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Department of Sociology Letter from the Chair

Spring 2016 Dear Friends, This is my first letter as chair of the department, a role I assumed just this past July. It’s been my pleasure to participate in another exciting year of growth and achievement for our department, a department that has attracted outstanding faculty and produced promising graduates since 1948. Indeed, we minted or will shortly be minting five new sociology PhDs this year. These scholars include Michael Stambolis-Ruhstorfer, who filed last fall, and Gustav Brown, Laura Loeb, Chase Raymond, and Pat Reilly, who are filing this quarter or later this summer. We also yielded another stellar graduate cohort for fall 2016—17 top students who were aggressively courted by our peer programs but who chose UCLA because of the unique training opportunities our methodologically diverse faculty will afford them.

Darnell Hunt Professor and Chair

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Letter from the Chair Faculty Spotlight Book Publication Spotlight 2016 Graduate Cohort Faculty News, Achievements, Publications Graduate Student News, Achievements, Publications Teaching Assistant Awards Good Luck, Tira! Undergraduate Spotlight Thank You!

Speaking of our faculty, 2015-16 marked for them another banner year of achievement. Professor Judith Seltzer served her term as President of the Population of America, Professor Robert Mare was honored with the Robert M. Hauser Distinguished Scholar Award, Professor John Heritage garnered the American Sociological Association’s Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis Section’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and Emeritus Professor Michael Mann was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Meanwhile, Professor Vilma Ortiz was recognized with the Academic Senate’s Student Development Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award, and at least six of our colleagues —Rogers Brubaker, Rebecca Emigh, Ruben Hernandez-Leon, Roger Waldinger, and Min Zhou— added to their already impressive publication records with new books. Spring, of course, is commencement season, and what better way to cap off a terrific year than by celebrating our graduates. Our keynote speaker for this year’s commencement ceremony will be acclaimed musician, songwriter and visual artist Kim Gordon, who happens to be the daughter of C. Wayne Gordon, a former faculty member in our department. Gordon’s father was recruited to UCLA in 1958 to develop the sociology of education as a key research approach within the School of Education. In her celebrated memoir, Girl in the Band, Gordon reflects on sociology’s resonance in her life, a message that will no doubt shape her address to this year’s 582 graduates. The ceremony will be held on Saturday, June 11 at 9 am, Wilson Plaza. I hope to see you there. Enjoy the summer, and Go Bruins!

Darnell Hunt


Faculty Spotlight: Kevan Harris Kevan Harris was born in Iran during the 197879 revolution and moved to the United States as a child. He studied economics and political science at Northwestern University and later entered graduate school at Johns Hopkins University. After briefly flirting with the idea of studying Latin America, Harris decided to see if Iran could be a feasible field site. During his first visit, Kevan conducted a small pilot project on the history of post-1979 student movements. Harris applied and adapted conceptual tools from historical sociology for his Iranian fieldwork. He examined the links between revolution, popular mobilization, and post-1979 political and social change through new social welfare and development organizations created during and after the Iran-Iraq war (198088). Welfare states in the US and Europe are examined by sociologists as lenses with which to see broader processes of state formation, with a large scholarly literature in tow. Yet the Middle East, and the postcolonial world as a whole, had remained largely unexamined with the theoretical toolkit of political sociology of welfare states. Harris is teaching a two-quarter comparative-historical methods sequence to graduate students, where they are exposed to a variety of methodological approaches and new works in the field. In addition, he is on the organizing committee of the Sociology 237 research seminar series. Kevan also teaches undergraduate courses in the International Development Studies major. In an upcoming course offered next spring on the Middle East, Professor Harris aims to facilitate the interaction between social science, history, and area studies. In the future, Harris hopes to take advantage of opportunities to teach undergraduates in sociology as well. Overall, Kevan believes that “good sociology today is not dogmatic, it’s pragmatic and eclectic” and he is glad to have joined UCLA --a positive collegial environment that sets a high standard for teaching and research. Outside of teaching, Harris has been taking the time to explore some of LA’s jazz clubs, given a musical bone gained while working at a radio station in college. He is trying all of the Iranian restaurants in Westwood. As a pioneer in the Iranian sociological field, students are sure to benefit from Professor Harris’s research and expertise.


Books Publication Spotlight Antecedents of Censuses From Medieval to Nation States: How Societies and States Count by Rebecca Jean Emigh Rebecca Jean Emigh, Dylan Riley, and Patricia Ahmed ‘s Antecedents of Censuses From Medieval to Nation States is the first of two volumes that examine the influence of social formations on censuses from the medieval period through current times. The authors argue that relative influence of states and societies is probably not linear, but depends on the actual historical configuration of the states and societies, as well as the type of population information being collected. They show how information gathering is an outcome of the interaction between states and social forces, and how social resistance to censuses has frequently circumvented their planning, prevented their implementation, and influenced their accuracy.

The Asian American Achievement Paradox by Min Zhou Min Zhou and Jennifer Lee’s The Asian American Achievement Paradox critically examines the stereotype that Asian Americans are often labeled as the “model minority.” Their sizeable presence at elite universities and high household incomes have helped construct the narrative of Asian American “exceptionalism.” While many scholars and activists characterize this as a myth, pundits claim that Asian Americans’ educational attainment is the result of unique cultural values. Lee and Zhou offer a compelling account of the academic achievement of the children of Asian immigrants. Drawing on in-depth interviews with the adult children of Chinese immigrants and Vietnamese refugees and survey data, Lee and Zhou bridge sociology and social psychology to explain how immigration laws, institutions, and culture interact to foster high achievement among certain Asian American groups.

Everyday Troubles: The Micro-Politics of Interpersonal Conflict by Robert Emerson In Everyday Troubles, Robert M. Emerson explores the beginnings and development of the conflicts that occur in our relationships with the people we regularly encounter and the common responses to such troubles. To examine these issues, Emerson draws on interviews with college roommates, diaries documenting a wide range of irritation with others, conversations with people caring for family members suffering from Alzheimer’s, studies of family interactions, neighborly disputes, and other personal accounts. He examines how some relational troubles escalate toward extreme and even violent responses, in some cases leading to the involvement of outside authorities like the police or mental health specialists. By calling attention to the range of possible reactions to conflicts in interpersonal relationships, Emerson also reminds us that extreme, even criminal actions often result when people fail to find ways to deal with trouble in moderate, non-confrontational ways. Innovative and insightful, Everyday Troubles is an illuminating look at how we deal with discord in our relationships.



Graduate Cohort

Back row: Ian Peakcock, Lei Feng, Ian Gray, Daniel Zipp, Austin Mitchell, Gabriel Suchodolski Middle Row: Joel Herrara, Ruey-Ying Liu, Alexandra Arseniev-Koehler, Sara Johnsen Front row: Noureddine Chtaini, Yue Yang, Nada Ali Ramadan, Jihyun Shim, Clara Hanson Nada Ali Ramadan was born in Alexandria, Egypt. She earned her BA in International Relations and History from Stanford University, and her MA in Arab Studies from Georgetown University. Her academic interests are gender, social development in the Middle East. In her free time, Nada enjoys playing tennis, hiking, reading novels, and hanging out at the beach. Alina Arseniev-Koehler is from Seattle, Washington. In 2014, she received her BA in Sociology at the University of Washington. Her academic interests are cultural sociology, social networks, sociology of health and illness, as well as computational sociology. In her personal time, she enjoys hiking, dancing, and yoga. Lei Feng is from Harbin, China. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Economics at UCLA. Her academic interests include family demography, stratification and social mobility. In her free time, Lei is interested in Chinese calligraphy. 4

Ian Gray received his Bachelor of Arts in European Intellectual History from Brown University and his Masters in City Planning with a specialty in Environmental Policy and Planning from MIT. He has reported and produced for a number of National Public Radio programs (Marketplace, Weekend America, Living on Earth, Cape and Islands NPR, WBUR) and worked in strategic development and communications for the sustainability group Ceres, based in Boston. After three years as a Research Fellow at the medialab of Sciences Po, where he managed a project on the politics of climate adaptation, he joined the PhD program at UCLA. His academic interests include the sociology of expertise; economic sociology; science and technology studies; organizational theory; and digital methods.

Clara Hanson is originally from Vermont. She has a Bachelor's in Sociology and American Studies from The George Washington University and a Master's from Boston University in Gastronomy. Academically, she is interested in the sociology of health, the sociology of knowledge, and the sociology of the body and embodiment. Personally, she is a big fan of comedy, yoga, craft beer, podcasts, and dogs.

...Continued Joel Herrera is originally from La Puente, California. He attended UC Riverside, where he earned his BS in Sociology and BA in Latin American Studies. Joel is interested in violence and development in comparative politics. In his free time, Joel enjoys reading literary works about magical realism, spending time with family, and grabbing drinks with comrades.

Jihyun Shim was born in Seoul, Korea and was raised in San Francisco. She received her B.A. in Sociology from Smith College and worked in arts administration before attending UCLA. Her academic fascinations include race, gender, art, and international migration. In her personal time she loves to play music, go to concerts and comedy shows, and get sucked into the Internet.

Sara Johnsen grew up in Lindale, Texas. She studied History at the University of Chicago, worked in New York City as a policy analyst, and completed an MPP at UCLA before joining the Sociology department, where she intends to study families, stratification, and social welfare policy.

Gabriel Suchodolski was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil and has lived in various places such as Rio de Janeiro, Manuas, New York, Austin, Paris, and New Delhi. He earned his BA in International Relations from the University of Sao Paulo and his SoRuey-Ying Liu is from Taipei, Taiwan. She ciology MA from the University of Rio de Janeiro State, graduated from National Taiwan University along with a MA in Anthropology from Columbia Uniwith a B.S. in Psychology. Since her move to versity. Gabriel is interested in political and economic the U.S., she has earned her master’s degrees sociology, developments and social-environment conin Human Development and Psychology from flicts. His personal interests include dancing, surfing, Harvard University and Applied Linguistics and spending time with friends. from Columbia University. Her academic interests include conversation analysis and Ashelee Yang grew up in Hangzhou, Chichild socialization. In Ruey-Ying’s spare time she enjoys travna. She graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill eling and reading. with a BA in Sociology. Her academic fascinations are international migration, Austin Mitchell’s academic interests include race and ethnicity, religion, and the demass media, interaction, social movements, velopment of Asian American communiand social change. ties. In her personal life she enjoys playing with her four cats, volunteering at animal shelters, and fighting for animal rights.

Ian Peacock is from Provo, Utah. He received a BA in Spanish and a BS in Sociology from Brigham Young University. His academic interests are in migration, organizations, markets, and culture. In his personal life, he enjoys spending time with his wife and friends, reading fiction, and forces himself to exercise (in addition to trying to convince himself that he gets pleasure from it). 5

Daniel Zipp is from Akron, OH. He holds a BA from Oberlin College in Politics and East Asian Studies. He also earned High Honors in Politics. His academic interests are Chinese labor and resistance, race and ethnicity, international migration, and political sociology. His personal interests are cooking and--somewhat relatedly--eating, reading, and playing soccer and basketball--although seldom at the same time.

News, Achievements, & Publications Professor Zsuzsa Berend's article We Are All Carrying Someone Else’s Child: Relatedness and Relationships in Third-Party Reproduction was published in American Anthropologist.


Professor Lauren DuquetteRury has three forthcoming publications with the American Sociological Review, the Russell Sage Journal of Social Science, and the Latin American Research Review.

Professor Jacob Foster copublished a paper titled “Tradition and Innovation in Scientists’ Research Strategies” in the October 2015 issue of the American Sociological Review. Professor David Halle’s 2014 book (with Elisabeth Tiso), New York’s New Edge, will appear in paperback this June from University of Chicago Press. The book has many positive reviews. Professor John Heritage has been named the recipient of its Lifetime Achievement Award by the ASA’s Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis Section for his “distinguished lifetime career contributions to the fields of ethnomethodology and/or conversation analysis.”


Professor and Chair Darnell Hunt made an appearance with comedian Chelsea Handler on her new Netflix show Chelsea Does. This episode was “Chelsea Does Racism” and involved a discussion of racism and racial stereotypes. His research in the Hollywood Race Project has framed as one of the top national news stories.

Professor Robert Mare is this year’s winner of the Robert M. Hauser Distinguished Scholar award from the ASA section on Inequality, Poverty, and Mobility.

Professor Vilma Ortiz has been selected as this year’s Student Development Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Award recipient. Presented each year by the Academic Senate’s Committee on Diversity and Equal Opportunity (CODEO), the award is a tribute to Professor Ortiz's tremendous efforts over the years to make UCLA a more diverse and inclusive place. She will formally receive the award in May 2016 during a reception at the Chancellor’s Residence.

News, Achievements, & Publications Professor Emeritus Jerry Rabow, along with former student Keisha Payne (UCLA 2014) and current UCLA student Zachary Philyaw, has published a piece on a class activity in TRAILS, the American Sociological Association’s on-line resource for teaching in sociology. You can find their article, "The 'What's in a Name?' Exercise" at

Saguy’s work on perceptions of obesity was recently cited in USA Today and the Orange County Register. The USA Today piece cites her book, What’s Wrong with Fat?, in its coverage of the controversy surrounding recent statements by comedian Amy Schumer about what she considers “plus-size.”

Professor Min Zhou and former graduate student Anthony Ocampo (now an assistant professor of psychology and sociology at Cal Poly Pomona) have published a new edited volume, Contemporary Asian America, Third Edition. Zhou-- who has been away since 2013 heading the Division of Sociology at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore -- is returning to UCLA this fall.

Saguy was recently nominated for this year’s UCLA Academic Senate’s Distinguished Teaching Award.

Visit our website to find a complete list of faculty achievements and other news!



Professor Abigail Saguy and former graduate student Laura Enriquez, now an assistant professor of Chicano/ Latino Studies at UC Irvine, have a new article in the American Journal of Cultural Sociology: “Coming out of the shadows: Harnessing a cultural schema to advance the undocumented immigrant youth movement.”

Professor Edward Walker coauthored a paper titled ‘No Fracking Way!’ Documentary Film, Discursive Opportunity, and Local Opposition against Hydraulic Fracturing in the United States, 2010 to 2013, which was published in the October 2015 issue of the American Sociological Review. His paper has won two Best Article awards from ASA Sections: (1) the Section on Collective Behavior and Social Movements (CBSM) and (2) the Section on Communication, Information Technologies, and Media Sociology (CITAMS).

News, Achievements, & Publications Nada Ali Ramadan was awarded a fellowship from the Center for Near Eastern Studies.

Graduate Students

Gustav Brown has accepted a position as a postdoctoral fellow with the Asia Research Institute at the National University of Singapore, effective in July.

José Cuchilla received the Ford Predoctoral Fellowship.

Kjerstin Gruys has accepted an Assistant Professor position in the Sociology Department at University of Nevada at Reno. She will be starting in January 2017.

Susila Gurusami received the UCLA Center for Study of Women’s Paula Stone Legal Research Award.

Leydy Diossa-Jimenez received the Will Rogers Memorial Fellowship. Nicole Iturriaga received the Russian & Eurasian Studies Endowed Award for this summer.

Matt Fox was awarded the UCLA Asia Institute Taiwan Studies Lectureship Graduate Research Fellowship for this summer.


Neil Gong published his paper "How To Fight Without Rules: On Civilized Violence in 'De-Civilized' Spaces” in the November 2015 issue of Social Problems.

Rahim Kurwa published his article “De-segregation without Integration: Examining the Outcomes of Section 8 Housing Voucher Movement in Los Angeles County” in the December 2015 issue of City and Community.

News, Achievements, & Publications Sociology. Tahseen Shams has a paper accepted for publication in Ethnic and Racial Studies. It is titled "Mirrored boundaries: how ongoing homelandhostland contexts shape Bangladeshi immigrant collective identity formation."

Michael Stambolis-Ruhstorfer defended and submitted his dissertation in November2015 and has accepted a position as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Dickinson College beginning in January 2016. He also published an article in the January 2016 issue of Organization Studies titled “Disappearing into the Object: Aesthetic Subjectivities and Organizational Control in Routine Cultural Work.” Lina Stepick was awarded a grant for her research, through the OVCR's Sustainable LA Grand Challenges Program. She will serve as a Sustainable LA Grand Challenge Powell Policy Fellow. Her project is "Displacement around Transit-Oriented Development and Affordable Housing and Use Policy.” 9

Anne White was awarded the Dr. Ursula Mandel Fellowship.

Eli Wilson received the Werner R. Scott Fellowship.

Terrell Winder published a paper titled "Shouting It Out: Religion and the Development of Black Gay Identities" in the December 2015 issue of Qualitative Sociology.

Amy Zhou was selected for the Elizabeth Blackwell, MD award by the UCLA Center for the Study of Women for her paper The uncertainty of treatment: Women’s use of HIV treatment as prevention in Malawi.

Graduate Students

Saskia Nauenberg published an article “Spreading the truth: How truth commissions address human rights abuses in the world society” in the November 2015 issue of International

Teaching Assistant Awards Every year the Department of Sociology and the Sociology Graduate Student Association (SGSA) honor the graduate students who have received consistently high evaluation scores and noteworthy remarks from their students with the Excellence in Teaching Award. The winners for this year were Rebecca DiBernardo, Eduardo Duran, Elizabeth Gonzalez, Molly Jacobs (left), Jay Johnson, Annie Lee, Kyle Nelson (right), Pei Palmgren, Pamela Prickett, Pat Reilly, David Schieber, Eli Wilson, and Gary Yeritsian.

The Peter Kollock Graduate Teaching Assistant Award for the most outstanding TA was presented to Nicole Iturriaga (above). Teaching assistants are nominated by the Sociology Undergraduate Association (SUA), with consideration to their teaching evaluation scores and how much they had taught throughout the year.


Good Luck, Tira! Tira Okamoto has worked in the Sociology Department for nearly her entire stay at UCLA as an undergraduate student. Over the course of almost four years, Tira has helped our department with a wide variety of tasks, including event scheduling and advertising, ordering course materials for professors and teaching assistants, and maintaining the everyday functions of the front office. Even with her full class schedule and participation in multiple extracurricular activities, Tira could always be counted on to complete projects quickly and accurately. At the conclusion of spring quarter, Tira will graduate with a B.A. in World Arts and Cultures and a minor in Arabic. Congratulations, Tira, and thank you for your service to our department! “Her positive and cheerful nature brightens up the department, and her amazing work ethic made the Front Office incredibly efficient and productive. I hired Tira upon the recommendation of Patrick Padilla and I was never disappointed. She took a leadership role in training the other student workers when they were hired and she consistently made my life so much easier amidst the lost keys, printing requests, department events and so much more. Tira is graduating and although I’m sad to see her go, she is going to accomplish amazing things. Tira, thank you so much for all of your hard work and service to the department. Thank you for always being so positive and caring (even when I made you work at 8:00AM) and for partaking in my mini dance sessions in the Front Office. You are one-of-a-kind and I appreciate you so much for always going above and beyond in your work. Congratulations on graduating! Wishing you the best of luck!” Herumi Ann C. Baylon “Although my time with Tira has been short, it didn’t take me long to notice her work ethic and attention to detail. As the first contact point for anyone who came into the front office, Tira was sure to greet all guests and to assist them whenever possible. She’s kind, honest, and a great conversationalist. After she graduates, I’m confident Tira will prove to be an invaluable asset to whomever she works for, and I can only hope she is treated as such!” Ryan Miller “Tira, the eco-minion, will be missed in the department. Always cheerful, willing to help with projects and ideas. I always knew I could depend on her to complete any task quickly and correctly. I know when she leaves the department, it won’t quite be the same. Thank you for helping me transition from co-worker to boss so seamlessly, and for always being up for a project, helping me keep things organized, and for waffle Wednesday. I’m going to miss you, but I know you’re going to do great things.” - Michelle Fielder 11

Undergraduate Spotlight: Migration Infographics Sharon V.

Soc 191V

During Winter 2016, Professor Duquette-Rury taught Soc 191V: Migration and Development. The following migration infographics were a companion assignment to an 8-page country case profile, examining the migration development nexus in select origin countries. The infographic assignment distilled key data points and provided visual context. Students created digital snapshots of the effect of different facets of migration on labor sending countries. Duquette-Rury spoke highly of the assignment, stating “It created a visual way for students to convey nuggets of information to a general audience. Students said they liked the activity a lot.�

Nuha A.

Franc E. 12

Soc 191V with Professor Lauren Duquette-Rury

Soc 191V

Erick S.

Camila A.

Yelena M.

Amabelle R.


Thank You! The UCLA Department of Sociology 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 support our talented graduate students. Funds received 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 funds 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 14

Spring 2016 Newsletter  
Spring 2016 Newsletter