Early American Sociology, Social Psychology, Popular Culture
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. Currently I am focusing more of my time on popular culture topics. 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 just finished the second edition to my Introduction to Sociology textbook, Sociology and Thinking Critically: An Introduction, by Green River Technologies. I am especially pleased that I added two new chapters in that textbook, one on living in a post-fact world, and the other on popular culture.
The second project involves Star Trek. This research is based on the relationship of the Star Trek franchise with its fans. The focus of the manuscript is social psychological, with an emphasis on ritual, identity, social movements, collective identity, cosplay, dystopia, and politics. This project should be submitted to a publisher in February of 2019. Highlighted in this is a survey with student Lorissa Humble on identity and cosplay.
Another piece is something I originally began 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.
A fourth project involves cartoons and their socialization on children, currently looking at the relationship of modernity and postmodernity and their influences on content of present day cartoons, with eventual research being conducted on WWII era cartoons and the present. This research is being conducted with Dr. David G. Ortiz as well as one of our undergraduate students, Lorissa Humble, and one of our graduate students, La Jaun Willis III.
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. A first paper was submitted for publication. 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 a first paper was submitted in the Summer of 2018.
Lastly, this research was collected in 2010. This is an analysis of Edward Alsworth Ross’s place within the early days of American Sociology, specifically as it relates to Eugenics. The presentation of this information should follow a similar model as what I did on Charles A. Ellwood in 2005, resulting 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.