ESS 2021 CANDIDATE BIOGRAPHIES AND STATEMENTS

VOTING DEADLINE DECEMBER 15, 2021 5:00PM EASTERN TIME

President:

Dana R. Fisher is Professor of Sociology at the University of Maryland. Her research focuses on questions related to democracy, activism, and environmentalism — most recently studying protests against systemic racism, climate activism, and the American Resistance. She received her PhD and MS Degrees from the department of sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her AB from Princeton University. She began her career at Columbia University, where she spent her first 8 years on the faculty and has been on the faculty at the University of Maryland since 2011. Fisher is the author or co-author of five books: National Governance and the Global Climate Change Regime (Rowman and Littlefield Press 2004), Activism, Inc. (Stanford University Press 2006), the Practice of Research (with Shamus Khan, Oxford University Press 2013), Urban Environmental Stewardship and Civic Engagement (with Erika S. Svendsen and James Connolly, Routledge Press 2015) and American Resistance (Columbia University Press 2019). She is the editor, along with Stewart Lockie and David Sonnenfeld, of the Routledege International Handbook of Social and Environmental Change (2013) and serves as a Series Editor for the Series on Society and the Environment at Columbia University Press along with Lori Peek and Evan Schofer. Her work has been published in over 60 peer-reviewed articles and chapters, including in sociological journals such as, the Annual Review of Sociology, Sociological Theory, Social Forces, and Sociological Forum. She has also published her work in high-impact interdisciplinary journals including Science Advances, PLOS ONE, and Nature Climate Change. In the past 10 years, her work has been funded by the Russell Sage Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, and the National Science Foundation. Fisher is committed to getting her research out to the public. To that end, she has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, and PBS Newshour to discuss her work. She has also written for the popular press, including in the Washington Post, TIME, Politico, Business Insider and the American Prospect. Her research has been featured in media outlets such as the The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, The Boston Herald, and USA Today, as well as on various programs on National Public Radio and the BBC. Other efforts at public sociology have included Fisher presenting her work to federal agencies, foundations, presidential campaigns, and other organizations, including the National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the State Department International Visitor Leadership Program, the Let’s Move Campaign in the Obama White House, the Brookings Institution, and to program members at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, and the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. She has held leadership positions in the International Sociological Association’s Research Committee on Environmental Sociology (RC24), as well as in the Collective Behavior and Social Movements section of the ASA. Fisher is currently serving as a Contributing Author for Working Group 3 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Sixth Assessment Review (IPCC AR6) writing about citizen engagement and civic activism.

 

Statement: I am honored to be running for ESS President. We live in unprecedented times where we are facing a pandemic that is threatening higher education as we know it, watching some of the pillars of our democracy be endangered, experiencing the effects of climate change in the form of fires and floods, at the same time that we collectively work to address expanding inequalities and systemic racism in the field and society as a whole. The ESS has served as a friendly haven for me over the years. It has been a place to meet colleagues, brainstorm ideas, and present work while it is in progress. I have many fond memories of conversations on panels and in the hallways during the annual ESS meetings. If elected, I will work to support and extend the Society’s profile as a safe and friendly community for sociologists from the full range of institutions, with a diversity of identities and orientations. I will also focus my efforts on increasing the profile of the Society through its annual meeting, its flagship journal, and by doubling down on the investments of my predecessors to make public engagement one of its central features. As we all know, the field of sociology has a lot to contribute to debates going on in the public sphere. I will work to expand efforts to showcase our annual meeting as a site for speaking to the broader public about the importance of sociological findings. In particular, I will help develop clearer channels from the academic work presented at our annual meeting and published in our academic journal to the general public through various types of public and social media opportunities. I hope to work with everyone at the ESS to encourage more research that has broader impacts beyond the academy and to get our research out to the general public during these trying times. Thank you for taking the time to read my statement. If elected, I look forward to working with you to make the ESS more effective at getting the word out about the amazing work our members are doing and to ensure that the 2022 ESS is a success.

Frederick “Fred” Fitzgerald Wherry is currently the Townsend Martin, Class of 1917 Professor of Sociology at Princeton University and the Founding Director of the Dignity + Debt Network (a partnership between Princeton and the Social Science Research Council: dignityanddebt.org). He received his PhD in Sociology and his MPA from the School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He began his career as a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania and his tenure track job at the University of Michigan. After earning tenure at Michigan, he taught briefly at Columbia before being appointed as a full professor at Yale University. His undergraduate years were spent at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he was a Morehead-Cain Scholar. Before attending UNC, he was an English-Speaking Union Scholar, reading A-levels at a British public school, and while he was an undergraduate student, he took a year off to live in Johannesburg for eight months, following the election of Nelson Mandela. He spent a year in Thailand as a Luce Scholar working with a local nonprofit committed to HIV/AIDS prevention and care, and now serves as a Selector for the Luce Scholars program. He also spent a year working as a consultant at the World Bank during the 1998 financial crisis.

Wherry grew up in South Carolina with five siblings along with an aunt and uncle he believed to be the seventh and eighth children of his parents. He credits his father’s unionized job, his own faith that kept him fighting against the odds, and the scholarship he received in the 9th grade to attend boarding school for many of the opportunities that came his way.

Wherry is the author or editor of nine books, including Credit Where It’s Due: Rethinking Financial Citizenship (with Kristin Seefeldt and Anthony Alvarez), The Oxford Handbook of Consumption (with Ian Woodward), Money Talks (with Nina Bandelj and Viviana Zelizer), and Measuring Culture (with John Mohr and others). He is also the sole author of The Philadelphia Barrio and other books. He and Jennifer Lena are the co-editors of the Stanford University Press book series Culture and Economic Life.

He was elected as president of the Social Science History Association in 2018. He also held leadership positions as the Chair of the Economic Sociology Section and Chair of the Consumers and Consumption Section at the American Sociological Association. He served on the editorial boards of the American Sociological Review, American Journal of Sociology, and Sociological Theory, among other journals. And he represented the ASA on the Policy Board of the Journal of Consumer Research. He is a board member of the Race in the Marketplace Network, and he is editing a special issue of the Journal of Consumer Affairs on race with Dr. Vanessa Perry (Marketing Department, George Washington University).

He is strongly committed to bringing sociological research to the public and his work has been featured in such venues as the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Atlantic, and the Root. He currently serves on the Inclusive Financial Systems Working Group, organized by the Aspen Institute and the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth. He was invited to the White House to speak with the National Economic Council about financial inclusion during the Obama Administration. Through the Dignity and Debt Network, he has promoted data visualizations in the style of W.E.B. DuBois and is currently working with a team of scholars and practitioners to develop a toolkit for DuBoisian data visualizations. He is now working with visual artists on the Debt Collectors Series, rendering debt collection experiences in the style of Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series. And he is working to bring together scholars from the US, Latin America, Africa, East Asia, and Europe to mobilize research and practice to affirm and protect the dignity of debtors. He and his husband recently moved from Harlem to Princeton where they live with their dog Hamel.

Statement:

When I was nominated to run for president of the Eastern Sociological Society, I took an abrupt pause. Rather than jump to the honor, I thought through the purpose. These are historic times with public debates raging about systemic racism and police violence, the economic precarity laid bare by Covid-19 and the quick rise in anti-immigrant sentiment, racism, and violence against the trans community. The problems are bigger than we are, so what could I possibly do through the ESS to be useful? What tone to set, what voices to include, to amplify, what outcomes for our members and for the communities where we conduct our inquiries? And how to balance these public issues with the varying research commitments (some of it not publicly oriented) of our members? The answers to those questions led me to accept the nomination with humility.

The ESS, while long established, remains a work in progress—a work of imperfectly accomplished community. I say this not to resign myself to the imperfections, but to acknowledge how much effort is required to support those who labor outside of the spotlight or from sites not highly placed in our traditional hierarchies. Some of our members are engaged in morally urgent work, influencing public policy. Others labor far from policy, asking research questions that may or may not address the social issues of our day, generating and preserving knowledge that is valuable, though not immediately useful. From the most to the least public of our sociologies, we remain one community. The question for us is how to help our community thrive in all of its differently resourced neighborhoods.

While turning to our membership to learn how our various communities would like the ESS to serve their needs better, I pledge to work on improving the life and the afterlife of our meeting. How do we carry the energy and findings of the meeting beyond the few days we spend together? What kinds of research collaborations can we foster between scholars in materially rich and those in economically poor environments? How might our privileges be redistributed to enhance the entire association? What kinds of teaching resources can we provide as a community and how might those resources be rolled out more effectively after the meeting comes to an end? How should our community better interact with social entrepreneurs and practitioners who can use our work to address pressing social issues?

It would be foolish to claim that any one meeting or president can make it all happen; however, a membership committed to a clear vision, participating in how that vision takes form, can accomplish these goals and more. I hope that you will entrust me to labor with you.

Vice President:

Erin Hatton is Associate Professor of Sociology at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Her research is centered in the sociology of work, while also extending into the fields of race and gender, social inequality, culture, labor, law, and social policy. She is the author of The Temp Economy: From Kelly Girls to Permatemps in Postwar America (Temple University Press, 2011) and Coerced: Work Under Threat of Punishment (University of California Press, 2020), as well as the editor of the forthcoming volume Labor and Punishment: Work In and Out of Prison (University of California Press, 2021). Her work as also been published in a variety of labor, gender, and criminology journals, including Work, Employment and Society, Punishment & Society, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Journal of Gender Studies, and Critical Sociology.

At the broadest level, Hatton’s research interrogates the socially constructed categories of “work” and “worker,” and the gendered and racialized exclusion of some groups from those categories (whether “Kelly Girl” temps, prisoners, or student athletes). Such exclusions, she argues, shape not only those groups’ work and working conditions, but those of all workers. Through this research, Hatton has brought previously unrecognized types of workers into scholarly analyses of work and labor, including graduate students, incarcerated workers, and college football players. Even more, she has identified a previously unrecognized form of labor coercion, “status coercion,” which structures the lives and labor of millions of workers in the U.S. today. In a new research project, Hatton is examining another category of coerced labor: that of rehab patients, who are often compelled to perform unpaid (or under-paid) labor as part of their addiction “treatment.” By showing that coercion, as well as precarity, is a prevalent characteristic of U.S. labor relations, Hatton’s research brings issues of power, domination, and subjugation to the center of scholarly analyses of work, labor, and inequality.

Statement:

I am deeply honored to be nominated for Vice President of the Eastern Sociological Society. I have long treasured ESS as a vital and vibrant site of scholarly engagement and community building, one that brings high-powered scholars into conversation with graduate students and other emerging scholars. These are the types of conversations we need to have—as a discipline and as a country—in order to push for democracy and equality in sociology, the academy, the U.S., and the world.

My primary tasks as Vice President will be to oversee author-meets-critics sessions at the annual meeting, recruit nominees for future elected positions, and encourage meeting attendance. I will take these tasks very seriously. I have already developed several strategies for success, and I look forward to developing more with the President-elect. For example, I will recruit upper-level graduate students to be some of the “critics” in ESS author-meets-critics sessions, which will encourage meeting attendance among students, promote connections between students and senior scholars, and offer graduate students much-needed building blocks for their CVs. In addition, I will launch a series of social media campaigns to promote the annual meeting, such as a TikTok challenge for ESS submissions and public recognition for the best ESS memes. Throughout all of this work, I will push to include and promote underrepresented minorities in ESS: in elected positions, in book selections for author-meets-critics sessions, in meeting panels, and in the themes highlighted in the annual meeting. Doing so is absolutely necessary to keep ESS a vibrant—and relevant—space for scholarly research and community.

Jennifer C. Lena is currently Associate Professor of Arts Administration at Teachers College, Columbia University, and has a courtesy appointment in the Department of Sociology. She also is the MBA thesis advisor at the Berlin School of Creative Leadership at Steinbeis University (Germany). She received her BA from Colgate University (1996), and her Ph.D. from Columbia University (2003), and has taught at Vanderbilt University and Barnard College. Lena’s general fields of research and teaching are the production of culture, classification and boundary processes, and race. She is the author of three books: Banding Together: How Communities Create Genres in Popular Music (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012), Entitled: Discriminating Tastes and the Expansion of the Arts (Princeton University Press, 2019), and Measuring Culture (Columbia University Press, 2020), as well as articles in journals including American Sociological Review, Poetics, and Social Forces, chapters in edited books, reports, and public communications.

Lena has served in a variety of elected and appointed positions since 2003, including as Program Director of Arts Administration (2014-2019), Co-Chair of the Culture Network of the Social Science History Association (2008-10), Chair of the Sociology of Culture section of the American Sociological Association (2015-17), and Secretary-Treasurer before that (2008-2011). She is immediate past editor of the journal Poetics (2017-20), and continues to serve on the Board; she remains co-editor of the Culture and Economic Life book series at Stanford University Press (2014-present), and previously served on the boards of Social Forces, Sociology Compass, and Contemporary Sociology. She was editor of the Culture Reviews for Contexts Magazine (2010-11) as well.

Statement:

The Eastern Sociological Society has been my primary intellectual home since the start of my career, and I hope to contribute more robustly so that others can enjoy the same benefits and privileges I have enjoyed. The primary responsibilities for the Vice President include programming the Robin Williams, Jr. speaker and the Author Meets Critics Sessions for the annual meeting, in addition to serving on the ESS Executive Committee. My goal, if elected as Vice-President, is to continue to expand the opportunities for women and people of color in the academy, and to celebrate the diversity of modes of inquiry that our members offer in their teaching, scholarship, service work, and public engagement.

Executive Committee:

Ingrid E. Castro is Professor of Sociology and Chair of the Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work Department at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. She earned her MA and PhD in Sociology, with two Graduate Certificates in Cinema Studies and Women & Gender Studies, from Northeastern University. Given the variety in her degrees (she also completed two BAs from the University of Delaware with three majors in Sociology, Psychology, and Women’s Studies), Ingrid is deeply dedicated to interdisciplinary pedagogy and scholarship. Ingrid’s research interests center on children and youth; popular culture; race, gender, and class; education; and qualitative methods. As a childhood studies scholar, she regularly publishes on representations of children’s agency. Her coedited volumes include Child and YouthAgency in Science Fiction: Travel, Technology, Time (2019) and RepresentingAgency in Popular Culture: Children and Youth on Page, Screen, and InBetween (2019). She is the lead editor of Researching Children and Youth:Methodological Issues, Strategies, and Innovations: Sociological Studies ofChildren and Youth, Volume 22 (2017), and editor of Childhood, Agency, and Fantasy: Walking in Other Worlds (2020).

Ingrid has served the discipline of Sociology in a variety of ways over the years. She has been the Organizer, Presider, and/or Discussant for myriad ESS and ASA sessions, and completed peer reviews for dozens of journal and publishing house manuscripts. She has served ESS in a variety of roles, including as a member and Chair of the Committee on the Status of Ethnicity, Race, and Racism (formerly Committee on the Status of Minorities); member of the Committee on Gender Equity (formerly Committee on the Status of Women); and member of the Charles V. Willie Minority Graduate Student Award Committee. She is also very involved in ASA’s Section on Children and Youth, serving as a founder and Chair of the Research and Ethics Committee; IRB Task Force member; Chair of Membership Services; Nominations Committee member; Graduate Paper Competition Committee member; Chair of the Distinguished Career Service Award; Chair of the Early Career Award; and is currently on the ASA Children and Youth Section’s Council (elected). As a graduate student, Ingrid was an ASA Minority Fellowship Program (MFP) Fellow and is very invested in paying that experience forward. She regularly mentors undergraduates in independent study projects and through the process of graduate school applications. She has participated in ESS and ASA Senior Faculty Mentor Programs and is often a faculty sponsor for ASA’s Undergraduate Honors Program. She recently completed service on the ASA Minority Fellowship Program (MFP) Advisory Panel. She is also a Sociology Segment Leader for Massachusetts Department of Higher Education’s MassTransfer Pathways. All that said, her greatest triumphs are when she completes the NYT’s Sunday crossword with no hints or mistakes.

Statement:

I very much look forward to serving ESS as a member of the Executive Committee. At one point in my career, I left to teach in the Midwest, and I must admit the thing I professionally missed most about the East Coast was, in fact, the Easterns. I truly believe our regional meetings are the best – we have such a range of dedicated teachers, dynamic students, and diverse scholars.

Here is a little-known fact: My first professional conference was ESS Boston in 1999, when I was a graduate student at Northeastern University. I did not feel well that day, but my peers assured me it was just nerves and I would be better after my roundtable. Even though my paper presentationwent great (and I also served as Acting Presider and Discussant for my friend’s session since the assigned person never showed), I still felt ill. So, I left the meetings for the hospital, and one T ride and approximately 8 hours later my appendix was out. I often think of ESS as a part of me, and I have the scar to prove it!

Jessica Emami, PhD is an author, oral historian, and adjunct professor of sociology at Catholic University of America. She is a first generation Iranian American who, after a lengthy career as a researcher and administrator at nonprofit organizations that include the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the AFL-CIO, and Public Knowledge, obtained her PhD in Sociology in 2018.

Jessica specializes in immigration and technology. She is currently writing a book about cancel culture titled "Cybercrime and Punishment" (Lexington Books 2021), and producing an oral history series about foreigners who lived in Iran in the 1960s and 1970s, titled "Farangis (Foreigners) of Iran".

Statement:

Having attended many regional sociology conferences over the last eight years, I always return to ESS because I believe the ESS has the most rigorous academic standards and the greatest viewpoint diversity. If elected, I intend to concentrate on connecting undergraduate students with opportunities to prepare and demonstrate their scholarship.

Yao Li is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminology & Law at the University of Florida. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Johns Hopkins University. Before coming to UF, She was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation and was a lecturer at the University of Kansas. She is the author of Playing by the Informal Rules—Why the Chinese Regime Remains Stable despite Rising Protests (Cambridge 2019; Cambridge Studies in Contentious Politics). Her research combines quantitative and qualitative methods to address debates in the fields of social movements, environmental studies, political sociology, and development. She is currently working on a new book project on waste management with a focus on China, Taiwan, and the United States.

Yao’s first book, Playing by the Informal Rules, was favorably reviewed in Contemporary Sociology, International SociologyMobilization: An International QuarterlyDemocratization, among othersAt the University of Florida, Yao teaches courses on Social Movements, Social Inequality, and Law and Society. She has served on ESS student paper award committee, ASA student paper award committees (Environmental Sociology Section and Sociology of Development Section), ASA book award committee (Environmental Sociology Section). In 2020-2021, she is serving on ESS Mirra Komarovsky Book Award Committee and ASA Development Section Book Award Committee.

Statement:

I am honored and grateful for being nominated for the ESS Executive Committee. ESS has been an important part of my academic career: I have been a member of ESS since 2014 (when I was a graduate student) and have the opportunity to serve on two ESS award committees. ESS offers a supportive environment for junior scholars and students from diverse backgrounds, which I appreciate tremendously. If elected, sustaining this tradition of inclusivity and diversity would be a responsibility I take seriously; I would work diligently to ensure that ESS remains welcoming and accessible to a variety of sociologists at all career stages and that a diversity of voices are well represented in the organization.

Hilary Silver is Professor of Sociology, International Affairs, and Public Policy & Public Administration at George Washington University and Professor Emerita of Sociology and Urban Studies at Brown University, where she rose through the ranks after her PhD from Columbia University. She served as Chair of the GW Department of Sociology and Director of the Urban Studies Program at Brown, as well as Editor of City & Community from 2009 to 2015. She was awarded the 2016 Robert and Helen Lynd Award for Lifetime-Career Achievement from the ASA Section on Community and Urban Sociology. Silver has received four Fulbright fellowships (to France, Germany, and Israel); visited at Oxford, Harvard, and Universities of Bristol, Korea, and Lille; EHESS, INED and INSEE in Paris; WZB and Humboldt in Berlin; and was a fellow at the Institutes for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Delhi (JNU), and Bremen, Germany (Hanse). She has been a consultant for international organizations, including the World Bank, IADB, the United Nations (DESA and UNDP), International Labor Organization, and the Wolfensohn Center at Brookings, as well as the US and State of RI governments.

Silver’s research analyzes social exclusion, urban poverty, and racial, gender, and ethnic inequalities around the world. She has published in such journals as Sociological Forum, Social Forces, American Sociological Review, Theory & Society, Politics & Society, Housing Policy Debate, City & Community, German Politics & Society, The Muslim World, and International Journal of Urban & Regional Research. Her most cited article is “Social Exclusion and Social Solidarity: Three Paradigms,” in International Labor Review, a topic she continues to pursue. She made two feature-length films, Southside: The Fall and Rise of an Inner-City Neighborhood and Direction Home, on chronic homelessness and housing activism, that aired on RI and other Public Television stations. Her work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, Institute for Research on Poverty, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, American Institute of Indian Studies, and the DAAD, among other funders. Her current research examines homelessness, housing, and urban affairs in comparative perspective, and the social inclusion of migrants in Berlin.

Statement

I am honored to be invited to run for the ESS Executive Committee. My career in the United States has primarily led me up and down the Bos-Wash Corridor, and after much international travel, better appreciate the strength of our regional association and the continuing collaborations and enduring relationships it fosters. I have attended ESS conferences since I was a student at Columbia, and it is gratifying to serve currently on the ESS Best Book Award Committee named for Mirra Komarovsky, whom I met back then. ESS offers opportunities for our students to present their earliest research and meet peers and senior scholars in a smaller, more relaxed context than the national ASA meeting. For colleagues in nearby institutions, it becomes a venue to catch up regularly on one another’s current work.

As an urban sociologist, I would like to see ESS devote some attention to regional issues, especially as different parts of the country are developing distinctive social profiles, policies, and cultures. The older cities and suburbs of the Northeast face some common problems that call out for attention from the sociologists who live in them. ESS can assist members in the broad dissemination of sociological research that bears on matters of broad public concern, inviting journalists to our meetings and using social media and video to broaden the audience beyond the region. For example, C-Span has broadcast some of the events I have recently organized, and we could post some key sessions on YouTube to share. We should be sure to tap into diverse and international networks, something readily accomplished if we include diverse perspectives on our panels.

The role of the Executive Committee is to ensure dynamic presentations at our meetings, even the virtual ones, and to encourage scholars of all subfields, institutions, and ranks to participate in one of the largest regional sociological societies in the world. We should nurture the younger, more diverse generation of sociologists by encouraging formal and informal mentorship. I anticipate that our next conferences will rightly devote much attention to the pressing issues of racial justice and the wide-ranging impacts of Covid-19. In light of the longer trends towards increasing economic inequality and political polarization of the country, ESS sociologists might also consider how to reknit the torn American social fabric generally. This is a key challenge to our discipline as a whole. If elected, I look forward to working with you to carry on the admirable tradition of ESS as a whole and ensure that our organization and upcoming meetings build upon their record of success.