Gender Workshop

The Department of Sociology offers a vibrant array of research workshops which allow students opportunities to present their ongoing research to faculty and other students. While each workshop has its own format, all welcome students at all stages of the program. Workshops provide students regular feedback from faculty and opportunities to connect with students working on related research. Students frequently have the opportunity to interact with faculty from other universities. Like the University of Michigan generally, most of the workshops are interdisciplinary, with students from history, economic, political science, Women’s Studies, Public Health, and other units joining in the discussion.

Culture, History, & Politics Workshop

This workshop provides graduate students with an opportunity to share ongoing research with faculty and students working on issues related to culture, history, and politics. The main aim of the workshop is to assist students working in these areas through the close reading and discussion of papers written for publication in peer-reviewed journals, as well as grant, fellowship, and dissertation proposals. Faculty from the university and elsewhere will also be invited to share their current research on pertinent issues.

The Fall 2014 workshop, directed by Fatma Müge Göçek and assisted by Kelly Russell, will adhere to the following format: The presenter will circulate his/her paper a week ahead of time; this will be followed by a meeting on select Thursday afternoons from 1:30-3:00PM in the Sociology Library Room.  During the meeting, the presenter will first provide a 5-minute summary of the main points of the paper; a team of faculty and graduate student discussants will then offer a 10-minute discussion of the paper designed to raise questions. The presenter will respond, followed by an hour-long discussion of the paper among all participants.   

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Demography Workshop

The Demography Workshop (Soc 830) is a bi-weekly meeting of graduate students, post-docs, and faculty. The main objective is to give students an opportunity to get feedback on research at all stages of development. We will also work on presentation skills, discussing strategies for optimizing time in short talks (e.g., 15-20 minutes) and long talks (45-60 minutes), effectively handling question and answer periods, and presenting to diverse audiences. Throughout the year, we will occasionally have substantive workshops on topics of demographic interest that are not typically covered in courses, including the use (and misuse) of biomarkers; gene-environment interactions; methods for linking individual-level estimates with population dynamics; and cutting-edge methods of data collection (e.g., sensors and other tracking devices). If there is interest among participants, we will also hold sessions on post-docs (different kinds, how to apply) or other topics of professional interest. We will hold one session on research ethics and the IRB.  

To maintain continuity and trust among participants, workshop members are asked to commit to regular attendance.  You will also be expected to come to the workshop having read the materials assigned (if any) and ready to offer feedback.  Papers may include research manuscripts, dissertation chapters, dissertation proposals, and/or grant and fellowship proposals. Students just beginning a new project are also encouraged to present their work by preparing a short proposal (about 3 pages) outlining their research question, background and motivation, proposed study design, and innovation. Authors should provide at least a 15-20 minute summary of the project, although this may be significantly shortened for new projects. Students may volunteer to serve as discussants when a presentation topic particularly interests them or if they are familiar with the research area. Discussions should provide more detailed comments and deliver a short five minutes summary and constructive critique of the paper.

Faculty participating in the Demography Workshop include:

Barbara Anderson (Fall 13 and Winter 14 faculty organizer)

Graduate Students participating in the Demography Workshop include:

Elizabeth Ela, Corina Antohi Graif, Akilah Wise, Jay Borchert, Siwei Cheng, Ellen Compernolle, Margaret Gough, Yoonsun Han, Constance Hsiung, Elyse Jennings, Katherine Lin, Erin Linnenbringer, Emily Merchant, David Micky-Pabello, Zheng Mu, Christopher Near, Everett Peachey, Sarah Seelye, Sarah Taylor, Desmond Toohey, Geoffrey Wodtke


In 2013-14, the Demography Workshop will be offered in both the Fall and Winter semesters.

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Economic Sociology Workshop

The economic sociology workshop serves as a forum for students and faculty in the areas of economic sociology and the sociology of organizations, both broadly defined.  We seek to explore the social organization of economic activity, at macro, meso, and micro levels of analysis, and engage in a wide variety of theoretical perspectives.  We are methodologically eclectic, representing network approaches, historical analysis, qualitative interviews, and ethnographic work.  Examples of our ongoing projects include a historical study of the emergence of the “economy” as an object of social knowledge, an examination of how internal networks affect the productivity of nanotech firms in different environments, a mixed-methods study of social work organizations that provide care for both substance abuse and intimate partner violence, an ethnography of a retiree volunteer organization, and a comparison of pricing practices in different consumer financial markets. The workshop also has strong ties to the Management & Organizations and Strategy departments in the Business School, and many graduate students from these departments participate actively in the workshop.

Presenters circulate a completed manuscript in the week prior to their talks. Student participants are expected to provide the speaker with an anonymous review of the manuscript (written in the form of a review for a scholarly journal) for each session. Presentations are interactive, with intensive questioning encouraged, as a means of preparing students for external talks, including job talks. We expect to meet approximately every other week during the term. Attendance at each session is mandatory.


Faculty participating in the Economic Sociology workshop include:  

Elizabeth A. Armstrong, Wayne Baker, Gerald Davis, Victoria Johnson, Greta Krippner (13-14 faculty organizer), Mark Mizruchi, Jason Owen-Smith, Jeffery Paige, Margaret Somers, Kiyoteru Tsutsui

Graduate Students participating in the Economic Sociology workshop include: 

Elizabeth Armstrong, Jon Atwell, Erica Blom, Patricia Chen, Russell Funk, Dan Hirschman, Mikell Hyman, Kathy Lin, Todd Schifeling, Lotus Seeley


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Gender Workshop

The gender and sexuality workshop provides a setting for students and faculty interested in any aspect of gender or sexuality to come together to share their ongoing research and receive feedback from others.   Participants’ interests in gender and sexuality are broad and wide-ranging.  As a group we investigate issues of gender and sexuality across many levels of social life and as they intersect with other social identities and sociological phenomena. Methodologically, many participants use ethnography and in-depth interviewing, but we welcome and encourage methodological diversity within our group.   Projects recently presented in the workshop have been on the professionalization of the secretarial role, low income women’s experiences of infertility, the medicalization of doulas and lactation consultants,  the role of public health workers in enforcing HIV disclosure law,  Catholic women’s experiences of infertility, the sexual socialization of preschoolers, and  sexual pleasure in college women’s hookups.

On a bi-weekly basis the workshop aims to assist students with many aspects of doing research including, writing and revising papers for publication in peer-reviewed journals, developing dissertation proposals, and preparing job talks. The format for each session varies depending on the stage of student development and type of project.  

Faculty participating in the Gender Workshop include:

Elizabeth A. Armstrong (faculty co-organizer), Karin Martin (faculty co-organizer)

Graduate Students participating in the Gender Workshop include:

Elizabeth Armstrong, Denise Bailey, John Bailey, Jamie Budnick, Danielle Czarnecki, Ann Bell, Sarah Gram, Ruti Levtov, Jennifer Torres, Trevor Hoppe, Rachel Pierotti, Lotus Seely, Jamie Small.


In 2013-14, the Gender Workshop will be offered in both the Fall and Winter semesters.

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Inequality Working Group

This workshop provides graduate students with opportunities to share their research at any stage with students and faculty working on a variety of issues related to inequality and social stratification. The primary goal of the Inequality and Family Working Group (IFWG) is to assist graduate students with writing papers for publication in peer-reviewed journals as well as writing successful grant and fellowship proposals. The IFWG also aims to help students develop the professional skills needed for a successful career after graduate school.

The typical format for each session will consist of a student presenter circulating a draft of their paper in advance of the meeting and group participants will then read the paper and prepare comments. For the first part of the meeting, the author will give a 15-20 minute presentation outlining the key points of the paper, and the remaining time will be used for group discussion. In addition to student presentations, several meetings per semester may be used for discussion of professionalization topics, critical review of published research, faculty research presentations, and guest speakers.

The IFWG is open to all interested graduate students and provides those at any stage of their training with opportunities to participate. In order to create a vibrant, comfortable, and close-knit intellectual community, attendance and participation at all meetings is mandatory.

Faculty participating in the Inequality Working Group include:

Sarah Burgard (faculty organizer), Jennifer Barber (faculty organizer) Jeff Morenoff, Silvia Pedraza, Fabian Pfeffer, Colter Mitchell, and Elizabeth Bruch

Graduate Students participating in the Inequality Working Group include:

Siwei Cheng (student organizer), Nell Compernolle, Qing Lai, Alix Gould-Werth, Heidi Gansen, Christopher Near, Janette Norrington, Liz Ela, Kathy Lin, Jane Rochmes, Florian Hertel, Geoff Wodtke, Anne Clark, Tia Clinton, Xiang Zhou


In 2013-14, the Inequality and Family Workshop will be offered in both the Fall and Winter semesters

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Qualitative Methods Workshop

This workshop provides a forum for exchange and discussion of various aspects of qualitative research (including, but not restricted to, formal ethnography, ethnographic interviewing, oral history, and document analysis).  Each meeting of the workshop will address a central theme or issue concerning qualitative inquiry (examples include reviewing field questionnaires, processes and implications of exiting the field, positioning theory/oneself/data in constructing arguments with qualitative analyses, managing confidentiality and addressing unanticipated findings and outlier cases, and assessing different styles and patterns of qualitative publications and the politics of publishing qualitative research).  Aside from the standard agenda, some meetings will involve discussion of student or faculty work-in-progress and some will involve visits by guests who will address some aspect of their experiences in conducting sociological research through qualitative methods.  The workshop meets every term.

Although it is designed to assist graduate students who are already engaged in qualitative research all students are welcomed to attend and participate.

Faculty participating in the Workshop in Qualitative Methods include:

Renee Anspach (co-facilitator) and Alford Young, Jr. (co-facilitator)

Graduate Students participating in the Qualitative Methods Workshop include:

Patricia Chen, Saida Grundy, Charity Hoffman, Johanna Masse, Anh Nguyen, Julie Posselt, Jessi Streib (student organizer), Kennedy Turner, Maria Wathen, and Jessica Wiederspan

In 2012-2013 this workshop is only offered in the Fall semester.

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Quantitative Sociology Workshop

This workshop provides students a regular forum for discussion on various topics in quantitative sociology.   Students are expected to present their research in progress and receive feedback.  Occasionally, discussions are concerned with professional development in quantitative sociology.  The workshop meets every term.  Most students are enrolled in the workshop on a continuous basis.

The main objective of the workshop is to help students develop their publishable papers.  Thus, students may present their research in the workshop multiple times in different stages, and over 2 or 3 semesters.   All students are welcome to attend the workshop.  Students who attend the workshop are also encouraged to attend the Quantitative Methodology Seminar on selected Wednesdays (4-5:30).

Faculty participating in the Quantitative Sociology Workshop include:

Yu Xie (faculty organizer), Hongwei Xu

Graduate Students participating in the Quantitative Sociology Workshop include:

Siwei Cheng, Margaret Gough, Yoonsun Han, Qing Lai (student organizer), Bridget Lavelle, Kathy Lin, Airan Liu, Yuanyuan Liu, Zheng Mu, Chris Near, Sarah Seelye, Xiang Zhou

Visiting Scholars participating in the Quantitative Sociology Workshop include:

Li Jiang, Dan Ma, Zequan Pan, Ping Yang, Hao Zhou


In 2012-2013, this workshop meets only in the Fall semester.

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Social Movements Workshop

The social movements workshop provides graduate students with an opportunity to share ongoing research with faculty and students working specifically in the areas of social movements, collective action, and political mobilization. The primary aim of the workshop is to assist students with writing papers for publication in peer-reviewed journals, as well as writing grant, fellowship, and dissertation proposals. Through discussion and written feedback, the workshop seeks to introduce students to contemporary theory and research on political protest, as well as prominent works in the “canon” that may be relevant to their work.  It is a methodologically diverse group, and draws participants not only from Sociology, but also Women’s Studies, Political Science, and Social Work, among others.

While the format varies across sessions, in most cases, the “speaker” for the week circulates a draft in advance of the workshop, and participants are expected to read and prepare comments for discussion.


Faculty participating in the Social Movements workshop include:  

Elizabeth A. Armstrong, Robert Jansen, Sandy Levitsky (co-organizer and Fall 14 coordinator), Kiyo Tsutsui (co-organizer), Rachel Best (Winter 2015 coordinator) and Christian Davenport (Political Science)

Graduate Students participating in the Social Movements workshop include:  

Erica Morrell (student organizer), Claire Whitlinger, Jessica Garrick, Nick Epitia Lagina Gause (Political Science), Kendra Opatovsky, Angela Perone, among others.   


In 2013-14, the Social Movements Workshop will be offered in both the Fall and Winter semesters.

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Social Theory Workshop

The purpose of the Social Theory Workshop is to bring together philosophers interested in the social sciences with theorists from fields like sociology, anthropology, political science, and history. The guiding idea behind the workshop is that the richest periods in sociological history (as at the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research and the Heidelberg Institute for State and Social Sciences before 1933) involved intense interaction between philosophy and the social sciences. The primary aim of the workshop is to discuss papers and research proposals that directly engage with issues of social theory and which contribute to current interdisciplinary discussions in the social sciences and humanities.

The regular participants in the Michigan workshop in social theory since its beginning in 2010 include philosophers Elizabeth Anderson and Dan Little, political philosophers Lisa Disch and Lawrence Scaff, historian Howard Brick and sociologists Fatma Muge Göcek, Robert Jansen, Margaret Somers, George Steinmetz (2013-2014 faculty organizer), as well as Michigan sociology graduate students Avi Astor, Jay Borchert, Jose Bortoluci, Mariana Craciun, Matt Desan, Ryan Gittins, Sarah Gram, Asli Gur, Claire Herbert, Camilo Leslie, Atef Said, Matt Sullivan and Michelangelo Trujillo. As examples of the works discussed in the workshop, two of the presentations in 2010, by Lawrence Scaff (Wayne State University) and Jean-Louis Fabiani (EHESS and Central European University), consisted of chapters from books that appeared last year: Fabiani's Qu’est-ce qu’un philosophe français: la vie sociale des concepts (1880-1980) (What is a French Philosopher: The Social Life of Concepts (1880-1980)), and Scaff's Max Weber in America. Andreas Glaeser (University of Chicago) presented a paper on a hermeneutic approach to the problem of agency, and anthropologist Ghassan Hage (University of Melbourne) presented a paper on Pierre Bourdieu. Camilo Leslie presented his research project on the roots of trust in cases of financial fraud, and Matt Desan presented a Marxist critique of Bourdieu’s concept of capital.


In 2013-14, the Social Theory Workshop will be offered in both the Fall and Winter semesters.

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