PhDs on the Market


The sociology department is proud of our excellent PhD candidates on the academic market this year. If you have questions, feel free to contact our job candidates, faculty members, or our Graduate Coordinator.

Jack Jin Gary Lee
Contact Email:
jackjin@ucsd.edu
Area of Interest: Sociology of Law, Politica Sociology, Historical Sociology of Colonialism and Empire, Global and Transnational Sociology, International Migration and Development
Dissertation Co-Chairs: John D. Skrentny and Kwai H. Ng
Dissertation Title: The Illiberal Commonwealth: On the Problem of Difference and Imperial Control in Jamaica and the Straits Settlements, 1865-1895

JACK JIN GARY LEEHow does a state govern a foreign territory and its inhabitants? To British officials of the nineteenth century, including one J.S. Mill, the problem of imperial control was one of the more important problems of their age, which was marked by imperial expansion and the institutionalization of modern colonial rule. Unlike the representative forms of colonial government that had been established in the American and West Indian colonies, British colonies in the nineteenth century were increasingly subject to imperial control through the institutionalization of Crown Colony government, which established modern colonial states dominated by Governors and their subordinate officials.

As a mode of imperial control applied to colonies with limited European settlement, Crown Colony government was based on four tenets. First, the Crown’s legislative power over the colony was preserved; second was the Crown’s formal establishment of a legislative agency that allowed the Governor and the Colonial Office to initiate, amend and disallow ordinances. Thirdly, the representative element of government would either be non-existent or be limited to a minority of non-officials, whether elected or nominated, on the Legislative Council. And, lastly, the Colonial Office controlled the appointment of the Governor and his subordinates.

Building on the renascent sociology of colonialism and empire (Steinmetz 2014), my dissertation examines the reconstitution and development of the Straits Settlements (Singapore, Penang and Malacca) and Jamaica as Crown Colonies between 1865 and 1895 – a period marked by the differing modes of imperial control within self-governing white settler colonies and racially plural Crown Colonies. By examining the making of their constitutions and laws, I argue that the exercise of imperial control was premised upon a racial sociology of empire that justified officials’ imposition of a scheme of constitutional progression, in which plural societies were considered lacking in their readiness for representative or responsible government. Within this racial sociology, British officials’ approach to the problem of imperial control rested upon presuppositions based upon two questions: i) whether a colony was similar to or different from Britain (Wilson 2011); and ii) whether the inhabitants of a colony possessed the character to be ruled by their own laws.


Jane Lilly López

Contact Email: jrlilly@ucsd.edu

Areas of Interest: Law, Immigration, Criminology, Social Policy, Latina/o Sociology, Social Inequality and Stratification, Marriage and Family

Dissertation Co-Chairs: David FitzGerald and Kwai Ng

Dissertation Title: (Un)Authorized Love: US Immigration Law and the Effects of Institutional (Dis)Approval on Mixed-Citizenship Families

Jane002.JPGIn my dissertation, which has been supported by the National Science Foundation, UC Mexus, and the UC Consortium on Social Sciences and the Law, I examine how the law creates social categories that exacerbate social inequality. These social categories emerge from the law based on both ascribed and achieved individual statuses, as well as legally-formalized interpersonal relationships. The law can further interact with other meaningful dimensions of stratification – such as race, class, gender, and citizenship status – to compound social inequality. One setting in which legal and social categorizations are particularly salient is in the context of immigration law and enforcement. Supreme Court rulings have upheld claims that non-citizens are not entitled to the same rights as citizens; yet citizens and non-citizens continue to live, work, and socialize together, blurring the lines between the legal regimes that – at least on paper – separate them. Mixed-citizenship couples stand at the crossroads of immigration, citizenship, and family law, serving as an ideal case to study how the law organizes individuals and families into social categories that lead to their inclusion into or exclusion from legal and social structures. In my dissertation, “(Un)Authorized Love: US Immigration Law and the Effects of Institutional (Dis)Approval on Mixed-Citizenship Families,” I utilize data from 60 in-depth interviews with mixed citizenship couples to argue that the social categories created by the law – or legal identities – systematically shape the opportunities and outcomes of individuals and families while also working to redefine broader notions of which individuals and families qualify as “American.”

Immigration law dictates which mixed-citizenship families qualify for family reunification, creating social categories marking individuals in a relationship – and the relationship itself – as either worthy or unworthy. These distinctions between and among individuals and families created by immigration law organize everyday life for mixed-citizenship families. In my dissertation, I demonstrate how each partner’s legal identity as either a citizen or a non-citizen acts as a filter to determine their individual and familial access to opportunities. But, beyond their status as citizen or non-citizen, each spouse possesses many more legal identities that interact with each other and with different branches of the law to define both individual and family rights, obligations, opportunities, and constraints. These legal identities have significant effects in the lives of mixed-citizenship families and in the broader communities they inhabit. In my dissertation, I analyze the effects of legal identities on mixed-citizenship individuals and families, including how these legal identities shape legal consciousness (or one’s orientation toward the law). My analysis includes an examination of how immigrants and their family members who are criminalized through immigration law and the “crimmigration” regime interpret and adapt to this legal and social stigma. I also study the impact of legal identities beyond individuals and families by evaluating the extent to which legal inclusion or exclusion enhances or diminishes immigrant and citizen integration.

I have published multiple articles and a book chapter on themes related to immigration, citizenship, and family law. My preliminary work on mixed-citizenship couples revealed the family-level effects of citizenship status. I published two articles based on this preliminary data. The first, published in Law & Policy, demonstrates the effects of individual citizenship status in the everyday lives of mixed-citizenship families. The second, published in Within and Beyond Citizenship [Routledge; Roberto Gonzales and Nando Sigona, eds.], traces the impact of family-level citizenship on the individual-level citizenship experience. My most recent publication, in the Journal on Migration and Human Security, details how a 1996 immigration law narrowed the definition of which families qualify as American. And, in the Indiana Journal of Law and Social Equity, Dr. John Skrentny and I examine the legal potential and limits of executive actions on immigration as observed during the Obama Administration.

I have an additional manuscript, "Together and Apart: Transnational Life in the US-Mexico Border Region," based on a subset of interviews from my dissertation, under review at International Migration Review. I am also part of a research team interrogating basic hypotheses related to citizenship, politics, and direct democracy, led by Dr. Isaac Martin, for which we have a co-authored paper under review and additional publications under development.


Jennifer Nations

Contact Email: jnations@ucsd.edu 
Jennifer Nations CV
Area of Specialization: political sociology, social inequalities, fiscal sociology, tax policy, education
Dissertation Chair: Isaac Martin
Dissertation Title: Who Pays for Higher Education? The Politics of Legislating College Costs in the United States

 

Jennifer Nations

My primary scholarly focus is understanding the policy making process, specifically how the structure of institutions, cultural beliefs, and social inequalities shape policy outcomes. This interest is evident in both my research and teaching.

Currently, I am Democracy Project Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Sociology at UC San Diego. In this position I am working on a Spencer Foundation-funded project with project principal investigator Isaac Martin to create a unique dataset which will allow us to measure the relationship between ballot proposition features, school district demographic and social class characteristics, and the likelihood that voters will enact school district tax increases in California.

In my dissertation, titled Who Pays for Higher Education? The Politics of Legislating College Costs in the United States, I focused on the state-level policies that govern the pricing of college costs. Social scientists have examined the effects of financial aid and tuition policies nationwide but few have looked historically and comparatively at the causes of higher education fiscal policies. I shed light on why states vary in their approach to higher education finance and move the field toward a political economy of higher education finance that enriches our general understanding of the past and future of state support of programs that promote attendance among those who cannot pay. Specifically, I compared the enactment of higher education fiscal policies at the state level using document and narrative analysis of archival and interview data sources as well as quantitative analysis of an original dataset. I found that the organization of university systems and legacies of racial segregation were influential in the enactment of tuition deregulation policies while population characteristics and general state financial support to public higher education predicted spending levels on need-based aid. Factors commonly seen as major predictors of policy outcomes, such as the political party of legislative members or the fiscal crisis of the state, do not explain the types of variation I studied. I was recently awarded the Dean’s Fellowship for Humanistic Studies which recognized the merit and quality of my doctoral dissertation. I am preparing parts of my dissertation for inclusion in a book manuscript

Previously, I was part of an ethnographic research study called the Pathways to Postsecondary Success project, associated with UC/ACCORD. In a solo-authored manuscript using longitudinal interview data from low-income college students, I show that the students in our study often stumbled onto critical pieces of information about their futures which guided their decision-making but that ultimately their aspirations were downgraded to match the types of occupations available to them. I discuss the role of formal advisors, personal mentors, and lived experience in participants’ formation of college aspirations.

The courses I teach relate to my research interests in political sociology and inequalities: I have taught Social Problems; Social Inequality and Public Policy; and Social Inequalities: Race, Class, and Gender for the UC San Diego Sociology Department. In June of this year I received the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Distinguished Teaching Award for my work as a teaching assistant and instructor.

Nations, Jennifer. “Resisting the Market University: Political Challenges to the Locus of Authority in Public University Tuition Policy.” Forthcoming in Social Science History"

Nations, Jennifer. “Message Received: The role of advising and work experience in low-income women’s educational aspirations.” Under review


David Pinzur
David Pinzur CV
Contact Email:dlpinzur@gmail.com
Area of Interest: Economic sociology, culture, science and technology, organizations
Dissertation Chair: Akos Rona-Tas
Dissertation Title: Building Futures Markets: Infrastructure and Outcome on the Chicago Board of Trade and New Orleans Cotton Exchange, 1856-1916

David PinzurDerivative financial instruments figure prominently in the modern global economy, but their modern origins date back to the use of agricultural futures contracts in the mid-19th century. This dissertation analyzes the construction of markets in futures contracts during this period on two exchanges—the Chicago Board of Trade and New Orleans Cotton Exchange. Building these markets posed a unique problem. Unlike extant markets, which could operate autonomously, futures markets had to be constitutively linked with a second underlying market in order to work (e.g., a market in cotton futures linked with an underlying market in cotton itself). Making this linkage required creating infrastructural connections—with institutional, material, and cognitive components—that would allow the two markets to work in concert. Infrastructures had to support an environment in which traders on the futures market could incorporate spot market information into intentionally rational decisions.

The Chicago Board of Trade and New Orleans Cotton Exchange built their infrastructures differently. This dissertation asks two questions about this divergence: What factors caused the infrastructure on each exchange to take the shape it did? And, what consequences did these infrastructures have for market behavior? I answer these questions through analyzing the construction and impact of three critical infrastructural features: (1) the classification schemes by which spot commodities were assigned grades; (2) the material means of gathering and disseminating data, both statistics on the growth and movement of the spot crop, as well as price quotations from global markets; (3) the economic and cultural theories by which traders understood the nature of speculation in futures and its effect on spot markets. I find that the characteristics of these infrastructural elements were shaped less by any uniform concern with efficiency or fairness and more by the distinct economic, cultural, political, and organizational environments on each exchange. Additionally, I suggest that these distinct infrastructures promoted different types of trading on each market—high-risk speculation in Chicago and low-risk hedging in New Orleans—which contributed to the divergent price volatility on these markets during the period of my research.


Heidi Schneider, PhD

Contact Email: hschneid@ucsd.edu
Area of Interest: Social Inequalities, Education, Race and Ethnicity, Immigration, Criminology, Deviance and Social Control.
Dissertation Chair: Ivan Evans
Dissertation Title: It Takes Two to Struggle: Teachers, Students, and the Co-production of (Dis)respect in an Urban School
Heidi Schneider

My dissertation researches how educational inequality is reproduced by the intersection of identity, face-to-face interaction and the politics of contested meaning. Using ethnographic field methods, I explore how a disrespectful classroom culture is initiated by societal forces such as racism, classism, anti-immigrant beliefs, community narrative, and neighborhood context, but more importantly co-produced by teachers and students inside the classroom.

To uncover the dynamic role (dis)respect plays in schooling, I draw from theories of symbolic interactionism to examine teachers’ and students’ divergent interpretations and meanings of (dis)respect. In doing so, I offer a theoretically grounded and evidence-based argument of how meanings and practices associated with (dis)respect matter to student engagement and teacher-student relationships. As this project demonstrates, student-teacher conflict does not arise from students’ oppositional attitude to education or authority, or stem from a warped sense of respect, but occurs as a reaction to feeling disrespected by their teachers. In response, students use a “reprisal process” as a strategy to protect their identities and retain the respect of their peers, which many teachers interpret and label as disrespectful.

Data suggests the vast majority of students do respect and accept the authority of teachers and desire, even crave respect from their teachers, however, teachers’ ideas of (dis)respect are also mediated by their identities and a belief that respect is asymmetrical. In turn, the struggle for respect ensues leaving teachers and students feeling equally wounded, unrecognized, and suffering from the politics of contested meanings of (dis)respect. Together, this influences a disrespectful school culture that contributes directly to failure for some students and indirectly to a sense of alienation for all students. As defined in this study, the meaning students and teachers attach to (dis)respectful interaction is both shared and contested, but ultimately driven by identities that intersect with face-to-face interaction that impacts the everyday lives of the individuals I studied. Thus, the central contention of my doctoral work is that the concept of respect holds theoretical and social significance as it is co-produced within the school setting.


Stacy J. Williams
Contact Email: sjw006@ucsd.edu
Website: http://www.stacyjwilliams.com
Area of Interest: Gender, Social Movements, Culture, Food, Work & Occupations
Dissertation Chair: Mary Blair-Loy
Dissertation Title: Recipes for Resistance: Feminist Political Discourse About Cooking, 1870-1985 
Stacy Williams
Some of the largest social transformations in the United States over the past 200 years involve changes to the gender order. To understand the forces behind these shifts, we must examine how women have fought for equality using actions situated in the home and family, which have remained central to women’s lives. However, scholars who study the dynamics of social change often overlook how the home can be a site of social movement action.

I study how feminists have politicized cooking within four social movements. Contrary to the stereotype that feminists avoid cooking, I find that feminists have utilized the home kitchen as they push for gender equality. I analyze cookbooks and other culinary writings from suffragists, temperance women, and liberal and radical second-wave feminists. In this discourse, feminists make claims about cooking to build moral identities that support their campaigns for a more equal world. These activists also advocated for cooking in ways that empowered women both within and outside the home. These methods of cooking could help feminists prefigure—or model—the social change they desired. In short, I demonstrate how feminists use discourse about cooking to challenge women’s subordination within the family and broader society.