November-December 2009 Issue • Volume 37 • Issue 8

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Obituaries

Deaths

Thomas P. Imse, College of the Holy Cross, died August 13, 2009, at the age of 89.

Debra Kelley, Longwood University, was murdered along with her family at their home in Farmville, VA, on September 18.

Lenora Finn Paradis, University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville, died September 17, 2009, at her residence, at the age of 56.

Jerry Alan Winter, Connecticut College, died on March 31, 2009, after a long illness. He was 71.

Obituaries

Peter Kollock
1959-2009

Peter Kollock, 49, died January 10, 2009, as a result of a motorcycle accident near his home in Calabasas, CA. He was an associate professor in the department of sociology at UCLA.

Born November 1, 1959, in Zaragoza, Spain, Peter came to the United States when he was one year old. He grew up in Seattle, WA, where he attended Blanchet High School and the University of Washington (BA 1982, MA 1984, and PhD 1990).

Peter was hired as an assistant professor by the UCLA Department of Sociology in 1989 and spent his entire academic career there. As a graduate student, Peter established working relationships with several members of the faculty at the University of Washington, including Richard Emerson, Karen Cook, Toshio Yamagishi, Phil Blumstein, and Pepper Schwartz. These collaborations resulted in several research projects that, while seemingly eclectic, had as a common thread Peter’s keen interest in determining the bases of trust and cooperation in collective action. Peter’s first published article, "Sex and Power in Interaction: Conversational Privileges and Duties" (with Blumstein and Schwartz, 1985) is an example of his penchant for synthesis within social psychology. Using principles of social exchange theory that he learned while working with Emerson and Cook, Peter suggested that relational power might help to explain the variance in conversational patterns usually attributed solely to gender. The hypothesis was supported when applied to the data that Blumstein and Schwartz had gathered for their American Couples study.

In subsequent research, based on concepts derived from both social exchange theory and symbolic interaction, Peter proposed new models of cooperation under conditions of uncertainty. These models expanded on earlier social exchange theoretical principles by taking into account some of the ways in which actors signal intentions to one another and use pre-existing social scripts as a basis for ascertaining risk and trust. Working with Yamagishi, Peter was able to demonstrate conditions under which networks of trust are necessary for social cooperation to emerge. This research resulted in three significant articles that are still considered disciplinary benchmarks.

Simultaneous to this research, Peter was engaged in two additional activities that left a significant imprint. One was a textbook in social psychology, The Production of Reality (with O’Brien, 1993). The other was the development of a graduate student teacher-training program that he helped to pilot while in graduate school and later introduced into the graduate curriculum at UCLA. Peter is well known among his colleagues and much loved among former students for his excellent teaching abilities. He was the recipient of the University of Washington’s Graduate Student Teaching Award (1989) and two of UCLA’s highest teaching awards—the Luckman Distinguished Teaching Award and the Eby Award for the Art of Teaching.

Throughout his professional career, Peter was actively involved in the ASA Social Psychology Section and the annual Group Processes conferences. Peter used these meetings as an occasion to sharpen his thinking on a range of topics and to try out groundbreaking ideas in a forum that he knew would offer incisive feedback, necessary criticism, and unflinching support. In these meetings he articulated some of his notions for the application of principles of group processes to two new arenas: online communities and financial markets. The first resulted in the book, Communities in Cyberspace, co-edited with Marc Smith and considered a pioneering contribution in studies on computer mediated communication and group dynamics. This interest led eventually to the Peter’s involvement, along with Michael Macy, Smith, and others, in launching the ASA’s section on Communication and Information Technologies. 

Another research direction, took Peter into the real-time domain of Wall Street markets and finance. The impetus for this junket, which included his participation in a new start-up company called OnExchange, was Peter’s interest in eBay and similar online networks that were emerging as novel ways to connect and coordinate buyers and sellers. He was intrigued with the implications of these enterprises and what they could teach us about trust, cooperation, risk, and signaling in anonymous, temporary networks. In other words, online financial markets were yet another domain in which he could pursue inquiries regarding basic questions derived from his understanding of social dilemmas and the challenges of coordination and cooperation in collective action. While his hopes of getting rich while pursuing "applied research" didn’t pan out, he did acquire a wealth of information. At the time of his death, he was in the process of formulating two book projects in which he intended to share these insights.

Most recently, Peter was engaged in a direction of inquiry that was bringing him back to his earliest interests in the social psychology of cognition and self-awareness. He became affiliated with the Deer Park Monastery, organized in the tradition of the Buddhist Thich Nhat Hahn. Following a three-month retreat, Peter proposed a new undergraduate course at UCLA called "The Sociology of Mindfulness." This course, which became wildly popular, blended elements of cognitive social psychology, contemporary neurology, and meditation to provide an intellectual and experiential understanding of the ways in which linguistic concepts organize our sense of self and our perceptions of our life circumstances.

In honor of Kollock, the UCLA Sociology Department has established a graduate student teaching scholarship in his name. To contribute to this fund, contact Eric Nakano in the UCLA College Development office at enakano@ support.ucla.edu.

Jodi O’Brien, Seattle University

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Katherine Pavelka Luke
1974-2009

Katherine Pavelka Luke, a recent graduate of the Joint Doctoral Program in Social Work and Sociology at the University of Michigan, died suddenly of complications from cancer on Saturday September 12, 2009. She was born October 31, 1974, in Lincoln, NE. Her most recent appointment was as a post-doctoral fellow at the Addiction Research Center, Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan.

Katherine earned a BA in Women and Gender Studies and Psychology and a minor in sociology from Macalester College, and an MSW and MA in Public Affairs from the University of Minnesota. While at the University of Michigan she earned a Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies in addition to her PhD. Her dissertation, Race, Gender and Heterosexuality in Campus Party Culture: The Reproduction and Transformation of Social Identities, Social Inequalities, and Sexual Violence, focused on studying the "social and discursive practices of race, gender, and heterosexuality within campus party cultures." It illuminated complex interactions among contexts for partying, emphasizing binge drinkers, among those in the period of emerging adulthood, and how users conceptualize their alcohol and other drug use, relationships and sexuality, and safety. She explored how gender, ethnicity, race, and sexuality interact within complex performance sites to create opportunities for potentially positive relationships and identity exploration as well as risks for sexual exploitation and substance abuse. Within this, she identified implications for promotion of positive relationships and behaviors and prevention of interpersonal violence.

Katherine’s work in the PhD program grew from her academic and professional commitments. Prior to entering the program she worked in the fields of women’s health, family violence, and mental health as a research analyst and direct service worker. She continued her connection to the world of practice while in school, working on a number of community- and agency-based projects, including an interpersonal violence prevention project and one designed to reduce risky alcohol use. She was licensed as a Macro Social Worker by the State of Michigan in 2006.

Katherine was an active and productive scholar crossing the boundaries between social work, sociology, social policy and women’s studies. She published five articles in refereed journals, including Social Service Review and Child and Youth Services Review.

Katherine’s accomplishments were recognized by multiple awards and fellowships. She received a National Merit Scholarship, a grant from the Hubert Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, a Regents Fellowship upon admission to her PhD program, an NIMH Predoctoral Fellowship, and the highly competitive Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship while writing her dissertation. Finally, Katherine received two awards that were based on the quality of her scholarship: the Network Biennial Margaret J. Barr Student Research Award and the Henry Meyer Award.

Katherine was also active as a leader within the graduate student community. She was a co-founder and member of the Gender and Sexuality study group in the Department of Sociology. She was very active in the Doctoral Student Organization (DSO) of the Joint Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in Social Work and Sociology. Additionally, Katherine was one of the founding members of the Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshop on Qualitative Research Methods (2006-09) and a member of the Addiction and Gender Program at IRWG (2007-09). She was an active member of the Graduate Employees Organization and taught in both the School of Social Work and the Department of Sociology.

Katherine’s survivors include her husband, Michael Pryplesh; children Nicky (4 ½) and Ali (1); her mother Ginger Luke and stepfather Don Cherry; grandmother, Phyllis Pavelka; and a brother, Richard Luke, as well as many loving friends and relatives.

Katherine inspired many with her dedication and values. She approached her work with passion and integrity. In her admissions essay for her PhD program, Katherine identified three professional goals: "I have a clear understanding of my professional goals. They are to promote social and economic justice by doing community-based and theory-building research, widely disseminating research findings, and training future social workers…" She recognized the role that social work education and research could play in creating positive social change. In her short time with us she met and accomplished these goals in significant ways. Her ideas, passions, and commitments have made a difference in our world.

Zakiya Luna, University of Michigan

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Charles R. Snyder
1924-2009

Charles R. Snyder, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale (SIU), died peacefully at his home in Denver, CO, on September 15, 2009. Born December 28, 1924, in Haverford, PA, Chuck served as an officer in the United States Navy during WWII. He received his BA, MA, and PhD (1954) in sociology at Yale University, where he studied under Selden D. Bacon. After lectureships at Yale’s Center of Alcohol Studies and the University of Chicago, Chuck joined the Sociology Department at SIU in 1960 as full professor. He served skillfully as chair of the department from 1964-75 and from 1981-85. Chuck was a consummate advisor and professor—and clever thesis committee politician as well—who helped shepherd scores of graduate students through the intellectual and bureaucratic thickets of the degree process. Generations of students benefited from his broad knowledge and capacity as a demanding stylist and critical interlocutor. Chuck was a leading authority on alcohol studies. Among his published monographs is his seminal book on culture and drinking patterns, Alcohol and the Jews (1958), which Arnold M. Rose, writing in the American Sociological Review, called "brilliant research" that makes a significant advance in scientific theory. He also edited (with David J. Pittman), Society, Culture and Drinking Patterns (1962), another classic in the sociocultural literature on drinking patterns. Among other editorial assignments, he served on the editorial board of the Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 1957-83. As a colleague, teacher, mentor, and friend, Chuck was widely appreciated for his incisive intellect, sharp wit, and generosity. He had great compassion for the unfortunate, but remained stubbornly optimistic about improving the human condition. Chuck will be sorely missed by many.

Robert P. Weiss, State University of New York at Plattsburgh

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Frederick L. Whitam
1933-2009

Frederick L. Whitam, Professor Emeritus in Sociology, died in July 2009 in Tempe, Arizona. He was flown to his family in Mississippi where a memorial service was held on September 12th.

Fred spent more than 30 years teaching and engaging in research at Arizona State University (ASU). He was one of the faculty who established the ASU doctoral program in 1972. Prior to joining the university’s Department of Sociology in 1965, he earned his PhD at Indiana University. Fred also served as an Assistant Professor and Sociology Department Chair at Millsaps College in Mississippi, as an Instructor at the State University of New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology where he learned to understand New Yorkese and his students a Southern accent, and as a Visiting Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Texas-Austin. His book publications included The Protestant Spanish Community in New York (1960) and the co-authored book with Robin Mathy Male Homosexuality in Four Societies:  Brazil, Guatemala, the Philippines, and the United States (1986). Fred spoke Portugese and Spanish fluently. He enjoyed traveling extensively to Brazil, Guatemala, and the Philippines during his research career.

Fred’s research had a way of gaining attention. In the conservative Conservapedia, there are critical articles on what is perceived as "leftist/liberal ideology" with Fred’s research indicating that homosexuality is a normative phenomenon in many societies, citing Fred’s work as holding that:  "The persistence of revivalism is interpreted as a functional reaffirmation of a threatened life style."  His published research on homosexuality was cited as recently as September 21, 2009, in The New York Times.

Fred was a valued colleague and engaging conversationalist. He is missed by his ASU colleagues and others who knew him.

Leonard Gordon, Arizona State University

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