Department of Sociology

Abigail Weitzman


Ph.D., New York University

Assistant Professor
Abigail Weitzman

Contact

Biography


Dr. Weitzman is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and a research affiliate of the Population Research Center and the Long Institute for Latin American Studies at the University of Texas. She received her PhD in Sociology from New York University in 2015, before completing a 2-year postdoctoral felllowship at the University of Michigan. Prior to completing her PhD she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Peru and Belize and worked as an intern at the United Nations Development Fund for Women.

Her research examines two interrelated questions binding social psychology and demography: how do expectations and desires influence the timing and nature of important events in people’s lives, cumulatively shaping demographic patterns and population health? And, reciprocally, how do shifting demographic circumstances influence desires, expectations, and behaviors in ways that determine individuals' health outcomes and trajectories?

With the intersection of social psychology and demography as its central focus, her research examines (1) how women's and men's relative share of household resources influenes intimate partner violence in India, where gender expectations remain strongly pronounced, and Peru, where gender norms are rapidly changing; (2) how the sex of firstborn children--and all the gendered expectations that parents have of children and themselves--affect parental behaviors including intimate partner violence, infidelity, and contraceptive use; (3) from where young women's desires for sex and pregnancy arise in the U.S., and how these desires change during the transition to adulthood; (4) how exposure to natural disasters, local homicides, and familial mortalities shape relationship quality, fertility desires, and fertility-related behaviors; (5) how and why education reform in Peru has reduced violence against women and improved maternal health; and (6) how the Zika epidemic has and has not changed women's fertility desires and ability to manifest those desires in Brazil.

Different components of her research have generously been funded by the National Science Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, National Institute for Child Health and Human Development, NYU Mainzer and MacCracken Fellowships, and seed funds from the University of Texas's Population Research Center and Population Health Initiative. 

Courses


SOC 317M • Intro To Social Research

44730 • Fall 2018
Meets MW 9:00AM-10:00AM RLP 0.118

Description

This course is designed with two goals in mind: 1) for students to garner an understanding of what social research is and the purpose it serves and 2) for students to develop their social science research skills. The former is achieved by reviewing studies that employ a range of social scientific methodologies including ethnography, in-depth interviewing, survey research and quantitative data analysis, causal experiments, and content analysis. The latter is achieved by completing assignments that apply these different methods to an actual research project.

Grades

Lecture and recitation participation (20% of final grade)

Take-home assignments: problem sets (25% of final grade)

Take-home assignments: memos (30% of final grade)

Final Paper (25% of final grade)

Attendance and Participation

Active participation in class and in recitation is required. Attendance will randomly be taken at the beginning of lecture throughout the semester.

 Take-Home Assignments

Throughout the semester students will be assigned a combination of problem sets and memos to complete before coming to class. Students will typically be given one week to complete these assignments.

 Final Paper

The final paper is a mock research proposal, as if students were applying to a foundation in search of research funding. In it, students will discuss the “preliminary” study they conducted during the semester and discuss plans to further this line of inquiry. The proposal should provide 1) a clear research question, 2) a justification of this question in terms of its social and intellectual importance, 3) explanations of the data students collected, their analytic method, and their preliminary findings, and 4) how their research could be extended and/or improved with the help of additional funding (for instance, collecting more data; using a different type of method; replicating the study using new data; etc.).

Text

Johnson, Steven. 2006. The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic--and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World. London: Penguin Books.

SOC 317M • Intro To Social Research

45355 • Fall 2017
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:00PM CLA 0.118

Description

This course is designed with two goals in mind: 1) for students to garner an understanding of what social research is and the purpose it serves and 2) for students to develop their social science research skills. The former is achieved by reviewing studies that employ a range of social scientific methodologies including ethnography, in-depth interviewing, survey research and quantitative data analysis, causal experiments, and content analysis. The latter is achieved by completing assignments that apply these different methods to an actual research project.

Grades

Lecture and recitation participation (20% of final grade)

Take-home assignments: problem sets (25% of final grade)

Take-home assignments: memos (30% of final grade)

Final Paper (25% of final grade)

Attendance and Participation

Active participation in class and in recitation is required. Attendance will randomly be taken at the beginning of lecture throughout the semester.

 Take-Home Assignments

Throughout the semester students will be assigned a combination of problem sets and memos to complete before coming to class. Students will typically be given one week to complete these assignments.

 Final Paper

The final paper is a mock research proposal, as if students were applying to a foundation in search of research funding. In it, students will discuss the “preliminary” study they conducted during the semester and discuss plans to further this line of inquiry. The proposal should provide 1) a clear research question, 2) a justification of this question in terms of its social and intellectual importance, 3) explanations of the data students collected, their analytic method, and their preliminary findings, and 4) how their research could be extended and/or improved with the help of additional funding (for instance, collecting more data; using a different type of method; replicating the study using new data; etc.).

Text

Johnson, Steven. 2006. The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic--and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World. London: Penguin Books.

Curriculum Vitae


Profile Pages


External Links



  • Department of Sociology

    The University of Texas at Austin
    305 E 23rd St, A1700
    RLP 3.306
    Austin, TX 78712-1086
    512-232-6300