Faculty News

2021 faculty updates

Keera Allendorf continued working on sonless families.  In collaboration with alum Roshan Pandian (PhD 2020), she investigated changes in daughters-only and sons-only families as fertility declined in recent decades. Their new article, "The Rise of Sonless Families in Asia and North Africa," will appear in Demography in April 2022.

Jennifer Barber: In 2021, I taught Sexual Diversity (to undergraduates) for the first and second time ever. I have had a steep learning curve, but the class has been a blast. I am also teaching Sociological Research Methods to an outstanding group of mostly sociology majors (along with a few minors). They are super engaged and bright, and they have been such a pleasure. Research-wise, I am working on mixed-method analyses of my Relationship Dynamics and Social Life dataset, including papers on intimate relationship dissolution, race differences in who gets what they want in terms of pregnancy, and the relationship context of heterosexual intercourse.

Stephen Benard's most recent article is "The effects of democratic competition on cooperation and threat manipulation in groups" in Social Science Quarterly (with Pat Barclay). He has also re-opened the sociology lab following its closure due to the pandemic. His current projects include NSF-funded studies of (1) revenge, forgiveness, and social status in intergroup conflict, and (2) perceptions of Asian Americans in the United States and their implications for inequality.

With Kyle Dodson, Clem Brooks is working on studies of animus, rights support, and voter choice. With Alicia Harmon, Clem is investigating minority/majority groups and affective polarization in the era of Donald Trump.  

Jessica Calarco: My research team and I are in the middle of our third wave of surveys and interviews for the Pandemic Parenting Study. The project actually started before the pandemic, in 2018, with surveys of 250 pregnant women we recruited through Indiana prenatal clinics. My goal with the project was to examine how social networks influence families' decisions about controversial parenting topics like vaccines, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, and parents' involvement in paid work. At the time, I had no idea that we were on the brink of a global pandemic or that those families were about to face a whole host of new challenges and controversies. When the pandemic hit, however, and building on the three waves of data collection we had done pre-pandemic, my team and I were able to pivot and expand the project to look more closely at families' decisions during the pandemic, as well. The first published paper from the project came out earlier this year, and looks how dual-earner, different-gender couples justified relying on mothers as the "default parent" during the pandemic, even when those arrangements took a toll on mothers' health, relationships, and careers. I also have a number of working papers at various stages of development, including one using a theory of "moral calm" to explain the increase in parental vaccine refusal during the Covid-19 pandemic, which I recently wrote about in an op-ed for the New York Times

In addition to the Pandemic Parenting Study, I've also been working on a new qualitative methods book with Harvard Sociologist Mario Small. The book, tentatively titled Qualitative Literacy: A Guide to Evaluating Ethnographic and Interview Research, is in press with the University of California Press, and due out in the summer of 2022. There are so many great books on how to do qualitative research, but our goal with this book is different - to show readers of qualitative research how to tell if it's been done well. We hope the book will be useful not only for students and those doing qualitative research but also for editors, funders, reviewers, tenure/promotion committees, deans and department chairs, university trustees, journalists, policymakers, and quantitative scholars who read, cite, and think with qualitative research.

Koji Chavez: Currently, I’m working on a few projects related to discrimination in hiring with Kate Weisshaar of University of North Carolina. One project investigates how discrimination against women, and in particular White women, decreased during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. We argue that this change in discrimination is related to employers reacting to the disproportion exit of women from the labor market. We are also working on projects to understand how gender and racial discrimination vary by job demands. Finally, we are finishing data collection on a paper in which we investigate how the demand for diversity in senior software engineering positions reducing discrimination against women but not Black men, and delineate the reasons why.

Tim Hallett: I've been enjoying overseeing the SRP on a project entitled "Public Ideas and the Sociology of Public Social Science."  It has been fun working with the graduate students and helping them to construct their MA projects.  This past summer I was promoted to full, and I received the Helena Lopata Award for Distinguished Mentorship by the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction, a true honor.  Jack is 17 and a high school senior who just wrapped up his football season and is looking at colleges.  Wes is 15 and just wrapped up his sophomore year of marching band and is now jumping into jazz band and pep band.  Tamara used the pandemic as an off ramp from her job directing Children's Corner Cooperative Nursery School and spent last year helping the boys navigate school online.  She's our hero. 

Pam Jackson continues to work on her research project, IU Social Empathy Laboratory while taking over the helm of our graduate program as our new Director of Graduate Studies. This year Pam was named Provost Professor of Sociology, a title given to faculty members who have achieved local, national, and international distinction in both teaching and research.

Byungkyu (BK) Lee recently received an NSF grant with Mark Hoffman (Stanford University) and Barum Park (Cornell University) to study what factors promote deliberation and civility online using large-scale data on Facebook throughout the 2016 U.S. presidential election. He also received a grant as Co-Investigator from Facebook to study the role of tie activation in building relational trust. With Kangsan Lee (NYU Abu Dhabi) and Peter Bearman (Columbia University), he designed and conducted a daily nationwide network-oriented social survey that records over 36,300 Americans' social lives and pandemic responses each day from April 10, 2020 to April 5, 2021 to understand how Americans activate their social ties in response to the COVID-19 disaster. He continues his study on the rise of "deaths of despair" in the United States. This past year, he published seven papers related to the opioid epidemics, COVID-19, social contagion, and network polarization. 

Patricia McManus is getting acclimated to administration as chair of the department.  She is working with Tamara van der Does and Muna Adem on a project on the intergenerational transmission of gender attitudes among adolescent children of immigrants in Europe, and she is continuing her work on partner choice and labor force outcomes among second generation women in the US.  She's also back teaching undergraduates in Sociology of Families.

Ethan Michelson was promoted to full professor last spring and has been chair of the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures since July 1, 2021. His new book, Decoupling: Gender Injustice in China's Divorce Courts, is finally done and scheduled for publication this coming March. His "big data" computational analysis of almost 150,000 divorce trials shows the extent to which and reasons why China's divorce courts have done less to protect battered women than to empower and enable their abusers.

Anna Mueller has been busy happily restarting in-person research on suicide prevention in collaboration with two Colorado school districts, newly supported by a $1.2 million grant from NIMH. She's also been doing a lot of community outreach on suicide prevention and mental health in schools. One of her recent community talks, on how to improve suicide prevention in schools, is publicly available here: https://iu.mediaspace.kaltura.com/media/t/1_yek8ckxz

Brea Perry has been doing some research related to pandemic precarity and COVID-19 health disparities that was published this year in PNAS and AJPH. She also recently launched a national survey of addiction stigma with collaborator Anne Krendl and is excited to analyze the data. This summer, she was honored to be elected to the Sociological Research Association.

Brian Powell discussed his forthcoming book, WHO SHOULD PAY? Higher Education, Responsibility, and the Public, with IU alumni at a recent College of Arts and Sciences Food for Thought webinar. He co-authored the book with IU alumna Natasha Quadlin, and IU alumni Emma Cohen, Emily Meanwell, and Oren Pizmony-Levy contributed to chapters.  He also is co-editor of a two-part special issue of the American Behavioral Scientist that celebrates David Heise.  Among his co-editors for this issue is IU alumna Amy Kroska. In addition, it was recently announced that he is a nominee for the President of the American Sociological Association.

Fabio Rojas has been busy editing Contexts magazine with alum Rashawn Ray (Ph.D. 2010) and he is currently serving as chair of the ASA Section on Political Sociology.