September/October 2010 Issue • Volume 38 • Issue 7

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ASA Awards First Cohort of Postdoctoral Fellowships at Six Universities

Karina Havrilla, ASA Minority Affairs Program

ASA, along with its six university partners, is pleased to introduce the first recipients of the ASA Postdoctoral Fellowship. Out of a highly competitive pool of applicants, 13 finalists were selected and ultimately six were given the opportunity to participate in the program. All six fellows will begin their fellowship at their respective host institutions this fall. In addition to managing the application and selection process, ASA is also conducting research on the contexts, expectations, and trajectories of those selected for the program and those who were not. In addition, ASA is collecting a nationally representative sample of other post-doc recipients and recent PhD graduates to expand the comparison. This research and evaluation is being led by Roberta Spalter-Roth, ASA Director of Research and Development. According to Spalter-Roth, the "research component of the program will provide evidence on the potential role of postdoctoral training as the discipline moves forward."

This is the first year that the ASA has offered a Postdoctoral Fellowship. The fellowship is being funded by a grant in economic sociology from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and consists of six two-year fellowships—one at each of the following institutions: Cornell University, Harvard University, Princeton University, Stanford University, University of California-Berkeley, and University of Wisconsin-Madison. Over the next two years, the fellows will conduct research on understanding the social impacts of the current economic crisis. Each fellow proposed a unique project in their application and has been paired up with the institution that will best complement their interests. They will be assigned a mentor who can provide both career and research guidance. Furthermore, as part of the program, they will also be required to teach one course as a member of the department during their award.

The six fellows met each other for the first time at the 2010 ASA Annual Meeting at a reception, during which they also met relevant ASA staff members, Patricia White (NSF Program Director), as well as Principal Investigators from each institution. The Postdoctoral Fellows are as follows:

Abby Larson


Abby Larson

Postdoctoral Placement: University of California-Berkeley

Abby Larson entered the doctoral program in sociology at New York University in 2006 and concluded her studies in 2010. Larson’s dissertation project is an analysis of the financial crisis, drawing on interviews and observations in the investment-banking sector in fall 2008, during the height of market uncertainty. Engaging traditions such as the sociology of culture, the sociology of organizations, and economic sociology, the dissertation offers a distinctly sociological perspective on this recent episode of crisis, and on the organization of the financial field more broadly. While the data speak to the daily experience of uncertainty and its impacts on individuals, organizations, and community, they also point to dynamics influencing the origins and development of instability over time. In addition to her ongoing work on the financial field, during her years as a doctoral student Larson worked in the Education Research Program at the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) where she helped to organize the Research Alliance for New York City Schools, an enterprise designed to facilitate rigorous social science research on New York City schools, that is currently housed at NYU. Larson graduated with honors from Stanford University with a BA in International Relations (‘00) and a master’s in Sociology (‘01).

Joshua Pacewicz


Joshua Pacewicz

Postdoctoral Placement: Stanford University

Josh was born in Warsaw, Poland ,where he lived for seven years before immigrating to the United States. He received his BA from the University of Texas-Austin after completing additional coursework at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in France. Since then, he has been pursuing his PhD at the University of Chicago, where he also worked as Associate Editor of the American Journal of Sociology. For his dissertation research, Josh conducted a three-year study of two cities in Iowa leading up to the 2008 Election Cycle, which included ethnographic, archival, and network-theoretic components. This study examined the changing integration between local economic and civic dynamics and partisan political institutions (i.e. the two parties,and their presidential campaigns). The study shows how this local-national mismatch is responsible for many of the seemingly contradictory trends in contemporary politics: from opportunities for new kinds of campaigns employing a coalition-building discourse – particularly Obama’s – to extremism among those excluded from new local realities. This fieldwork has also led Josh to develop a general interest in the recursive relationship between institutions at different levels of aggregation, especially economic institutions. In fall of 2010, he will proudly join the Sociology Department at Stanford University and shortly begin a new project that furthers this theoretical agenda.

Jeremy Schulz


Jeremy Schulz

Postdoctoral Placement: Cornell University

Jeremy Schulz recently completed his PhD at the University of California-Berkeley. His dissertation examines the influence of societal environments and cultural contexts on the ways in which French, Norwegian, and American elite professionals experience and organize their work and private lives. Based primarily on semi-structured interviews carried out in the three countries, the dissertation identifies and analyzes cross-national divergences and convergences between the three groups’ work lives and private lives. This comparison delves into approaches to work, leisure, and family life, career and family aspirations and trajectories, experiences of work-family conflict, and strategies for meshing their work lives with their private lives. One of the papers based on his dissertation research, "Zoning the Evening: Constructing the Evening Work-Life Boundary Among French, Norwegian, and American Business Professionals," received the 2010 Shils-Coleman Award from the ASA Theory section. The research informing his dissertation received support from the Labor and Employment Research Fund of the University of California, the American-Scandinavian Foundation, as well as the Foreign Language and Area Studies Program. Besides this dissertation, Jeremy has conducted research and published in several other areas, including consumerism, general sociological theory, and the sociology of ideology.

Jennifer Silva


Jennifer Silva

Postdoctoral Placement: Harvard University

Jennifer was born and raised in Concord, MA. She received her BA in sociology and French from Wellesley College in 2004 and her PhD in sociology from the University of Virginia in 2010. For her master’s thesis, Jennifer conducted interviews with men and women in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), questioning how women negotiate gender identities within the "masculine" military institution and the types of transformations in their gender ideology and practices this negotiation entails. This study, titled "‘A New Generation of Women’? How Female ROTC Cadets Negotiate the Tension between Masculine Military Culture and Traditional Femininity," was published in Social Forces. Her dissertation, "The Hidden Injuries of Risk: Coming of Age in the Midst of Economic Crisis," draws upon 100 in-depth interviews with African American and white youth to examine how working-class youth navigate the transition to adulthood in an unstable and risky service economy. Jennifer’s dissertation was funded by the Woodrow Wilson Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship in Women’s Studies and the UVA Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Dissertation Year Fellowship. At Harvard, Jennifer will pursue her interests in cultural sociology and social inequality. The ASA Postdoctoral Fellowship will allow her to continue to research and write about the economic, social, and cultural effects of the economic crisis as well as develop meaningful and practical policy solutions.

Sarah Thébaud


Sarah Thébaud

Postdoctoral Placement: Princeton University

Sarah recently completed her PhD in sociology from Cornell University. Her research aims to identify the social processes that contribute to gender inequality in economic development, work, and families. Often focusing on cross-cultural comparisons, it integrates theory and methods from the areas of gender, economic sociology, social psychology, organizations, work and labor markets, and social policy. Her dissertation investigates why men are approximately two times more likely than women to be entrepreneurs in most industrialized nations after accounting for gender differences in relevant resources. Analyses of survey data from 24 countries and laboratory studies conducted in the United States and the United Kingdom provide support for the theory that shared cultural beliefs about gender and social policies at the macro-level contribute to this inequality by structuring the micro-level context in which individuals a) perceive business ownership as a viable labor market option and b) gain legitimacy and support for their business idea. Specifically, she focuses on the role of gender status beliefs, which prescribe different expectations of competence for women and men in the area of entrepreneurship and social policies that are designed to facilitate women’s employment. Her research has been published in Gender & Society and Social Psychology Quarterly and was supported by a National Science Foundation Dissertation Improvement Grant and a Kauffman Foundation Dissertation Fellowship. Originally from Southern California, Sarah earned her undergraduate degree in economics and sociology from California Lutheran University.

Stephen Viscelli


Stephen Viscelli

Postdoctoral Placement: University of Wisconsin-Madison

Stephen received a BA in philosophy from Colgate University in 1996 and MA in anthropology from Syracuse University in 2002. He is a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology at Indiana University-Bloomington. His dissertation, titled "Buying It: Culture, Class, and the Making of Owner-Operators in Long-haul Trucking," examines how trucking’s labor process, employment relations, and labor markets intersect with class and culture to explain patterns of truck ownership among truckers today. Using six months of fieldwork as a long-haul trucker, more than 120 interviews with truckers, and survey data, "Buying It" demonstrates that the structure of the industry helps firms convince workers to buy trucks and undertake additional tax burdens, work, and risks. Over the next two years, Steve’s research will explore the economic consequences of the financial crisis for owner-operators. His research will also investigate if the financial crisis has affected how existing, former and would-be owner-operators view class and employment relations within the industry. When he is not at his computer or in a truck stop, Steve enjoys spending time with his wife and two children, restoring old buildings, and all kinds of outdoor activities. He is currently on a mission to grow tomatoes that taste like those of his youth. asalogo

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