Amy Binder, Professor

Ph.D. - Northwestern, 1998

Areas of Specialization: Culture, Conservative Social Movements, Education, Organizations

Curriculum Vitae

Email Address:
Phone number: 858-534-0483
Office location: 492 Social Science Building


Conservative Movements Workshop

Classes to be taught in 2013/2014:

Fall 2013

SOCI 115- Social Problems

SOCI 126- Social Organization of Education

Spring 2014

SOCI 110- Qualitative Research in Educational Settings

SOCG 203- Field Methods


Amy Binder received her B.A in Anthropology from Stanford University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from Northwestern University. Her principal research interests are in the areas of cultural sociology, education, social movements, and organizations.

Her first book Contentious Curricula: Afrocentrism and Creationism in American Public Schools (Princeton 2002) explored two challenges made to public school social studies and science curricula. The book received the 2003 Best Book Prize of the Culture Section of the American Sociological Association, the 2003 Distinguished Scholarship Prize of the Pacific Sociological Association, and the 2004 Outstanding Book Award from the American Educational Research Association (AERA).

Professor Binder’s new book, Becoming Right: How Campuses Shape Young Conservatives, was published in January 2013. Co-authored with UC San Diego doctoral student Kate Wood, the book looks at how today’s right-leaning college students experience life on two university campuses—one an elite private institution, the other a major public university—and also how they belong to a web of national and local conservative organizations which provide considerable resources to them. In this work, Binder and Wood show that the college years are not simply a time when students consolidate their “natural” political inclinations developed in the family and high school but, rather, that those years are a highly influential period during which students learn distinctive conservative styles, such as “provocation” and “civilized discourse.” Different conservative styles, in this view, are largely the result of specific university settings, and these styles have significant consequences in today’s larger political world.


Becoming Right has been reviewed widely, including in:

Professor Binder’s new projects include a comparative study of college-age libertarians and conservatives (with Liana Gamber Thompson); political polarization of the media, using a Big Data, or computational, approach to data collection and analysis (with Edward Hunter and Michael Evans); and a comparative study of three elite universities’ differing influence on students’ career aspirations—in particular, their aspirations for careers in finance, law, and consulting (with Nick Bloom).

Professor Binder was recently elected as Chair of the Sociology of Education section of the American Sociological Association (term: August 2014-2015); is a member of the Scholars Strategy Network with San Diego organizers John Skrentny and David Fitzgerald; and will be deputy editor of the journal Sociology of Education 2013-2016, working alongside Rob Warren (editor), Hyunjoon Park (deputy editor) and Eric Grodsky (deputy editor).

At UC San Diego she is a founding member and organizer of an interdisciplinary workshop called The Workshop for the Study of Conservative Movements and has co-organized four UCSD Culture Conferences, resulting in a widely read special issue of The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science called “Cultural Sociology and Its Diversity

Professor Binder also is a board member and chair of the Board Affairs Committee for The Preuss School, UC San Diego’s award-winning charter middle and high school for first generation college-goers.