Department of Sociology


Spring 2021

Mishal Khan - "The Colonial Origins of Global Labor Governance Regimes: A Critique from India." Feb 5, 3 pm.

Fall 2020

PHS Tips for Comps. Dec 2, 10 am.

Spring 2020

Mohsen M Mobasher - "Global Politics, US-Iran Tensions, and the Predicament of Iranian Immigrants." Mar 2, 1:30 pm, RLP 1.302E.

Fall 2019

Said Arjomand - "Revolution: Structure and Meaning in World History." Oct 28, 2 pm, RLP 3.214F.

Spring 2019

Charles Kurzman - "The Tragedy of Syria in Four Movements." Mar 8, 2 pm, RLP 1.302E.

Fall 2018

Joe Foweraker - "Contending Claims to Power in Democratic Regimes." Oct 4, 3:30 pm, RLP 2.606.

David Pettinicchio - "The Policy-Participation Cycle: How Disability Rights Policy Turned Clients into Citizens." Nov 14, 12 pm, RLP 1.302D.

Spring 2018

PHS Annual Distinguished Lecture: Myra Marx Ferree - "Global Universities and Gender Equality." Feb 16, 2 pm, CLA 0.102.

Julian Go - "The Origins of Police Militarization in the U.S." Apr 20, 3 pm, CLA 1.302D.

Fall 2017

Rita Stephan - "Political Sociology and Diplomacy: Applied Perspective from the U.S. State Department." Nov 3, 10 am, CLA 1.302D.

Spring 2017

PHS Gender, Ethnicity, and Property Graduate Student Workshop. Apr 21, 10:30-12:30. CLA 2.706.

Timothy Dunn - "Gideon Sjoberg and the Sociology of Human Rights: Implications for Immigration, Border Control and Resistance to Organizational Power." Mar 31, 12-1. CLA 1.302D.

Fall 2016

Ann Swidler - "A Fraught Embrace: The Romance and Reality of AIDS Altruism in Africa." Nov 4, 2-3:30. CLA 0.102. Dr Swidler will also give a workshop on theory and method for graduate students from 10:30-11:45. 

Fall 2015

Oct 21, 7 pm. CPE 2.216. Video Screening and Panel Discussion of Family Detention. The Social Movement and Collective Behavior (SMCB) working group, part of the Power, History, and Society (PHS) Network, invites you to a discussion on the Legal Advocacy Movement for Refugee Rights. Come learn about the work lawyers and volunteers are doing to fight for the rights of refugees and to end family detention centers.

Oct 29, 1 pm. CLA 3.106. Bruno Frere Workshop - "Bourdieusian Critical Sociology, French Pragmatism and Phenomenology." Professor Frère proposes that we utilize French pragmatist sociology in lieu of Bourdieusian critical sociology. Focusing on French pragmatism’s phenomenological foundation, Frère argues that this approach provides a superior comprehensive model to understand social action and its justification. He suggests that the pragmatist notion of grammar is useful to express the normative macro-elements that motivate local actions and their justifications; phenomenology helps us understand those actions and justifications as fundamental ways of relating to the world that can contradict the lived situation.

Oct 30, 1 pm. WAG 201. Bruno Frere Lecture - "The Representation of Alternatives to Capitalism: The Solidarity Economy and the Problem of Power." Professor Frère discusses the solidarity economy, a new social movement that includes activities such as community supported agriculture, fair trade, and local exchange trading. Using insights from pragmatic sociology and, particularly, the notion of grammar of justification, he asks which kind of formal political institution could speak in the name of all these initiatives and considers obstacles to the formation of an overarching political entity.

Bruno Frère is Associate Professor at the University of Liege (Belgium) and at the Institut des Sciences Politiques in Paris, and Research Associate at the Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique in Belgium. He received his PhD from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris. He has published on the political history of social movements and alternative economy in France, the new social movements, social theory in the second half of the 20th century, and critical theory. His books include Epistémologie de la Sociologie: Paradigmes pour le 21e siècle (2008), Le Nouvel Esprit Solidaire (2009), Résister au Quotidien (2013), and Le Tournant de la Théorie Critique (2015).

Spring 2015

Feb 6, 2:30 pm. CLA 0.102. Randall Collins - "Information Technology, the Disappearance of Middle-Class Work, and the Long-Term Crisis of Capitalism." A public lecture by Professor Randall Collins, Dorothy Swaine Thomas Professor of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. The lecture will be preceded by a workshop for graduate students at 11:30 am. Dr. Randall Collins' work has spanned intellectual history and networks, the study of states and democracy, geopolitics and state breakdown or expansion, ethnic identities, rituals in everyday life, group solidarity, and violence. His award-winning books include The Sociology of Philosophies: A Global Theory of Intellectual Change; Macro-History: Essays in Sociology of the Long Run; Interaction Ritual Chains; and A Micro-sociological Theory. His current work addresses patterns of violence such as contemporary high-tech war, the comparative study of organized crime, and future crises of capitalist economies. Webpage:

Fall 2014

Sep 25, 5:30 pm. CLA 1.302D. First Meeting.

Oct 24, 3:00 pm. CLA 3.214F. Panel on Changing Methods, with Drs Michael Young, Néstor Rodríguez and Sheldon Ekland-Olson. Have you wondered how changing methods changes how you approach research and writing? Are you interested in how to change methodological tracks after you've completed graduate school? Please join PHS on October 24, 3:00 pm - 4:15 pm in the Ethnography Lab as we have organized a panel of some of our very own faculty who have used differing methodologies within their careers. Michael Young, Néstor Rodríguez and Sheldon Ekland-Olson will offer their insights into how changing methods changed how they approach the research process, ranging from the way questions are asked and answered to how to frame the findings in publications.

The Iron Cage of LiberalismOct 27, 12:30 pm. CLA 1.302E. Daniel Ritter. "The Iron Cage of Liberalism." Why do some nonviolent revolutionary movements manage to oust authoritarian leaders while similar campaigns elsewhere are brutally crushed? To answer the question, this talk considers evidence from the Middle East and North Africa to argue that international relations may be the key to understanding successful politics from below. Daniel Ritter is Assistant Professor of Politics and International Relations at the University of Nottingham (UK). He received his PhD in Sociology at The University of Texas at Austin in 2010. His book, The Iron Cage of Liberalism: International Politics and Unarmed Revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa, will be published later this year by Oxford University Press.

Favell talk flyerNov 19, 12:30 pm. CLA 1.302D. Adrian Favell. "London as Eurocity: European Migration and Economic Consequences of Britain's EU Membership." Adrian Favell, professor of Sociology at Sciences Po in Paris, France, will speak on "London as Eurocity: European Migration and Economic Consequences of Britain's EU Membership." Co-sponsored by the European Union, the EU Center of Excellence, the Department of Government, and the Department Sociology Power, History and Society (PHS) Network.

Spring 2014

Apr 23, 2 pm. CLA 1.302B. The Power, History and Society network (PHS) will sponsor a lecture by Theda Skocpol, Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology, Harvard University, on Wednesday, April 23, from 2-3:30 pm in CLA 1.302B. The title of the lecture is "The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism." For further information, please contact M. Maya Charrad, PHS faculty advisor, or one of the PHS coordinators for this event, Eric Borja, Yu Chen, Dan Jaster, and Luis Romero.

Fall 2013

Sep 26, 5 pm. CLA 3.214F. Social Movements and Collective Action (SMCA) Working Group Inaugural Meeting. At the inaugural meeting of the Social Movements and Collective Action (SMCA) Working Group, Sociology graduate student Eric Borja will be discussing his experiences with the protests in Brazil this summer. Below is a link to a recent article he wrote on the subject, focused on the role of social media:

Sep 30, 6 pm. CLA 1.302D. Ori Swed. "The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict:  A Case Study in Historical Contingency." Ori Swed, PhD Candidate in the Sociology Department at UT Austin, investigates the interception between culture and conflict in global and historical perspectives. A Graduate Fellow of the Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies and an Israel Institute Doctoral Fellow, his dissertation examines the infliuence of NGOs and aid organizations on the conflict dynamics in war zones. The presentation will be followed by a reply from Sociology graduate student Amina Zarrugh, and light refreshments will be served.

Oct 22, 5 pm. CLA 1.302D. Middle East Working Group. "Discussions on Overseas Fieldwork Research: Bureaucracy, Preparations, and Research." The purpose of this workshop is to serve as an open a forum to discuss bureaucratic issues regarding our fieldwork research preparations. We plan to share information on how to make our fieldwork research productive and fruitful while also ensuring our own emotional health. Graduate students whose research areas are not within the Middle East are also welcome as our discussions will not be exclusive only to the region. Our discussions will cover required administrative preparations before trip and research experiences at the fields. If you are preparing for your fieldwork trip, have already finished your overseas research, or are interested in fieldwork research in general, please feel free to come to our workshop. For a lively discussion, we invited three graduate student panels who have either completed their fieldwork or are planning to leave for research: Eric Borja (Sociology, Brazil), Rachel Sternfeld (Government, Egypt), and Amina Zarrugh (Sociology, Libya).

October 24, 5pm. CLA 3.214F. Social Movements and Collective Action Second Meeting. At this meeting Daniel Jaster will be discussing the importance of rural social movements, where he will introduce the Farmers Holiday Association - a farmer protest movement that arose in Great Depression Iowa, quickly spreading across the Upper Midwest. He will then briefly offer his ideas of how to analyze the movement, ranging from a broad comparative analysis of the decentralized dynamics to the community basis of their most popular protest strategy - the penny auction. Daniel's talk will be an open forum where he invites all to share and discuss their ideas.

Oct 25, 5:30 pm. CLA 0.122. Middle East Working Group. "A Graduate Student Workshop with Professor Joseph Massad." This student workshop will be an informal and interdisciplinary conversation with Dr. Massad immediately following his public lecture. His public talk is entitled “The Cultural Work of Recovering Palestine” and will take place on Friday, October 25th from 3:30 to 5 pm in Parlin Hall (PAR), Room 1. Dr. Massad is Associate Professor of Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History at Columbia University. His writings and teaching concerns modern Arab politics and intellectual history. His book, Desiring Arabs (2007), winner of the Lionel Trilling Book Award, explores the politics of sexuality and the construction by nineteenth-century Arab intellectuals of Arab cultural heritage (“turath”) in interaction with discourses of colonialism as well as in the vocabulary emergent from the fields of Social Darwinism and psychoanalytic theory. Flyer.

Nov 20, 4 pm. CLA 1.302D. Talk with Dr. Diego von Vacano. "The Color of Citizenship: Race, Modernity and Latin American/Hispanic Political Thought." Department of Political Science, Texas A&M University. Power, History and Society and the Race and Ethnicity Group will be hosting Dr Diego von Vacano from Texas A&M University. The role of race in politics, citizenship, and the state is one of the most perplexing puzzles of modernity. While political thought has been slow to take up this puzzle, Diego von Vacano suggests that the tradition of Latin American and Hispanic political thought, which has long considered the place of mixed-race peoples throughout the Americas, is uniquely well-positioned to provide useful ways of thinking about the connections between race and citizenship. As he argues, debates in the United States about multiracial identity, the possibility of a post-racial world in the aftermath of Barack Obama, and demographic changes owed to the age of mass migration will inevitably have to confront the intellectual tradition related to racial admixture that comes to us from Latin America. Diego von Vacano is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at A&M and works mainly in comparative political theory (modern Latin American and European political thought) and also in immigration ethics, especially in relation to race and ethnicity. The authors he focuses on are Machiavelli, Las Casas, Nietzsche, Bolivar, and Vasconcelos.

Dec 2, 5 pm. CLA 3.214F. Jorge Derpic - "The Anemic State: Lynchings and Modalities of State Presence in Bolivia." Jorge Derpic will present on his dissertation research. He will discuss the rising use of lynchings in Bolivia, focusing on the role of judicial processes and the views of state officials and victims. Sponsored by the Social Movements and Collective Action (SMCA) working group, a sub-section of the Power, History, and Society student-faculty network.

Spring 2013

Talk with Dr. Joseph Schwartz. Dr. Schwartz, faculty in political science at Temple University, gave a public lecture on February 18, 2013. His most recent book, The Future of Democratic Equality: Reconstructing Social Solidarity in a Fragmented United States (2009), is the recipient of the American Political Science 2011 David Easton award for the bets book in political theory. Dr. Schwartz spoke on the obstacles to collective solidarity introduced by economic inequality, an important quality of experience that is somewhat neglected in recent theoretical developments such as difference theory. His former student, and first year PhD student in the program, Beth Cozzolino provided a graduate student response to his talk.

Student Paper Workshop with Matt Buehler (Middle East Working Group). The first Middle East Working Group meeting was held on February 27, 2013. The meeting was organized around the discussion of government student Matt Buehler’s dissertation chapters, specifically Chapter 2. We discussed the theoretical implications of his model, which analyzed the extent to which rural bases of political support for parties in Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia made parties vulnerable to co-optation by the state.

Graduate Student Workshop with Dr. Jocelyne Dakhlia (Middle East Working Group). Dr. Dakhlia is visiting as part of an exchange program between the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris and UT. This student workshop facilitated an informal and interdisciplinary conversation with Dr. Dakhlia following her public lecture entitled “Invisible Strangers: Muslims in Early Modern France and Britain, 1500-1800." She is a social historian whose recent work concerns Muslim immigration to Europe during the 19th century and its contemporary implications. This event was co-sponsored with the Center for European Studies.

Panel with Dr. Simone Browne and Dr. Ben Carrington (co-sponsored with the Race & Ethnicity Reading Group). This panel featured talks by Dr. Simone Browne, Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Dr. Ben Carrington, Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology. The talks by Professor Browne and Professor Carrington are entitled, respectively, “Walking While Black: Notes on Surveillance Studies” and “Summer Flames, Summer Games.” Amina Zarrugh served as the graduate student discussant and provided a response to both talks based on the respective papers, which were pre-circulated to those interested. This event was co-sponsored with the Race and Ethnicity Reading Group (of the Department of Sociology).

Fall 2012

Talk with Dr. Kenneth Brown (co-sponsored talk with the Department of middle Eastern Studies). In this co-sponsored talk with the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Dr. Kenneth Brown discussed the consequences of the several wars that have occurred over the past fifty years in Israel and to consider their implications for a changing urban population. His talk focused on the city of Haifa. Dr. Brown is the author of several books including People of Salé : The Social History of a Moroccan City (1830-1930) (1976) and Journey Through a Labyrinth : Israel/Palestine: A photographic essay, with Jean Mohr (1981).

Spring 2012

Lecture by Professor Sheldon Ekland-Olson, Department of Sociology, UT Austin. “Who lives, Who Dies, Who Decides?"   Discussant: Julie Biecken.

Interdisciplinary Workshop with Professor Jean Philippe Bras, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris.  Discussion with graduate students from the Department of Sociology, Government Department and Department of History.

Fall 2011

Lecture by Professor Catherine Boone, Government Department, UT Austin. “Post-Colonial Democracy: Challenges and Prospects.”  Discussant:  Graduate student Christine Wheatley.

Spring 2011

Panel on the Politics of Migration. Professors Nestor Rodriguez and Sharmila Rudrappa.  Graduate student Nicolette D. Manglos.

Fall 2010

Panel on Historical Sociology. Panelists: Professors Ari Adut, Mounira Maya Charrad, Alex Weinreb, Bob Woodberry, and Michael Young.  Graduate students Julie Beicken and Nicolette Manglos.

Spring 2010

Lecture by Professor Jack Goldstone, John T. Hazel Jr. Professor at the George Mason School of Public Policy and a Senior Research Scholar at the Mercatus Institute.  “Democracy and Development: A Networks Approach.”

Panel on “State Politics in Global Context:  New Avenues for Research.” Graduate students Daniel Ritter and Matthew Flynn presented their research respectively on “Between Structure and Agency: The Case for Strategy in Revolution Theory" and “The Limits of Globalization and State Empowerment: A Crucial Test Case Analyzing Brazil’s Pharmaceutical Policies in the Brave New World of AIDS and Patents.” 

Spring 2009

Panel on Gender and Power in Global Context.  Panelists: Professors Mounira Maya Charrad, Sharmila Rudrappa, and Christine Williams.  Graduate students Angela Frederick and Rita Stephan.

Fall 2008

Panel on “Remembering Charles Tilly.”  Panelists:  Professors Ari Adut, Javier Auyero, Mounira Maya Charrad, and Michael Young.  Graduate Students Aun Ali, Chris Pieper, and Daniel Ritter.

Spring 2008

Symposium on Power, History and Society: What are the Big Questions?  The one day symposium was organized in the form of panels bringing faculty and graduate students in a dialogue. 

  • Panel 1: Case Studies in Citizenship and State Power
    Professor Bryan Roberts and Sharmila Rudrappa.  Graduate students Aun Ali and Rita Stephan.
  • Panel 2: Masses and Elites in Social Change.
    Professors Sheldon Ekland-Olson and John Higley.  Graduate students Angela Frederick and Daniel Ritter
  • Panel 3: Defining the “Big Questions” in Political and Historical Sociology.
    Professors Ari Adut, Mounira Maya Charrad, and Michael Young.

Spring 2006

Lecture by Professor Anthony Orum, Departments of Sociology and Political Science, University of Illinois at Chicago, “Beyond Assimilation: Ethnic Communities and the Transformation of America”. Professor Orum discussed the growing ethnic diversity and its implications today in the US and elsewhere.  Opening up new avenues for research on politics and immigration, he considered how immigrants influence the host society rather than how they adapt to it.

  • Department of Sociology

    The University of Texas at Austin
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