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Sociologists Available to Discuss Terrorist Attack at Boston Marathon

WASHINGTON, DC, April 16, 2013 — The American Sociological Association (ASA) has sociologists available to discuss the terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon from a variety of perspectives.

Nancy Berns is an associate professor of sociology at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Her teaching and research interests include grief, death, and violence. She authored the 2011 book, Closure: The Rush to End Grief and What It Costs Us. When it comes to the end of a relationship, the loss of a loved one, or even a national tragedy, we are often told we need “closure.” But while some people think they find closure for their pain and grief, many more feel closure does not exist and believe the notion only promises false hope. Berns explores these ideas and their ramifications in her book.

Lee Clarke is a professor of sociology at Rutgers University in New Jersey. He has written about risk communication, panic, civil defense, evacuation, community response to disaster, and organizational failure. Clarke wrote the 2005 book, Worst Cases: Terror and Catastrophe in the Popular Imagination and edited the 2003 book, Terrorism and Disaster: New Threats, New Ideas. He is often invited to speak about leadership, culture, disaster, and organizational and technological failures. Additionally, Clarke consults with corporations, government agencies, and research foundations.

Brian A. Monahan is an assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice at Marywood University in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Monahan wrote the 2010 book, The Shock of the News: Media Coverage and the Making of 9/11, which not only illuminates how and why the coverage took shape as it did, but also provides us with new insights into the social, cultural, and political consequences of the attacks and their aftermath. Drawing on this and other media research, Monahan can discuss how and why the media packages and processes traumatic events as it does, as well as how media coverage influences the ways in which we understand and respond to such events.

Kathleen Tierney is a professor in the Department of Sociology and the Institute of Behavioral Science and Director of the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado Boulder. Tierney’s research focuses on the social dimensions of hazards and disasters, including natural, technological, and human-induced extreme events. She co-edited the 2007 book, Emergency Management: Principles and Practice for Local Government and co-authored the 2001 book, Facing the Unexpected: Disaster Preparedness and Response in the United States. In addition, Tierney conducted research on responses to the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City.

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The American Sociological Association (www.asanet.org), founded in 1905, is a non-profit membership association dedicated to serving sociologists in their work, advancing sociology as a science and profession, and promoting the contributions to and use of sociology by society.