Faculty

Jo C. Phelan

Jo C. Phelan

UNI: 
jcp13
admin
Jo
Phelan
Associate Professor
Phone: 
+1 212 305 0406
Department: 
Sociomedical Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health
Office Hours: 
By appointment
Areas of Interest: 
Social Stigma, Conceptions of Mental Illness, Social Inequalities in Health and Mortality
Education: 

Ph.D., SUNY (Stony Brook), 1991

Biographical Note: 

Professor Phelan has addressed inequalities in physical and mental health; particularly those based on socioeconomic status, gender, and stigmatized statuses such as homelessness and mental illness. Her work locates the creation and perpetuation of inequalities in the interplay between social structural, cultural and social psychological processes. Phelan's contributions include calling attention to the biases introduced by the 'point-prevalence' method of estimating the homeless population’s size and characteristics and, in an analysis published in the American Sociological Review, exploring the well established and longstanding association between level of formal education and political liberalism and tolerance. In that work, she provided empirical evidence to critique the dominant theory that education increases tolerance through a process of fundamental personality change, providing support for "socialization" theory-based explanations, in which educational institutions shape attitudes to conform to the prevailing "official" or "ideal" culture. Her work illuminates how education and, by extension, social environments in general, shape political attitudes—which is relevant not just to the issue of homelessness but more broadly to other social inequalities, including those based on socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity and gender.

Phelan's current work focuses on 1) stigma and mental illness, 2) social consequences of the genetics revolution, and (with Bruce Link) 3) socioeconomic status as a "fundamental cause" of inequalities in mortality. Phelan’s scholarship (with Link) on attitudes toward mental illness, published in the Annual Review of Sociology, analyzes stigma as a process encompassing prejudice and discrimination, and fundamentally based in socially-structured power hierarchies. Her use of advances in understanding stigma and mental illness to inform our understanding of the social psychological aspects of other socially significant inequalities, including those based on race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation, has made Phelan internationally recognized as one of the leading scholars in the area of mental-illness stigma. Phelan is also one of the few scholars to explore the sociological implications of the Human Genome Project. Her NIH-funded program of research exploring the impact of the genetics revolution on the stigma attached to serious mental illnesses has found that genetic attributions increased the perceived seriousness and persistence of mental illness as well as the belief a mentally-ill individual’s siblings and children are likely to develop the same problem, suggesting that the Human Genome Project does bear with it the possibility of spreading stigma to biological relatives of stigmatized individuals. Phelan’s new NIH-funded study explores the information and ideas that the media are disseminating to the public and analyzes public understanding and response to that information, expanding her work to other stigmatized statuses that are also very likely to be influenced by changing knowledge and beliefs about genetics, such as obesity, cancers and minority racial status. The third area of Phelan’s work, supported by a prestigious Investigator Award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is her widely cited collaborative research (with Link) on fundamental causes of mortality, which has both conceptualized the paths through which socioeconomic inequality creates mortality differentials and developed a body of supporting empirical work to substantiate their arguments.

Phelan's future work on the potential impact of the genetics revolution, social conditions as fundamental causes of inequalities in mortality, and stigma includes two specific projects already underway. With support from NIMH, her study on public understandings of 'genetic risk' combines qualitative and quantitative methods and a well-developed body of theory (expectation states theory) to explore in greater depth how people understand genetic risk and how accurate information about risk can best be communicated to people. Second, she and Link will continue their work on the mechanisms through which socioeconomic inequality creates mortality differentials, exploring the proposition that one key element of this relation is that advances in knowledge about the prevention and/or treatment of the disease create mortality advantage for high-SES individuals.

Amy Stuart Wells

Amy Stuart Wells

UNI: 
asw86
admin
Amy
Wells
Professor
Phone: 
+1 212 678 4042
Campus Phone: 
TC 4042
Department: 
Teachers College
Office Hours: 
By appointment
Areas of Interest: 
Educational Policy, Race and Education, Charter Schools, School Desegregation, School Choice Policy
Education: 

Ph.D., Columbia, 1991

Biographical Note: 

Amy Stuart Wells is a Professor of Sociology and Education, and the Coordinator of Policy Studies at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her research and writing has focused broadly on issues of race and education and more specifically on educational policies, such as school desegregation, school choice, charter schools, and tracking, and how they shape and constrain opportunities for students of color. She is the recipient of several honors and awards, including a 2001-02 Fellowship from the Carnegie Corporation's Scholars Program; the 2000 Julius & Rosa Sachs Lecturer, Teachers College-Columbia University; and the 2000 AERA Early Career Award for Programmatic Research.

Julien O Teitler

Julien O Teitler

UNI: 
jot8
admin
Julien
Teitler
Associate Professor
Phone: 
+1 212 851 2376
Campus Phone: 
MS 1-2376
Department: 
Sch Of Social Work
2400000
Room: 
712 School of Social Work
Office Hours: 
By appointment
1255 Amsterdam Ave, Room 712, Mail Code: 4600,United States
Areas of Interest: 
Adolescent Transitions, Social Inequality, Family Policy
Education: 

Ph.D., Pennsylvania, 1996

Biographical Note: 

Julien Teitler is Associate Professor of Social Work and Sociology and Director of the Columbia University Social Indicators Survey Center. Teitler’s research focuses on the effects of social environments and policies on families and children, on health disparities, and on research methodology. Teitler teaches classes in Human Behavior and the Social Environment and in Research Methodology.

Professor Teitler’s research focuses on the effects of social contexts on health and fertility, and on how social environments and policies affect families and children. Recent studies include cross-national comparisons of fertility trends and health disparities, how welfare participation and mental health affect marriage, and the effect of neighborhood racial composition on birth outcomes. His current projects focus on the measurement of social networks and neighborhoods, changes in immigrant health over time spent in the U.S., explaining trends in teen fertility, and the role of prenatal care on successive fertility.

Michael S Schudson

Michael S Schudson

UNI: 
ms3035
admin
Michael
Schudson
Professor
Phone: 
+1 212 854 8277
Campus Phone: 
MS 4-8277
Department: 
School Of Journalism
1800000
Room: 
201D Journalism
Office Hours: 
By appointment
201D Journalism, Mail Code: 3812, United States
Areas of Interest: 
History and Sociology of the American News Media, Advertising, Popular Culture, Watergate, and Cultural Memory
Education: 

Ph.D., Harvard, 1976

Biographical Note: 

Michael Schudson grew up in Milwaukee, Wisc. He received a B.A. from Swarthmore College and M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from Harvard. He taught at the University of Chicago from 1976 to 1980 and at the University of California, San Diego from 1980 to 2009. From 2005 on, he split his teaching between UCSD and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, becoming a full-time member of the Columbia faculty in 2009.

He is the author of six books and editor of two others concerning the history and sociology of the American news media, advertising, popular culture, Watergate and cultural memory. He is the recipient of a number of honors; he has been a Guggenheim fellow, a resident fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Palo Alto, and a MacArthur Foundation "genius" fellow. In 2004, he received the Murray Edelman distinguished career award from the political communication section of the American Political Science Association and the International Communication Association.

Schudson's articles have appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Wilson Quarterly, and The American Prospect, and he has published op-eds in The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday, the Financial Times, and The San Diego Union.

Emmanuelle M Saada

Emmanuelle M Saada

UNI: 
es2593
admin
Emmanuelle
Saada
Associate Professor
Phone: 
+1 212 854 3691
Department: 
French and Francophone Studies
Room: 
504 Philosophy Hall
Office Hours: 
By appointment
Education: 

Ph.D., Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), 2001

Biographical Note: 

Emmanuelle Saada joined the Department of French and Romance Philology at Columbia University in 2006. She received her academic training in France, first at the École Normale Supérieure in sociology and history and later at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), where she received her PhD in 2001. From 1997 to 2003, she worked at the Institute of French Studies at New York University, first as Assistant Director and later as a faculty fellow. In 2003, she joined the faculty of the EHESS. Her main field of research is the historical sociology of colonization, with a specific interest in law, citizenship and families. Her first book, Les enfants de la colonie: les métis de l'Empire français entre sujétion et citoyenneté, was published in 2007 by La Découverte. Les enfants examined the connection between race, filiation and citizenship in the French empire. It was awarded the Auguste Pavie prize and was a finalist for the Jean Zay prize. An English translation by Arthur Goldhammer is forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press. Emmanuelle Saada is currently working on a book on the historiography of European colonialisms. She has also published numerous articles on colonial law, culture and politics as well as epistemological reflections on the French social sciences. Her teaching focuses on the history and sociology of immigration and colonization.

Aaron M Pallas

Aaron M Pallas

UNI: 
amp155
admin
Aaron
Pallas
Professor
Phone: 
+1 212 678 8119
Campus Phone: 
TC 8119
Department: 
Teachers College
Room: 
464 Grace Dodge
Office Hours: 
By appointment
Areas of Interest: 
Educational Stratification and the Sociology of the Life Course
Education: 

Ph.D., Johns Hopkins, 1984

Biographical Note: 

Aaron Pallas is Professor of Sociology and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University.  He has also taught at Johns Hopkins University, Michigan State University, and Northwestern University, and served as a statistician at the National Center for Education Statistics in the U.S. Department of Education. Professor Pallas has devoted the bulk of his career to the study of how schools sort students, especially the relationship between school organization and sorting processes and the linkages among schooling, learning and the human life course.  He is a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association and an elected member of the Sociological Research Association.  His most recent projects are explicitly designed to inform policymakers and other stakeholders about conditions in New York City public schools.

Herbert J. Gans

Herbert J. Gans

UNI: 
hjg1
hjg1@columbia.edu
Herbert
Gans
Room: 
605 Knox
Office Hours: 
By appointment
Biographical Note: 

Herbert J Gans has replaced full time teaching with full time writing, but continues to teach the now 40 year old Field Methods course. He still writes about poverty and antipoverty policy, urban issues, the news media, and race and ethnicity, as well as about his career-long prime subject: equality and democracy.

 

Diane Vaughan

Diane Vaughan

UNI: 
dv2146
dv2146@columbia.edu
Diane
Vaughan
Professor
Phone: 
+1 212 854 0074
Campus Phone: 
MS 4-0074
Department: 
Sociology
3180000
Room: 
715 Knox
Office Hours: 
By appointment
715 Knox Hall, United States
Areas of Interest: 
Organizations, Work, and Technology, Analogical Theorizing, Science, Knowledge and Technology, Deviance and Social Control, Sociology of Culture, Field Methods.
Education: 

Ph.D., Ohio State, 1979

Biographical Note: 

Diane Vaughan received her Ph.D. in Sociology, Ohio State University, 1979, and taught at Boston College from 1984 to 2005.  During this time, she was awarded fellowships at Yale (1979-82), Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, Oxford (1986-87), The American Bar Foundation (1988-1989), The Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton (1996-1997), and John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (2003-04). She came to Columbia in 2005.

Her interests are organizations, work and technology, science, knowledge, and technology, deviance and social control, sociology of culture, and field methods.  The prime theoretical focus of her research is how the social - history, institutions, organizations - affect individual meanings, decisions, and action. Culture is the important mediator in this process, making ethnographic methods, supplemented by interviews, the best means of understanding these relationships. In addition to joining institutional  and organizational factors to understand what Geertz calls "the native view," she uses historical ethnography as a method, which allows her to study systems and processes by locating social actors and outcomes in their changing context and temporality. 

Since 1980, she has been working on analogical theorizing: developing theory from qualitative data based on cross-case analysis.  The goal is to compare cases of similar events, activities or phenomena across different organizational forms in order to elaborate general theory or concepts.  This project has focused on the "dark side" of organizations:  mistake, misconduct, and disaster.  Her interest in how things go wrong in organizations has thus far resulted in Controlling Unlawful Organizational Behavior, Uncoupling, and The Challenger Launch Decision.  Although very different in size, complexity, and function, all three cases were of organizations - a relationship being the smallest organization we create. Morover, in common across cases they had a common pattern: each had a long incubation period with early warning signs that were either missed, misinterpreted or ignored until after some unanticipated negative outcome.

The analogical theorizing project has led her now to an ethnography and interview-based study of air traffic control. She is examining it as a negative case: how controllers are trained to recognize early warning signs and anomalies as signals of potential danger and correct them, so that little mistakes do not turn into catastrophes.  Comparing four air traffic facilities, the focus is the work that air traffic controllers do and the interface between institutional,organizational and technological factors and human cognitive and material practices in a highly standardized system that is full of variation.  Much of the viability of air traffic control depends upon the human component, as individuals do boundary work, negotiating institutional, organizational, and air space boundaries in order to keep the system going. The fourth book in the project, Dead Reckoning: System Effects, Boundary Work, and Risk in Air Traffic Control, in now nearing completion.

The product of this comparative work will be Theorizing:  Analogy, Cases, and Comparative Social Organization.  Both Dead Reckoning and The Challenger Launch Decision are historical ethnographies. Her NASA analysis was awarded the Rachel Carson Prize, the Robert K Merton Award, Honorable Mention for Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship of the American Sociological Association, and was nominated for the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize. As a result of her analysis of the Challenger accident, she was asked to testify before the Columbia Accident Investigation Board in 2003, then became part of the Board's research staff, working with the Board to analyze and write the chapters of the Report identifying the social causes of NASA's Columbia accident. 

Publications: 

Selected.

"Theorizing: Analogy, Cases, and Comparative Social Organization," in Richard A. Swedberg (ed.) Theorizing in Social Science. Stanford: Stanford University Press. 2014: 61-84.

"Analytic Ethnography," in Peter Hedstrom and Peter Bearman (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Analytical Sociology. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2009: 688-711.

"Bourdieu and Organizations: The Empirical Challenge," Theory and Society 37, 1, 2008: 65-81.

"NASA Revisited: Theory, Analogy, and Public Sociology," American Journal of Sociology 112, 2. 2006.

"Theorizing Disaster: Analogy, Historical Ethnography, and the Challenger Accident," Ethnography 5, 3: 2005: 313-45.

"History as Cause: Columbia and Challenger." Ch. 8. Report. Columbia Accident Investigation Board. Vol. 1. August 2003.

"Intimate Work: Teaching Sociologists to Write," Teaching Sociology: July 1988: 275-78.

Seymour Spilerman

Seymour Spilerman

UNI: 
ss50
kw2510@columbia.edu
Seymour
Spilerman
Julian Clarence Levi Professor in the Social Sciences
Phone: 
+1 212 854 4273
Campus Phone: 
MS 4-4273
Department: 
Sociology
3180000
Room: 
613 Knox Hall
Office Hours: 
By appointment
606 West 122nd Street, New York NY 10027
Areas of Interest: 
Stratification, Social Violence and Terrorism, Mathematical Sociology
Education: 

Ph.D., Johns Hopkins, 1968

Biographical Note: 

Seymour Spilerman is the Julian C. Levi Professor of Social Sciences and Co-Director of the Center for the Study of Wealth and Inequality. His research has examined the structure of work careers in corporate settings, focusing on the ways that educational attainment, labor market experience, race and gender influence career features.  Spilerman is also involved in cross-national research on issues of income and wealth inequality, financial gerontology, and intergenerational transfers of resources. 

Another area of interest covers social violence, such as racial rioting and terrorism.  In recent years this has included studies of the effects of terrorism on the lives of the residents of the impacted country.  In particular, the adaptations made by Israelis to the threat of frequent terror attacks have been examined in several research articles.

Debra C. Minkoff

Debra C. Minkoff

UNI: 
dm2342
kw2510@columbia.edu
Debra
Minkoff
Miriam Scharfman Zadek Family Professor of Sociology
Barnard - Chair & Dean for Faculty Diversity and Development
Phone: 
212-854-2279
Department: 
Sociology, Barnard College
Room: 
332D Milbank
Office Hours: 
By appointment
Areas of Interest: 
Social Movements, Political Sociology, and Organizational Theory and Research
Education: 

Ph.D., Harvard, 1991

Biographical Note: 

Debra Minkoff joined the faculty of Barnard in 2005, after teaching at the University of Washington in Seattle. She also has taught at Yale University and held visiting positions at the University of Munich and the Humboldt University of Berlin.

Professor Minkoff’s work focuses on the organizational dimensions of social movements and political activism in the U.S. Her earlier research traces the civil rights and feminist movements, developing a new approach that emphasizes the ecology of national political and civic organizations. She has written on such topics as the structure of protest cycles in the U.S., organizational change and failure among national political organizations, and the role of national social movements in American civil society. More recently her research has investigated such questions as how funding by elite foundations shapes the field of organizations seeking to consolidate the gains of the feminist and civil rights movements, and how much variety exists in the organizational models available for citizen advocacy at the national level in the U.S.

Her article "Conceptualizing Political Opportunity" (with D. S. Meyer) received the 2005 Best Published Article Award from the American Sociological Association Section on Collective Behavior and Social Movements.

At Barnard, Professor Minkoff’s teaching includes such courses as "Social Movements, Funding Social Change: A Research Practicum, and the Junior Colloquium."

Publications: 

"Structure and Strategy: Organizational Diversity in the U.S. Advocacy Sector" (with S. Aisenbrey and J. Agnone), Social Problems (Forthcoming)

"Conceptualizing Political Opportunity" (with D. S. Meyer), Social Forces 82 (June 2004)

"Bending with the Wind: Organizational Change in American Women's and Minority Organizations." American Journal of Sociology 104 (May 1999) pdf

"The Sequencing of Social Movements," American Sociological Review 62 (October 1997) pdf

Organizing for Equality: The Evolution of Women's and Racial-Ethnic Organizations in America, 1955-1985 (Rutgers University Press, ASA Rose Book Series, 1995)

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