Disability Studies, Early American Sociology, Social Psychology, Ethnic Studies
Office: Science Hall, room 287
Ph.D. – Oklahoma State University, 1999
M.S. – Oklahoma State University, 1995
B.A. – Humboldt State University, 1993
I have benefited from the opportunities to study a wide variety of social phenomena. I have conducted research and published on people with developmental disabilities; bereavement; race/ethnicity, as well as early American sociological thought. I approach social phenomena from a social psychological perspective, specifically that of pragmatism blended with realism. I recently returned to a theory I developed with J. David Knottnerus called Strategic Ritualization, and am applying that to some of my new research. As I approach the twilight of my career, I am focusing more on research that I find ‘fun’ and that will blend some of my ‘off-work’ interests with my career. After a few years of focusing more on administrative duties, I am jumping in with many new projects.
I’m just finishing up some research with former student Heidi Jenkins on the relationship of tattoos to the self or identity. The theory behind this incorporates ideas of Mead, but there are also elements of Stryker, Stets, and Burke. We interviewed 30 individuals with tattoos during the Fall, 2016. We will be sending off a draft to a journal during the Summer of 2017. Moving forward, we are looking at other aspects of tattoos and popular culture.
The second project involves another love of mine, Star Trek. This research involves the relationship of ritual to identity found at Star Trek conventions, but also meanings garnered from the Star Trek franchise in general. I’m using participant and unobtrusive observation, plus in-depth interviews. This is turning into a book, and I’m hoping that during a sabbatical during the second half of 2018 I will be able to finish this. Currently I have about 200 pages written.
Another piece is something I originally wrote in 2009. It involves the work of Shailer Mathews who was Dean of the Divinity School at the University of Chicago. He pushed for a Christian Sociology and published in the first eight issues of the American Journal of Sociology. Working now with Dr. David G. Ortiz, we are refocusing the original paper to apply his ideas to Social Problems and the relationship of values to definitions of problems. More or less we are presenting a realist argument from Mathews to address an alternative to the nominalist ideas that are so prevalent in Sociology today.
Some research that is beginning in the Fall, 2017 involves cartoons and their socialization on children. This research is being conducted with Dr. David G. Ortiz as well as one of our undergraduate students, Lorissa Humble. We are still in the early phases of this and will be submitting something to the IRB before the Summer is over.
Also, a pilot study on Bureaucratic Ritualism in academia was conducted in early 2017 of 30 individuals in academia. The goal was to find out how bureaucratic ritualism was influencing the jobs and careers of academics. A paper was presented at the Pacific Sociological Association meeting in April, 2017. The write up is nearly completed and should be submitted to a journal before the Summer is over. This work is being conducted with Dr. C. Alison Newby. Our hope is to build this out into a larger project over the next few years.
With Drs. Erin N. Rider and Stephanie M. Arnett, we are studying fans of college football in the Southeast Conference (SEC). This is a 76-item survey addressing various aspects of fandom for these fans. We had over 300 respondents and we hope to have the first of many papers out to journals some time in 2017.
I am also preparing a second edition to my book, Sociology: Thinking Critically, published by Great River Learning. It is an Introduction to Sociology text.
Lastly, this research was collected in 2010. This is an analysis of Edward Alsworth Ross’s place within the early days of American Sociology. The presentation of this information should follow a similar model as what I did on Charles A. Ellwood in 2005 three resulted in three journal articles. The hope is to remind sociologists in the 21st century of the people who shaped Sociology in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Currently I am looking for a student to assist me in the analyzing of the data.