Faculty news for 2020-2021

Fall 2020

Keera Allendorf continues her research on sonless families.  In a Population and Development Review article, she argued the rise of sonless families poses a gendered demographic dividend that may erode patriarchal family systems.  In collaboration with alum, Roshan Pandian, she is now examining how sonless families rose across 20 Asian and North African countries from the late 1980s to 2015.

Stephen Benard's research focuses on status, conflict, identity, and inequality in intergroup relations. He recently published two articles, "When is retaliation respected? Vengefulness in intergroup and interpersonal contexts" in Socius, with former Ph.D. student and current University of Maryland faculty member Long Doan, and "The effects of social versus asocial threats on group cooperation and manipulation of perceived threats" in Evolutionary Human Sciences, with Pat Barclay. Current projects include NSF-funded studies of (1) how identity-based revenge and forgiveness in shape social status in groups, and (2) perceptions of Asian Americans in the United States and their implications for inequality.

This summer Tim Hallett, along with current graduate student Orla Stapleton and colleague Michael Sauder (University of Iowa), received the Clifford Geertz Award for Best Article from the American Sociological Association Culture Section for their ASR article "Public Ideas:  Their Varieties and Careers."  This project continues as the Social Research Practicum project for 2020-2021, with Tim as Director and with the valuable assistance of Orla and Emily Meanwell.  Tim is also honored to give the George Herbert Mead Lecture at the National Communications Association meetings this fall (virtually).  His lecture: "Learning to think like an economist without becoming one: Professional education and ambivalent reproduction in a Masters of Public Affairs program," is coauthored with former graduate student Matthew Gougherty.  In addition, Tim recently became the new Director of the Karl Schuessler Institute for Social Research, taking the reigns from Patricia McManus as she transitioned into her position as Chair of the department.

Dr. Pamela Braboy Jackson recently published a paper with Dr. Christy L. Erving (Vanderbilt University) entitled "Race-Ethnicity, Social Roles, and Mental Health: A Research Update" in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior (2020: 61:43-59). Dr. Pamela Braboy Jackson (with collaborator Dr. Diane Henshel from SPEA) is an award recipient of the 2020 Racial Justice Research Fund. The purpose of the project is to extend the study of empathy to a set of broad social identities. They are attempting to design game simulation software that captures socially relevant scenarios for fostering empathy within a Virtual Reality (VR) environment.

Byungkyu (BK) Lee recently published an article about adolescent depression in American Journal of Sociology along with Dohoon Lee (Yonsei University). This paper introduces a distributional framework for studying multilayered peer influence on the development of adolescent depression. He currently uses large-scale medical claims and other administrative data to explain the rise of "deaths of despair" in the United States, including a paper about a suicide published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science with Bernice Pescosolido and Karen Kafadar (University of Virginia). In addition, he has been publishing out papers from his dissertation about political polarization and social networks. In two papers published in Network Science and Social Forces, he shows why and how American's social networks have been smaller and more politically homogeneous in recent periods. Using large-scale text and relational data from political forums on Facebook, he continues to identify structural conditions that foster cross-ideological interactions while maintaining community engagement. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he launched an online ego-centric network survey with Peter Bearman (Columbia University) and Kangsan Lee (New York University Abu Dhabi) to investigate how Americans activate their social ties during this uneasy time.

Jane McLeod has moved back into College administration as the Associate Executive Dean. When not sending emails and attending meetings, Jane continues work on a survey (with Andy Halpern-Manners) of the college experiences of students on the autism spectrum as compared to their neurotypical peers, and meets with the mental health research interest group.

Dina Okamoto directed the 2020 Sociological Research Practicum and worked with a team of graduate students to collect data on immigrant activism. The goal of the study was to examine the patterns of immigrant organizing from 2015-20 across nine different U.S. metropolitan areas, and to analyze how print media frames immigrant civic and political engagement. Graduate students helped to collect, organize, and code the data, using web scraping and other computational techniques as well as old-fashioned coding by hand. Dina wrote a recent piece featuring the SRP data (with Helge Marahrens and Emily Meanwell), "Immigrant Protest and Why it Matters for the 2020 Election", for the National Center for Institutional Diversity.  This past year, she also published three papers related to immigrant claims-making and civic engagement within the context of increasing ethnic diversity in the U.S.

Brea Perry and IU psychologist Anne Krendl just received a grant from NIH to study the role of social cognitive function (e.g., facial memory, emotional recognition, theory of mind) in the relationships between social networks, general cognitive function, and Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. In addition, she has been conducting primary data collection and writing papers on the secondary social, psychological, and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Brea is also excited that her edited volume (with Mario Small, Bernice Pescosolido, and Ned Smith), titled Personal Networks: Classic Readings and New Directions in Ego-centric Analysis, is finally in press at Cambridge University Press.