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floral-walk-red-butteSociology Classes Provide Insight into Our Times

"I love studying sociology because when you understand social phenomenon well and more deeply, it can help you stay more calm," says Chair of Sociology, Ming Wen.  Sociology provides unique perspectives on the sorts of challenges and crises facing individuals and whole societies today. 

Social Epidemiology

Sociology can provide tools to study pandemics like the COVID-19 global pandemic.  The recent situation has highlighted the importance of experts in epidemiology whose efforts track daily the impacts of the disease in multiple regions.  In addition, Social Epidemiologists study health disparities and official responses to epidemics and pandemics, providing insight to communities on how interact with or guide institutions toward the most effective practices.  While we can't see the future, the present has taught us the importance of these areas of expertise and Sociology is on the forefront of preparing students for careers that enable them to provide the public with critical knowledge and skills.

Social Psychology

As people in the United States and across the globe are in the midst of finding ways to adapt their lives to the prevailing conditions, social psychologists will be needed to study how various groups respond and influence one another.  SOC 3020, offered this fall 2020, will provide students with conceptual frameworks and tools that form foundations for graduate studies in understanding the social psychological impacts and responses among different groups.


street banner with Rebecca Utz's face and Rebecca Utz standing beneathSociologist Rebecca Utz, Ph.D featured by  University of Utah Imagine U Campaign

Sociologist Rebecca Utz inspires students to imagine creative approaches to some of life's greatest challenges.  Her work in the Honors College, Health Society and Policy, and Sociology has provided her with exciting opportunities to consider the ways in which health and deeper social understanding coincide.  Her recent research into how persons providing care to family members with Alzheimer's disease and terminal illness can renew their strength, maintain their resilience, and value their own goals alongside their actions to meet another's needs.

Professor Utz proves an invaluable resource to the students she mentors as they navigate questions spanning the fields of health and social interest.

UNIVERSITY OF UTAH SOCIOLOGISTS win two awards from asa 

Professor Brett Clark
Graduate Students: Daniel Auerbach and Karen Zhang
the ASA 
Marxist Sociology Section's
Outstanding Marxist Article Award for 2020

Congratulations to Brett Clark, Ph.D., Daniel Auerbach  & Karen Zhang for receiving the American Sociological Association's (ASA) Marxist Sociology Section's Outstanding Marxist Sociology Article Award for 2020!

The Award was presented for the article, "The Du Bois nexus: intersectionality, political economy, and environmental injustice in the Peruvian Guano trade in the 1800s", published in 2018 in the journal Environmental Sociology.

Here is the abstract:

E. B. Du Bois's work serves as a fruitful avenue to synthesize intersectionality, political economy, and environmental analysis. We propose that the Du Bois nexus provides the basis to examine distinct historical relationships and conditions that shape race, class, gender, and national relations associated with environmental injustice. Through a brief historical case study, we examine the racialized and gendered international division of labor associated with the Peruvian guano trade in the mid-nineteenth century, highlighting the associated environmental injustice and inequalities experienced by Chinese 'coolies.' We conclude by highlighting how Du Bois's scholarship is useful as a bridge between environmental sociology, intersectionality, and race and ethnic studies.

Photos of Brett Clark, Daniel Auerbach, and Karen Zhang


Marcel Paret Wins ASA Section, 
Sociology of Development's
Faculty Article Award 2020

Congratulations to Marcel Paret, Ph.D. for receiving the American Sociological Association's (ASA) Sociology of Development's
Faculty Article Award for 2020!

The Award was presented for the article, "Critical Nostalgias in Democratic South Africa", published in 2018 in The Sociological Quarterly.

Here is the abstract:

Evidence suggests that some black residents in South Africa experience nostalgia for the racist and authoritarian apartheid regime. What dynamics generate apartheid nostalgia, and what work does it do? This article draws on in-depth interviews with black residents of impoverished urban townships and informal settlements. I argue that by eliminating formal racial discrimination and redirecting popular aspirations towards the state, South Africa’s democratic transition encouraged apartheid nostalgia, which residents deployed to criticize the post-apartheid state and imagine alternative possibilities. Far
from uniform, nostalgic expressions focused on four objects: social protection, migrant exclusion, bureaucratic integrity, and white governance. Each object represented an aspect of the apartheid state that residents sought to resurrect. The analysis calls for a shift from a politics of regret, focused on shame for past atrocities, to a politics of nostalgia, which understands idealized projections of past objects as a terrain of struggle.

portrait of Marcel Paret


Jonathan Westoverportrait of Jonathan Westover Leverages  Sociological Expertise in the World of Organizational Development


Jonathan Westover, a graduate of the University of Utah Sociology Ph.D. program 2011, now provides sociological insight to leaders of institutions across the globe. 

He is Associate Professor of Organizational Leadership and department chair in the Woodbury School of Business at  Utah Valley University and Academic Director of the UVU Center for Social Impact and the UVU SIMLab, and Faculty Fellow for Ethics in Public Life (previously the Associate Director) in the Center for the Study of Ethics. He is also an experienced Organizational Development/Human Resources/Leadership consultant (Human Capital Innovations, LLC), with experience transforming organizations across the globe.

He has been published widely in academic journals, books, magazines, and in popular media locally, nationally, and abroad (such as Forbes, The Economist, U.S. News and World Report, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and USA Today). He is a Forbes Councils Member contributing socially astute leadership advice to top executive readers.  Some of his recent articles include, "The Necessity of Consciously Inclusive Leadership," "How Much are Toxic Leaders Costing Your Business?" and "Maximizing Employee Engagement By Leveraging An Organizational Social Impact Strategy." He has also been extensively quoted and cited as a management expert in other popular press outlets nationally and abroad. 

He has been sought after as an organizational consultant and dedicates himself to continual in-depth research and lecturing at institutions in the  Europe and Asia. He is a CIPD Academic Fellow, a HEA Senior Fellow, and a Visiting Academic at Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford.  He was recently a Fulbright Scholar (Minsk, Belarus; Jakarta, Indonesia), a POSCO Fellow at the East-West Center (Honolulu, Hawaii; Washington D.C.), a Learning Innovation Research Fellow at the Institute of Teaching and Learning Innovation (University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia), an Educational Development Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Teaching and Learning (University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada), a Visiting Scholar at the Wilson Center (Washington, D.C.), and is a regular visiting faculty member in other international graduate business programs (U.S., U.K., France, Switzerland, Belarus, Poland, and China). He was previously on the board of directors of the HR Certification Institute and is currently on the CEO Advisory Council.


'Sociology and U' Performance Event Breathes Life into the Sociological Imagination


The Sociology Department hosted a live performance event, 'Sociology & U Benefit:Performance Art on Race, Class, and Gender' September 10, 2019 to benefit community scholarships for students of sociology.  Past recipients of the scholarship moved audiences with descriptions of their lives before and after the scholarship and the profound meaning of the scholarship for their economic ability to continue their studies and the bright futures they look forward to as a result of their participation in the university community.

University of Utah Sociology studies a broad range of experiences of people from diverse backgrounds.  While quantitative sociology illustrates the prevalence of an experience and numbers of people affected, artistic performance, like qualitative sociology, is able to convey experiences one person at a time.  Spoken word, dance, and gestural movement brought to life the experience of struggles for identity, autonomy, of the artists making tangible and accessible not only how we live now, but how it feels. 

The performance featured: Opening Speakers: Acting Dean of College of Social & Behavioral Science, Prof. Cathleen Zick, Chair of the Department of Sociology, Prof. Ming Wen, Prof. Theresa Martinez who directed the performance, and scholarship recipients, Thaiss del Rio Sanchez and Andrea Jimenez.  Peformers included: Madazon Can-Can, Saia Langi, Trinh Mai, Luis Novoa, Alexia Trujillo, Salanieta Malohifoou, Daniel Hill, and Amerique Phillips.

person in pink lion costume with arms in the air and eyes closedBlack Woman with long braids in dashiki in spotlight on darkened stage

                   Madazon Can-Can                                                                           Amerique Phillips

person with long eyelashes in long black dress with blue hairProfessor Theresa Martinez with two Latinx student scholarship recipients

                            Daniel Hill                              Theresa Martinez, Thaiss Del Rio Sanchez & Andrea Jimenez Flores




Last Updated: 6/3/21