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Amy Binder


Amy Binder received her BA in Anthropology from Stanford University and her MA and PhD in Sociology from Northwestern University. Her principal research interests are in the areas of education, politics, culture, and organizations.

Professor Binder’s Curriculum Vitae is available here

Professor Binder’s first book, Contentious Curricula: Afrocentrism and Creationism in American Public Schools (Princeton 2002), explores two challenges posed to public school systems in the 1990s. 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).

Her second book, Becoming Right: How Campuses Shape Young Conservatives (Princeton 2013), examines how right-leaning college students experience life at two universities—one an elite private institution, the other a major public university. Co-authored with Kate Wood, the book reveals two distinctive styles that young conservatives embrace, each of them shaped by campus context and the outside organizations in the conservative ecosystem. Becoming Right was widely reviewed, including in The New Republic, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and The Boston Globe.

Professor Binder’s third book, The Channels of Student Activism: How the Left and Right Are Winning (and Losing) in Campus Politics Today (University of Chicago Press, May 2022) picks up where Becoming Right left off. In this project, she and co-author Jeffrey Kidder examine student activism across the political spectrum on four public university campuses. Two articles related to this project have been published as Trumpism on College Campuses and The Politics of Speech on Campus.

Professor Binder is now beginning research on the interconnections between libertarianism and higher education.

In addition to studying education and politics, Professor Binder recently completed a series of articles researching the links between universities and the labor market. These include:

At the request of Sage Publications, Professor Binder and Daniel Davis filmed two videos about their research connecting universities and careers:

Among other activities, Professor Binder served as the 2014-2015 Chair of the Sociology of Education section of the American Sociological Association, was a deputy editor of the journal Sociology of Education, and has served as council member for three other ASA sections: Political Sociology; Culture; and Organizations, Occupations, and Work. She is a member of the Scholars Strategy Network and the Sociological Research Association.

She served as chair of the Department of Sociology at UC San Diego from 2019 to 2022.