Dr. Cynthia Fabrizio Pelak


Social Inequality, Multi-racial Feminist Theories, Sociology of Sports, Race and Ethnic Relations, Collective / Social Memory, Social Change, and Social Movements

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Office: 289B Science Hall
Email: cpelak@nmsu.edu

Curriculum Vitae


Ph.D. – The Ohio State University, 2002


Before coming to New Mexico State University Dr. Pelak taught in the Department of Sociology and the Women’s Studies Program at the University of Memphis in Tennessee.


Professor Pelak’s newest publication, co-authored with Stacey Duncan, will appear in the Special Issue on Globalization in _Teaching Sociology_. The article introduces an innovative active-learning pedagogy to enhance student engagement and conceptual learning. Click on the below title to download the article:

“Using a Social Science Fictional Play to Teach about Global Capitalism and Macro-structural Systems in Introduction to Sociology.”

Dr. Pelak’s scholarship focuses on understanding: (1) the processes by which social inequalities are created, maintained, and / or challenged in contemporary societies; (2) the ways that social inequalities are shaped by complex intersections of race, gender, class, sexuality, and nationality; and (3) how social context and present interests shape collective remembering and forgetting the racial past in the United States. Her work has been published in Gender and Society, Sociology of Education, Sociology of Sport Journal, Soccer and Society, International Review of the Sociology of Sport, and Afrika Spectrum. In 2006 she was awarded the Sociology of Sport Journal Outstanding Article Award by the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport (NASSS) for her research on race, gender, sport and nation building in the new South Africa.

Current Research Projects:

Dr. Pelak is currently researching contemporary struggles for control and ownership of the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel, the site of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination in Memphis, Tennessee. She is also conducting an analysis of the social theorizing of Beah Richards – the writer / actor / activist who played Sidney Portier’s mother in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967).


Dr. Pelak has taught courses on the Sociology of Gender; Race and Ethnic Relations; Multi-racial Feminist Theories; Women, Race, and Social Inequalities; Research Methodology; Sociology of Sports; Sociology of Families; and Introduction to Sociology. In 2000 she won the Teaching Excellence Award from the Department of Sociology at Ohio State University.

Annual Sociology Survey

The students in Dr. Pelak’s graduate research methods course at the University of Memphis conducted an annual survey of students enrolled in undergraduate sociology classes. The sample size for each survey is approximately 500 students. To learn about the findings for recent surveys, click on the below links.

Student videos from Professor Pelak’s Sociology 101 course: