents 1 2

Letter from the Chair Faculty Spotlight: Ka-Yuet Liu 3-5 Graduate Cohort 6 In the News: Hollywood Diversity Report 7 Books: Publication Spotlight 8-9 News, Achievements and Publications 10 Thank you

Commencement season is upon us. On Saturday, June 13, we graduated 400 sociology majors. If the past is any indication of the future, these graduates will fan out into a broad variety of jobs and careers from business, education, government services, to various graduate and professional programs. Not only are these graduates entering one of the best job markets in the past few years, but they have also benefited from Partnership UCLA. With the generous philanthropic support of the Sociology Board of Visitors, Partnership UCLA has brought alumni and students in touch with each other through various programs that include internships, class presentations, lectures, and workshops. Students benefited greatly from our Bruin-in-Residence, Mike Vanneman, who gave advice from his perspective of recruitment executive. I want to thank the Partnership UCLA staff, especially director Katie Davy and her team for building such a great program and I am heartened by the continued support of the department for this important initiative. We are also sending several new sociology PhDs into the world. Congratulations to Dr. Marie Berry, Dr. Antonio Guzman, Dr. Noah Grand, Dr. Rennie Lee, Dr. Hasan Mahmud, Dr. Laura Orrico, Dr. Pamela Prickett, Dr. Shabnam Shenasi Azari, Dr. Juli Simon Thomas, Dr. Xi Song, and Dr. Morgan Wells, who were hooded on Saturday. They will take academic positions at a broad range of universities from the University of Chicago, Rice University, Harvard University, the University of Denver, Pomona College, and other universities. We are excited about their opportunities to teach the next generation of students and conduct first-rate research. The department is delighted to welcome two new faculty members. Professor Siwei Cheng received her PhD from the University of Michigan and will be reinforcing our strong specialization in demography and the study of social inequality. Professor Kevan Harris received his PhD from Johns Hopkins University and had a post-doctoral position at Princeton University. He is a historical-comparative sociologist working on the political economies of Northern Africa and Western Asia. I hope you have a great summer. Stay in touch. Go Bruins,

Stefan Timmermans Professor and Chair Page 1 Spring June 2015

Faculty Spotlight: Ka-Yuet Liu Born in Hong Kong, Ka attended the University of Hong Kong for her bachelors in social sciences, and then received her Masters of Philosophy from the University of Oxford. It was while working in a suicide research center back in Hong Kong that Ka discovered an interest in research and returned to Oxford for her Doctorate in Sociology, and where she began to focus on questions about micro-macro links. After finishing her doctorate, Ka went to Columbia University to join a team of researchers to try to explain why autism has been on the rise in recent decades. Ka says she was drawn to sociology because “[it] allows me to see things differently and critically. I found a sociological perspective can often provide insights that are counter-intuitive and question our assumptions about ourselves and the others.” Ka is interested in explaining the diffusion of non-contagious diseases and health-related behaviors by focusing on the social networks in which people and institutions are embedded. Her work demonstrates how largescale phenomena arise from the social interactions, from the distribution of suicides to the rising prevalence of autism. Mechanisms of information diffusion, and the spatial and temporal dimensions of social dynamics are central to the research. Using birth record data a longitudinal database of hundreds of thousands of families is created that can be matched to data on children with developmental disorders in California. Ka uses this database to study the relative contributions of genetic, environmental, and social factors to the rising prevalence of autism in California during the past 20 years. Her findings show that we would not have observed an autism epidemic in the absence of a social diffusion of the autism diagnosis. Currently, Ka is now using census and other locational data to build a simulation model of all children in California. The model successfully predicted the spatial and temporal patterns of autism that are unaccounted for by the existing explanations. The current projects make use of other locational data on health care resources and mortality to study important public health issues such as the diffusion of vaccination exemptions and mortality differentials by immigration status. Ka has been with the department since 2012, and when she is not teaching and working on her research, she enjoys kickboxing. “Hitting dummies really helps me unwind,” she said, “but I'm actually non-violent and afraid of hitting real people (and being hit).” She also likes cooking Cantonese and Italian food at home, and eating out with her special someone, Hakwan.

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Graduate Cohort

Back row: Lucrecia Mena Melendez, Ryan Cho, Sue Hyunmi Park, Eleni Skaperdas, Amelia Hill, Amanda McArthur Second Row: Carmella Stoddard, Chiara Galli, Molly Fee, Charlene Gomez, Abraham Calderon Front Row: Andrew Le, Paul Martinez, Jose Cuchilla

Abraham Calderon is

Ryan Cho is from Culver City,

Jose Cuchilla was born in

originally from a small town in Zacatecas, Mexico. When he was five, his family migrated to Boise, Idaho where he grew up. In 2014 he graduated from Boise State University with a B.A. in Sociology. Abraham is interested in political sociology, race and ethnicity, and international migration. In his free time he enjoys being outdoors and spending time with family and friends.

California. He received an B.A. in Political Science from Columbia University. Ryan is interested in demography, social stratification, race and ethnicity, education, and mass incarceration. He is also an officer in the National Guard and in his spare time, he likes to stay active by coaching Crossfit and serves as a college soccer referee.

Los Angeles and raised in El Monte, California. He received a B.A. in Sociology from Cal Poly Pomona. Jose is broadly interested in social demography, stratification, social networks, and immigrant communities, but in particular his interests include using statistical and computational intensive methods to model the social determinants of health in undocumented communities. In his free time he enjoys hiking the trails of LA, mountain biking, watching movies, grabbing drinks with friends, and “hanging out� with his partner.

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2014-2015 Grad Cohort . . . Molly Fee grew up in Lexington,

Chiara Galli grew up between

Massachusetts. She received a B.A. in French and International Studies from Washington University in St. Louis and an M.A. in International Affairs and an M.A. in Cultural Translation from the American University of Paris. She is interested in international migration, particularly forced migration and refugee resettlement. For fun, she enjoys running, hiking, reading, and spending time with her dog, Dakota.

Rome, Italy and Chicago. She received a B.A. in Development Economics from Universita’ di Roma La Sapienza in Rome, Italy in addition to an M.A. in Migration and Development from Universidad di Granada in Granada, Spain. Chiara is interested in international migration and beyond studying sociology she loves cooking and traveling in her spare time.

Charlene Gomez

was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Chicana/o studes and Labor/Workplace studies here at UCLA. Her academic interests include intersectionality and Latino Immigrants. In her spare time Charlene enjoys dancing.

Amelia Hill is from

Andrew Le is from Seattle,

Paul Martinez was born in

Sacramento, California. She received a B.S. in Sociology from Illinois State University. Amelia is interested in using conversation analysis to examine ways gender, race, and other membership categories are made relevant through interaction, leading to structural inequalities. Outside of school she enjoys spending her free time reading speculative fiction and finding cheap ways to enjoy LA arts and culture.

Washington. He was a student-athlete at St. Lawrence University where he received his B.A. in Sociology and Asian Studies while playing football. After St. Lawrence, he obtained his M.A. in Sociology from the University of British Columbia. He was a student advisor at Green River Community College and a Fulbright Fellow at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago before arriving to UCLA. Andrew is interested in international migration, religion, and comparative, ethnicity, race and nationalism. Andrew enjoys playing sports, volunteering, writing poetry, dancing salsa and bachata, and spending time with family!

Los Angeles, California and raised in San Diego, California. He graduated Magna Cuma Laude and with distinction and from Sonoma State University with a B.A. in Sociology. Paul is interested in examining mechanisms such as racial composition and mobility and their effects on educational outcomes and income. When not studying sociology, he enjoys traveling, working out, dancing, playing sports, trying new food, and spending as much time as he can with his family.

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Continued Amanda McArthur is from Allentown, Pennsylvania. In 2009, she graduated from Drexel University with a B.A. in English. In 2014, she received her master’s degree in Linguistics from California State University, Northridge. In between those degrees, she spent a year in Sofia, Bulgaria as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant, and then she worked in fundraising at RAND Corporation in Santa Monica. Her primary academic interest is conversation analysis, although she is also excited to add quantitative methods to her analyses of interactional data. Her substantive areas of interest are medical sociology and gerontology. While Amanda is not doing schoolwork, she loves to cook hearty meals, read for pure entertainment, and explore Los Angeles on foot.

Lucrecia Mena Melendez is from El Salvador. She received her B.A. in International Studies, Political Science, and Anthropology/ Sociology from Elmira College, Elmira, New York and her M.A. in Development Studies (Human, Financial and Social Development) at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) and the University of Geneva in Geneva, Switzerland. Her interests are on international migration and international development, specifically, the impact of migration on the economic development of developing countries. Outside of school, she enjoys cooking, watching great American TV shows, taking on do-it-yourself projects, and traveling the world.

Eleni Skaperdas is originally from Southern California, but lived for seven years in Portland, OR before returning to Los Angeles. She received her B.A. in Psychology from Reed College in Portland. Eleni’s interests academically include, but are not limited to, medical sociology using qualitative methods, and her personal interests are ballet and belly dancing, hiking, camping and reading fiction.

Sue Park was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. She received her bachelor’s degree in sociology at California State University, Long Beach with a minor in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Her academic interests include secondgeneration identities, the garment industry, immigration, race and ethnicity. In her spare time, Sue likes visiting new restaurants, cooking, playing and watching football.

Carmella Stoddard is from Louisville, Kentucky. She received a B.A. in American Studies and Ethnicity from the University of Southern California in addition to an M.A. in Communication from University of Massachusetts Amherst. Carmella is broadly interested in race and ethnicity, social psychology, interpersonal relations, and cultural sociology, but more specifically she examines how the use of online dating websites and mobile dating applications impacts the likelihood of dating interracially. And when not studying, you can find her in the dance studio perfecting her ballet technique.

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In the News: The Hollywood Diversity Report Sociology Professor, and incoming Department Chair, Darnell Hunt and the Bunche Center for African American Studies released the second annual Hollywood Diversity Report “Flipping the Script” in February. The report examines diversity, or the lack thereof, in the entertainment industry. The report has garnered much well-deserved media attention, and the report and Professor Hunt have been quoted and interviewed in the LA Times, Huffington Post, and NPR just to name a few. Exploring hundreds of films and over a thousand television shows airing during the 2012-2013 season, the report considers several variables in its analysis including character race, gender and sexuality, talent agency representation, and overall cast diversity. A variety of sources that Hollywood depends on for daily updates on industry developments such as the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) provided data for this report and researchers also conducted a content analysis of a select sample of broadcast and cable scripted shows. Using this data, the report then discusses how, and to what extent, women and minorities are present on Darnell Hunt at “Thinking L.A.” event discuss- camera and also behind the scenes and compares that to box ing the “Hollywood Diversity Report.” Photo office and ratings. Credit Zócalo

Picking up where the previous report left off, the 2015 Hollywood Diversity Report concludes that the disconnect between the industry’s professed focus on the bottom line and actual staffing practices in film, broadcast television, and cable will only continue to widen. The report found that films and television shows with casts that reflect the nation’s racial and ethnic diversity were more likely to post high box office figures or ratings. In other words, more “diverse” movies and shows are more popular than media that is not as “diverse”. Yet, the report also documented the degree to which minorities and women remain severely underrepresented among the directors, writers, and lead actors that breathe life into industry productions. The implications of the findings in this report were addressed by Darnell Hunt at a “Thinking L.A.” event in which the discrepancy between the conclusion that “diversity clearly sells” and the continued lack of diversity in the industry was explained. Professor Hunt stated that he was unsurprised by most the year’s findings, white men have dominated positions behind the camera for many years and they tend to hire people who look and think like them for the sake of success in such a high-risk industry. The report can be found on the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA’s website,

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Books: Publication Spotlight Grounds for Difference By: Rogers Brubaker Grounds for Difference contends that three recent developments have altered the stakes and the contours of the politics of difference: the return of inequality as a central public concern, the return of biology as an asserted basis of racial and ethnic difference, and the return of religion as a key terrain of public contestation. At a moment of heighteone of mned public and scholarly concern with deepening inequality, Grounds for Difference shows how categories of difference such as race, ethnicity, and gender are built into enduring structures of inequality.

The Cross-Border Connection Im m igr ants, Emigrants, and Their Homelands By: Roger Waldinger The Cross-Border Connection addresses a paradox at the core of international migraton: emigrants departing one society become immigrants in another, tying those two societies together in a variety of ways. In nontechnical language, Roger Waldinger explains how interconnections between place of origin and destination are built and maintained and why they eventually fall apart.

Skills of the “Unskilled” Work and Mobility Among Mexican Migrants By: Ruben Hernandez-Leon, Jacqueline Hagan, Jean-Luc Demonsant Skills of the “Unskilled” examines the fact that, despite the value of migrants’ work experiences and the substantial technical and interpersonal skills developed throughout their lives, the labor-market contributions of these migrants are often overlooked and their mobility pathways poorly understood. Skills of the “Unskilled” reports the findings of a five-year study that draws on research including interviews with 320 Mexican migrants and return migrants in North Carolina and Guanajuato, Mexico.

Democratizing Inequalities Dilem m as of the New Public Participation Edited By: Edward Walker, Caroline Lee, and Michael McQuarrie Democratizing Inequalities brings together a diverse range of leading scholars to reveal surprising insights into how dilemmas of the new public participation play out in politics and organizations. Through investigations including fights over the authenticity of business-sponsored public participation, the surge of the Tea Party, the role of corporations in electoral campaigns, and participatory budgeting practices in Brazil, Democratizing Inequalities seeks to refresh our understanding of public participation and trace the reshaping of authority in today’s political environment.

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Faculty News, Achievements & Publications Jennie Brand w as elected to the Council of the ASA Inequality, Poverty, and Mobility section.

Jerome Rabow publish ed an editorial on mother’s day in several local newspapers.

Lauren Duquette-Rury has been awarded the UCLA Hellman Fellowship. The Hellman Fellows Program was established for promising assistant professors.

David Lopez h as been appointed the first UCLA Faculty Retirement Liaison, assisting and advocating for faculty that are considering or have already retired.

Patrick Heuveline w as featured in the UCLA Newsroom for his research on the death toll of the Pol Pot regime.

Judith Seltzer w as elected as President of the Population Association of America. She was also appointed to the National Research Council’s Standing Committee on Reengineering census operations.

Marcus Hunter publish ed an editorial in The Conversation. He was also interviewed by Pennsylvania Cable Network’s PABooks about his book Black Citymakers.

Megan Sweeney has been elected chair of the American Sociological Association Family section.

Ivan Light publish ed an editorial in the Pasadena StarNews on the Lusitania and its role in U.S. involvement in WWI.

Michael Mann w as elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the country's oldest learned societies.

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Edward Walker received th e Faculty Fellowship award from the UCLA Center for American Politics and Public Policy. Edward has also been elected to the council of the ASA section on Collective Behavior and Social Movements. “No Fracking Way!” was published in American Sociological Review. “Global Corporate Resistance to Public Pressures: Corporate Stakeholder Mobilization in the United States, Norway, Germany, and France” was published in the book Corporate Social Responsibility in a Globalizing World.

Graduate Students News, Achievements & Publications Matthew Baltz has published his paper "Protecting citizens in hard times: citizenship and repatriation pressures in the United States and France during the 1930s." in Theory and Society.

Sung Park w on an aw ar d by the Population Association of America for her poster “Homeleaving During the Transition to Adulthood: A Comparison of Two American Cohorts.”

Marie Berry was elected to the Peace, War, and Social Conflict section council of the ASA. She has also received the Best Graduate Paper award from the ASA Human Rights Section.

Casandra Salgado pu blished her MA thesis "Racial Lessons: Parental Narratives and Secondary Schooling Experiences among Second- and Third-Generation Mexican Americans." in Race and Social Problems.

Josh Bloom has been selected to two ASA positions: the council of the ASA section on Labor and Labor Movements and the publications committee of the ASA section on Collective Behavior and Social Movements.

Xi Song w ill r eceive an honorable mention by the ASA Family Section for her paper "Heterogeneous Grandparent Effects: The Effect of Grandparents' Education on Grandchildren's Education in OneParent and Two-Parent Families."

“The Dynamics of Opportunity and Insurgent Practice: How Black Anti-colonialists Compelled Truman to Advocate Civil Rights.” was published in the American Sociological Review. Rahim Kurwa won the 2015 stu den t Paper 65Competition in the Society for the Study of Social Problems' Poverty, Class and Inequality Division for his paper "Deconcentration without Integration: Examining the Social Outcomes of Housing Choice Voucher Movement in Los Angeles County." Hasan Mahmud published his paper “Impact of the "Impact of the destination state on migrants' remittances: a study of remitting practices among Bangladeshi migrants in the USA, the UAE and Japan” in Migration and Development. Saskia Nauenberg has been awarded the NSF GROW Travel Allowance. GROW expands opportunities for U.S. graduate students to engage in international research collaboration.

Ariana Valle and alumna Leisy Abrego published their paper “Salvadorian-Americans” in Oxford Bibliographies in Latino Studies.

Irene Vega has been selected to participate in the Law and Society Association’s Graduate Student Workshop. “Race, Brotherhood and Engagement in the Urban Context: A Case Study of Structured Peer Bonding and Engagement among Boys of Color” was published in Cracks in the Schoolyard: Achievement Cases on Latino Education.

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Faculty and Graduate Student


The Distinguished Teaching Award Awarded to Patrick Reilly, the Distinguished Teaching Award for Teaching Assistants is only given to five teaching assistants campus wide.

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Awarded to Molly Fee and Chiara Galli. The National Science Fundation’s three year fellowship was awarded to only 20 sociology graduate students nationwide. Andrew Le and Eleni Skaperdas received Honorable Mentions.

The Ford Fellowship Awarded to Danielle Callendar. Fellowships are awarded in a national competition, and given to individuals who, in the judgment of the review panels, have demonstrated superior academic achievement, are committed to a career in teaching and research at the college or university level, show promise of future achievement as scholars and teachers, and are well prepared to use diversity as a resource for enriching the education of all students. Andrew Le is an alter nate for the aw ar d.

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The Rosabeth Moss Kanter Award Jennie Brand and Juli Simon Thomas have been selected finalists for their paper “Job Displacement among Single Mothers: Effects on Children’s Outcomes in Young Adulthood.” Of the 2500 articles considered, their paper is one of five finalists.

Thank You The UCLA Sociology department is training the next generation of sociology teachers and researchers. Our graduate students win professional awards, are published in the leading journals, and obtain jobs in other top sociology departments. The competition for promising graduate students is strong and requires financial resources. You can help! We are pleased to announce the Next Generation of Sociology Leaders Fund to su ppor t ou r ta lented g r a du a te stu dents. Fu nds r eceiv ed by the department will go to the direct support of graduate student research through a formal application process based on need and merit. Funds will be used for direct research costs and conference travel support. You CAN make a difference in a student’s life at a critical point in time. In addition, we have established the Sociology for the 21st Century Fund to support undergraduate students in Sociology. Every dollar received by the department will be used to support undergraduates in their pursuit of a meaningful education in Sociology. One way we are using these funds is to ramp up the undergraduate Honors Program. Individualized attention to undergraduates through the Honors Program allows students to learn research methodology in more depth and to push students beyond the traditional boundaries of learning. These highly motivated students are the ones who will move into leadership positions after their education and you will know you helped provide the stepping stones of their success! There are few funds available to undergraduates for research or conference support so you can make a significant difference in an individual’s education and life trajectory. You may also contribute to the Sociology’s Chair’s Discretionary Fund. These fu nds strengthen our ability to attract and retain top faculty and to train the best graduate and undergraduate students. They support a variety of academic endeavors such as our active colloquia series, our faculty student working groups and departmental conferences. We provide research seed funds for promising, high-risk research projects. Annual gifts above $1,000 to the Chair’s Discretionary Fund, in addition to providing vital funds to our department, also qualify the donor for membership into the Chancellor’s Circle, while a gift above $2,500 gives you membership to the Chancellor’s Associates. For additional information and to donate, please visit:, or contact Peter Evans at

Gabriel Rossman, Katrina Davy, Mike Vanneman, Stefan Timmermans and Edward Walker. Mike Vanneman, Founder of TVG Executive Search, was the 2015 Sociology Bruin in Residence. Mr. Vanneman offered guest lectures, training workshops, and office hours to discuss real world application of the sociology degree.

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Sociology Spring Newsletter 2015  
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