Department of Sociology

Vivian Shaw

M.A., University of Texas at Austin

Doctoral Candidate; Urban Ethnography Lab Graduate Fellow; Assistant Instructor; Visiting Scholar at Sophia University
Vivian Shaw



Asian & Asian American Studies; Culutral Studies; Ethnography and Qualitative Methods; Gender; Race & Ethnicity; Science and Technology; Japan


Vivian Shaw is a graduate student in the Sociology Department at the University of Texas at Austin and a Visiting Scholar at Sophia University (Tokyo). Her research interests are in the areas of race & ethnicity and gender, focusing especially on these issues in science/technology, culture, and human rights. Her dissertation, "Post-disaster Citizenship: The Politics of Race, Belonging, and Activism after Fukushima" involves an ethnographic study of anti-nuclear and anti-racism social movement networks in Tokyo and Osaka, capturing a yet unexplored dimension of the 2011 disaster by examining how the political crisis of nuclear disaster has set the stage for emerging anti-racism politics. Vivian's dissertation research is funded by a National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant (DDRIG) and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Postdoctoral Fellowship, the latter of which is a joint award with the Social Science Research Council (SSRC). Vivian is also the 2017-2018 recipient of the KCC-JEE Graduate Fellowship. Funded by the Kobe College Corporation-Japan Education Exchange, the fellowship is awarded to one graduate student annually to support research or study in Japan

Vivian is a Graduate Fellow in the Urban Ethnography Lab, a group of faculty and graduate students involved with ethnographic and qualitative research. She is also a researcher for The Digital Edge, a Connected Learning Research Network project led by Dr. S. Craig Watkins that is funded by the MacArthur Foundation. She is also completing graduate portfolios in Women's and Gender Studies and in Asian American Studies. Vivian is a 2015 Graduate Fellow with the UT's Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice and currently serves as the Student Representative for the Section on Asia & Asian America for the American Sociological Association.

In 2006, she completed her B.A. at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University. Prior to her time at UT-Austin, Vivian spent several years working in maternal-child health policy and program administration at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.



SOC S323 • The Family

85505 • Summer 2017
Meets MTWTHF 10:00AM-11:30AM JGB 2.202
(also listed as WGS S345)


Course Description

What are the social, economic, and political forces that shape the lived experiences of families in the United States? How and why is the family a contested and controversial social institution and how has it changed over time? This course takes a critical approach towards the sociology of the family, paying specific attention to race, class, gender, sexuality, and immigration status as factors driving inequalities within and among families. Rather than taking as a given that there is a “normal” American family, we will consider how normative politics of the family often perpetuate inequalities. While exploring the complexities of the family through a diverse range of theoretical and historical texts, we will ground our analysis by reading an ethnographic case study of one community living in urban poverty.

In this class, you will apply the analytical tools gained from readings and classroom discussions to write a short research proposal. You will be assigned to peer review groups and work collaboratively with your classmates to develop your proposal over the course of the semester.
My goal is for you to: 1) demonstrate an understanding of the cultural and structural forces that shape family life and 2) apply critical and analytical tools to articulate how these concepts can be further examined through empirical research.


  • Tang, Eric. (2015). Unsettled: Cambodian Refugees in the New York City HyperghettoPhiladelphia, PA: Temple University Press.  
  • Remaining readings will be posted on Canvas

Grading and Requirements:

Midterm essay 15%

Peer review exercises (2) 20%

Group presentation 15%

Research proposal 30%

Class attendance and participation 20%

Curriculum Vitae

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External Links

  • Department of Sociology

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