Leading Sociologists Join Columbia Sociology

September 01, 2017

Dr. Bruce Western
Bruce Western is Visiting Professor of Sociology at Columbia University. He received his BA from the University of Queensland, Australia, and his PhD in Sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Western's research examines trends in American economic inequality and the growth of the US penal population. These topics are joined by an interest in the shifting landscape of American poverty over the last 40 years. As a quantitative social scientist, Western has also studied the application of Bayesian statistics and methods for the analysis of economic inequality. He is currently vice-chair of a committee studying the causes and consequences of high incarceration rates for the National Academies of Sciences and will lead an Executive Session at the Kennedy School on the future of correctional policy.

Dr. Jennifer Lee
Jennifer Lee is Professor of Sociology at Columbia University who received her B.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Columbia University. Her research projects stem from her theoretical interests in the intersection of immigration, race/ethnicity, and culture. Much of her work has focused on the ways in which contemporary immigrants affect native-born Americans, and also, how native-born Americans affect patterns of immigrant and second-generation incorporation. More than any other scholar, Lee has expanded the discussion of race/ethnicity, immigration, and culture beyond the Black/White binary to include America’s largest minority groups — Blacks, Latinos, and Asians. She is author of Civility in the City: Blacks, Jews, and Koreans in Urban America for which Lee received Honorable Mention for the Thomas and Znaniecki Distinguished Book Award from the International Migration Section of the American Sociological Association, and co-author of The Diversity Paradox: Immigration and the Color Line in 21st Century, which earned the 2011 Otis Dudley Duncan Award from the Population Section of ASA. She is also co-editor of Asian American Youth: Culture, Identity, and Ethnicity, which was named the 2006 Outstanding Book Award from the Asia and Asian America Section of the ASA. She has also authored dozens of articles about race/ethnicity, immigration, and the second generation. Lee has also been awarded numerous prestigious grants and Fellowships. She was a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, a Fellow at the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture at the University of Chicago, a Visiting Scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation, and a Fulbright Scholar to Japan.

Dr. Maria Abascal
Maria Abascal is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Columbia University. Dr. Abascal recently completed a postdoc in the Population Studies and Training Center at Brown University. She received her PhD in Sociology and Social Policy from Princeton University. Broadly, she is interested in intergroup relations and boundary processes, especially as they pertain to race, ethnicity and nationalism. Her dissertation explores the impact of Hispanic population growth––real and perceived––on relations between Blacks and Whites in the United States. Dr. Abascal's research draws on a range of quantitative methods and data sources, including original lab, survey, and field experiments. Other research projects deal with the consequences of diversity, the determinants of skin color perception, the sources of the criminal immigrant stereotype, the predictors of immigrant naturalization, and the geographic distribution of patriotic behaviors.