Penn Arts and Sciences

2013 Summer Institute on Inequality

Monday, June 17, 2013 (All day) - Wednesday, June 26, 2013 (All day)

2014 Faculty and Students

2013 Faculty
2013 Students

2013 Faculty [Top]

Thomas J. Sugrue
David Boies Professor of History and Sociology and Director of Penn SSPF, University of Pennsylvania

A specialist in twentieth-century American politics, urban history, civil rights, and race, Sugrue was educated at Columbia; King's College, Cambridge; and Harvard, where he earned his Ph.D. in 1992. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, President of the Urban History Association, Vice President (president elect) of the Social Science History Association, and has been a fellow at the Brookings Institution and the Institute for Advanced Study.  He is author of several books, including Not Even Past: Barack Obama and the Burden of Race (Princeton University Press, 2010); Sweet Land of Liberty: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North (Random House, 2008), a Main Selection of the History Book Club and a finalist for the 2008 Los Angeles Times Book Prize; and The Origins of the Urban Crisis (Princeton, 2005), winner of the Bancroft and several other prizes. He has published more than three dozen scholarly articles in such places as the Journal of American History, the Journal of Urban History, and the American Behavioral Scientist, and his op-eds and essays have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and in many other newspapers and magazines. Sugrue is currently researching urban space, racial and socioeconomic inequality, and public policy in France and the United States; finishing a book on twentieth-century America (with Glenda Gilmore of Yale); and conducting research for a book on the history of the real estate industry in the United States.

John D. Skrentny
Professor of Sociology  and Director, Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, University of California, San Diego

John Skrentny received a Ph.D. in Sociology from Harvard University and a BA in Sociology and Philosophy from Indiana University. His research focuses on public policy, law and inequality, especially as they relate to immigration, civil rights, jobs and opportunity. Skrentny is Director of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies (CCIS) at UC-San Diego. He has written two books and edited another on the historical development of laws and policies to protect the rights and opportunities of minorities in the US. These studies have included a wide variety of groups, including African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, and white ethnics, as well as immigrants, the disabled, gays/lesbians and women of all races and ethnicities. This research has sought to bring a cultural approach to the fields of historical institutionalism and American political development. Starting with the premise that no policy is developed without the decisions of policy makers, Skrentny has focused his research on the worldviews and actions of policy-making elites, situating them in their historical, local and global contexts. Skrentny's books have included The Minority Rights Revolution, which won the Distinguished Book Award from the Political Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association and was a finalist for the Liberty Legacy Foundation Award of the Organization of American Historians; and The Ironies of Affirmative Action: Politics, Culture and Justice in America, a study of the development and politics of affirmative action in employment for African Americans.

Supported by a grant from the Guggenheim Foundation, Skrentny has finished a book to bring the civil rights story in the U.S. up to date and to take into account the current era of mass immigration. To be published by Princeton University Press in the Fall of 2013, After Civil Rights: Racial Realism in the New American Workplace examines the meaning of race in the workplace and the relevance, or lack of relevance, of civil rights law in regulating equal opportunity in employment. This study has important implications for current civil rights law, the meaning of race in America, immigration, multiculturalism and equal opportunity.

Philippe Bourgois
Richard Perry University Professor of Anthropology and Family and Community Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

Philippe Bourgois has conducted fieldwork in Central America (Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Belize) and in the urban United States (San Francisco and East Harlem in New York City). In Central America his research addresses the political mobilization of ethnicity, immigration and labor relations, political violence, popular resistance, and the social dislocation of street children. His research in the United States confronts inner-city social suffering and critiques the political economy and cultural contours of U.S. apartheid. He is also addressing gender power relations, and the intersections between structural and intimate violence. His most recent fieldwork explores inner city poverty, substance abuse, carceralization, and violence in North Philadelphia’s Puerto Rican neighborhood. Bourgois is the author of In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in El Barrio, a study of social marginalization in inner-city America centered on street-level drug dealers in East Harlem. 

Bourgois is the co-author of Righteous Dopefiend, which follows a social network of two dozen heroin injectors and crack smokers on the streets of San Francisco over the course of a decade, accompanying them as they scramble to generate income through burglary, panhandling, recycling, and day labor. He also contributed to the edited volume, Violence in War and Peace: An Anthology and to numerous journals, including the International Journal of Drug Policy, International Journal of Law and Psychiatry and City and Society.

Paula England
Professor of Sociology, New York University

Paula England received her PhD from the University of Chicago in 1975, and has held tenured faculty positions at the University of Texas-Dallas, University of Arizona, University of Pennsylvania, Northwestern University, and Stanford University. She is president-elect of the American Sociological Association. Professor England's research interests include gender, labor markets, families, sexuality, and contraception. Two of her recent U.S.-based research projects focus on the wage penalty for being a mother, and explanations for class differences in unplanned pregnancies. 

England has published two books, Comparable Worth: Theories and Evidence and, more recently, Households, Employment, Gender: A Social, Economic, and Demographic View. She is also author of over 100 articles. She is a former editor of the American Sociological Review. She has won a number of awards, including the American Sociological Association's Jessie Bernard Award for career contributions to the study of gender, and the ASA Family Section's award for distinguished contributions to research on the family.

Harry Holzer
Professor of Public Policy, Georgetown University

Harry Holzer served as Associate Dean from 2004 through 2006 and was Acting Dean in the Fall of 2006 for the Georgetown Public Policy Institute. He is also currently a Senior Research Fellow at the American Institutes for Research, a Senior Affiliate at the Urban Institute, a Senior Affiliate of the National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan, a National Fellow of the Program on Inequality and Social Policy at Harvard University, a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and a Research Affiliate of the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He is also a faculty director of the Georgetown Center on Poverty, Inequality and Public Policy. He received his BA (1978) and Ph.D. (1983) from Harvard University. Prior to Georgetown, Professor Holzer served as Chief Economist for the U.S. Department of Labor and professor of economics at Michigan State University. He has also been a Visiting Scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation in 1995, and a Faculty Research Fellow of the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Over most of his career, Professor Holzer's research has focused primarily on the low-wage labor market, and particularly the problems of minority workers in urban areas. In recent years he has worked on the quality of jobs as well as workers in the labor market, and how job quality affects the employment prospects of the disadvantaged as well as worker inequality and insecurity more broadly. He has also written extensively about the employment problems of disadvantaged men, advancement prospects for the working poor, and workforce policy more broadly. He is the co-author of Where are All the Good Jobs Going? What National and Local Job Quality and Dynamics Mean for US Workers and Against the Tide: Household Structure, Opportunities and Outcomes among White and Minority Youth.

Katherine S. Newman
James B. Knapp Dean, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, Johns Hopkins University

Katherine S. Newman is the James Knapp Dean of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins University.  She previously served as the Malcolm Forbes Class of 1941 Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs and the Director of the Institute for International and Regional Studies at Princeton University; the Dean of Social Science at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University; and the Malcolm Wiener Professor of Urban Studies in the John F. Kennedy School of Government.   Newman is the author of 12 books on topics ranging from urban poverty, with special emphasis on the working poor, to middle class economic insecurity to school violence.  Her most recent book is entitled The Accordion Family, a comparative study of the increasing length of time that young people are living with their parents in response to declining labor market opportunities and the increasing cost of both housing and education.  Her forthcoming book, After Freedom: The Rise of the Post-Apartheid Generation in Democratic South Africa, will be published in April, 2014, the twentieth anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s election in South Africa.

Sean Reardon

Professor of Education and Director, Stanford Interdisciplinary Doctoral Training Program in Quantitative Education Policy Analysis, Stanford University

Sean Reardon is Professor of Education and (by courtesy) Sociology at Stanford University, specializing in research on the effects of educational policy on educational and social inequality, on the causes, patterns, trends, and consequences of social and educational inequality, and in applied statistical methods for educational research. His primary research examines the relative contribution of family, school, and neighborhood environments to racial/ethnic and socioeconomic achievement disparities. In addition, he develops methods of measuring social and educational inequality (including the measurement of segregation and achievement gaps) and methods of causal inference in educational and social science research. He teaches graduate courses in applied statistical methods, with a particular emphasis on the application of experimental and quasi-experimental methods to the investigation of issues of educational policy and practice.

Reardon received his doctorate in education in 1997 from Harvard University. He has been a recipient of a William T. Grant Foundation Scholar Award, a Carnegie Scholar Award, and a National Academy of Education Postdoctoral Fellowship. His numerous publications include, most recently, “Income Inequality and Income Segregation” (forthcoming in the American Journal of Sociology), “Measuring the Strength of Teachers’ Unions: An Empirical Application of the Partial Independence Item Response Approach” (forthcoming in the Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics), and “The Hispanic‐White Achievement Gap in Math and Reading in the Elementary Grades” (in the American Educational Association Journal).

Marta Tienda
Maurice P. During '22 Professor in Demographic Studies and Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs, Princeton University

Marta Tienda’s research has focused on race and ethnic differences in various metrics of social inequality – ranging from poverty and welfare to education and employment – to address how ascribed attributes acquire their social and economic significance. Through various studies of immigration, population diversification and concentrated poverty, she have documented social arrangements and life course trajectories that both perpetuate and reshape socioeconomic inequality. She recently completed a decade-long study about the effectiveness of social policy in broadening access to higher education and is currently developing two research initiatives about age and immigration.  One is a comparative study of child migration in traditional and new immigrant nations; the second focuses on late-age immigration to the United States.

Tienda has contributed to numerous publications as an author and editor, recently as co-author of "Delayed Enrollment and College Plans: Is There a Postponement Penalty?" in the Journal of Higher Education (2013) and as co-editor of a special issue of the Annals of the American Academy of Political Science (Sept. 2012), “Migrant Youth and Children of Migrants in  a Globalized World.”  She is herself the subject of a biography geared to young adult readers, People Person: The Story of Sociologist Marta Tienda, which describes her childhood as the daughter of an illegal Mexican immigrant and her later work to better understand the roots of inequality.

Dorian T. Warren
Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University

Dorian T. Warren specializes in the study of inequality and American politics. He teaches and conducts research on labor organizing and politics, race and ethnic politics, urban politics and policy, American political development, community organizing and social movements, and social science methodology. Prior to coming to Columbia, Professor Warren spent two years as a visiting scholar at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago and spent 2008-2009 as a visiting scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation. 

Warren's publications include “The American Labor Movement in the Age of Obama: The Challenges and Opportunities of a Racialized Political Economy” (in Perspectives on Politics); “Re-establishing a Workers’ Rights Agenda” (in the volume, Mandate for Change); and “The Politics and Practice of Economic Justice: Community Benefits Agreements as Tactic of the New Accountable Development Movement” (in the Journal of Community Practice).

2013 Students [Top]

Wendell Adjetey
African-American Studies and History, Yale

Wendell Adjetey is enrolled in a joint Ph.D. program in the Departments of History and African American Studies at Yale. He is interested in the labor and freedom linkages among Great Lakes cities (Buffalo, Detroit, Hamilton, Rochester, Toronto, and Windsor) in the inter- and postwar periods and hopes, in his work, to integrate the shared experiences of African Canadians and African Americans in a transnational context. His research interests also include Afrodiasporic urban communities, the Great Migration and labor history, Black Loyalists, and chattel servitude in the Americas.

Wendell obtained an Honours BA in International Relations and History from the University of Toronto in 2008 and an MA in Ethnic, Immigration, and Pluralism Studies and Political Science from U of T the following year.  Prior to starting his doctorate in 2012, Adjetey spent three rewarding, yet challenging, years working as a case manager in a youth gang intervention program in north Toronto. Before this work, he founded and ran a non-profit for marginalized youth.

Zawadi Ahidiana
Sociology, UC Berkeley

Zawadi Rucks Ahidiana is a PhD student in the Sociology department at the University of California, Berkeley.  Her research interests are focused on race/ethnicity and social stratification in the United States.  Using mixed methods research, her masters paper looks at the conflation of race and class in perceptions of gentrification, and her dissertation will focus on the racial wealth gap.  Prior to coming to Berkeley, Zawadi worked as a qualitative researcher in program evaluation at MDRC and the Community College Research Center at Teachers College.  She holds a Master’s in Public Administration with a specialization in policy analysis from New York University and a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Science and Policy with a specialization in land use from the University of Maryland at College Park.

Alyse Bertenthal
Criminology, UC Irvine

Alyse Bertenthal is a second year Ph.D. student in the Department of Criminology, Law & Society at the University of California, Irvine.  She graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in Literature.  After teaching in Paris, France, Alyse returned to study law at the University of Chicago, where she edited the University of Chicago Law Review, and then worked as an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union.  These diverse educational and work experiences have motivated her research agenda, which includes the historical and sociological study of legal expertise and knowledge, and the relationship between law and social change. 

Alyse is currently studying the legal self-help movement, and is working on an article in which she examines the production of legal consciousness through discursive interaction between attorneys and litigants.

Courtney Boen
Sociology, UNC Chapel Hill

Courtney Boen is a PhD student in Sociology and a pre-doctoral trainee in the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Courtney’s research interests include social demography, medical sociology, and racial and ethnic inequality.  Integrating theory and methods from sociology, demography, economics, and biology, Courtney studies how racial discrimination functions as a dynamic process over time and across domains to restrict access to health-promoting resources, increase physiological stress response, and ultimately harm health.  For her masters thesis, she used more than twenty years of longitudinal data to examine the role of socioeconomic inequality – including disparities in wealth and patterns of economic advantage and disadvantage over time – in producing racial health inequality across the life course.

Currently, Boen is working with Dr. Anthony Perez on a study that examines racial differences in asset accumulation, as well as a paper with Dr. Yang Yang that investigates how social relationships affect health in late life. Courtney received her B.A. in sociology and community health and her M.P.H. from Tufts University.

Fiona Chin
Sociology, Northwestern

Fiona C. Chin is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at Northwestern University and a Graduate Research Assistant at the Institute for Policy Research.  Her research interests include stratification and inequality, economic sociology, and political sociology.  Her dissertation will focus on economically successful Americans and their beliefs about inequality and mobility.  She is also part of a team examining the efficacy of academic hiring, promotion, diversity, and work/life policies. Prior to graduate school, Fiona was an investment banker in New York and then worked in the Provost’s Office at Harvard University.  She received an A.B. cum laude in Economics from Harvard University and an M.A. in Sociology from Northwestern University.

Devin Fernandes
Political Science, Johns Hopkins

Devin Fernandes is a third-year Ph.D. student in the political science department at Johns Hopkins University. His research interests include the politics of race, ethnicity, and immigration, interest groups, and education policy. He previously worked as a researcher at the Urban Institute’s Education Policy Center, the United Neighborhood Organization (a Hispanic community organization and charter school operator in Chicago), and for the Brookings-Duke Immigration Policy Roundtable.

Devin's current work explores the proliferation of progressive advocacy organizations since the 1960s, especially those dealing with issues of race, education, and social inequality. In particular, it looks at the role foundations have played in this important feature of American political development and the associated impacts these efforts have had on politics and public policy. Recent projects include an examination of the misguided Annenberg Challenge of the 1990s as well as a longer-term effort to explain the origins and organizational constraints on member-less advocacy groups supported by third-party funders.

Maximilian Hell
Sociology, Stanford

Maximilian Hell is a graduate student in the Department of Sociology at Stanford University and a National Poverty Fellow at the Stanford Center for the Study of Poverty and Inequality. His research interests lie at the intersection of social stratification and economic sociology, focusing on credit and wealth inequalities. In his current work, he uses vignette experiments to assesses the discriminatory effects of credit histories in the hiring process. He also works on consumption inequalities, interrogating in particular how spending on children and education has evolved during the Great Recession. In addition to receiving his undergraduate education at Sciences Po in Paris and a M.Sc. in Sociology from the University of Oxford, he complemented his European training with a year of studies at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.  

Vittorio Merola
Political Science, Ohio State University

Vittorio Merola is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at the Ohio State University. His research focuses on Behavioral Political Economy, with an emphasis on Latin America and developing countries. In particular, Vittorio plans to study the individual-level psychological processes that shape attitudes, beliefs and behaviors around economic inequality and its related policies, within the broader contextual setting of factors such as the information environment, the underlying structure of economic inequality and economic mobility, and the actions of political parties and civil society. His specific research interests include understanding redistribution preferences in the developing world, the perceptions of economic inequality and economic mobility, the effects of economic inequality on public opinion and political participation, as well as the statistical analysis of temporal and spatial data.

Vittorio is currently working on projects analyzing how the structure of economic inequality among ethnic groups affects opinions on wealth redistribution in Latin America, and seeing how expectations of mobility and risk affect opinions on redistribution in an experimental game setting. For his dissertation, Vittorio expects to investigate the determinants of perceptions and beliefs regarding economic inequality and the deservingness of economic outcomes, focusing primarily on the context of Brazil, in the hopes of better understanding its variation within and between countries, as well as the effect this has on political behavior and, ultimately, social policies.

Samantha Plummer
Sociology, University of Pittsburgh

Samantha Plummer is entering her third year of the doctoral program in sociology at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research interests are varied and include mental health, inequality, social theory, and religion. Her master’s thesis examines the experiences of long-term care workers at a psychiatric residential treatment facility for children and adolescents, and it explores the way processes of rationalization and corporatization have affected workers’ job satisfaction and their ability to provide services to the youth in their care. 

Samantha's current research interests center on the political consequences of segregation and economic inequality, specifically how residential segregation leads to the marginalization of the less privileged in democratic processes and civic life; how dominant groups benefit politically from this marginalization; how segregation enables a privileged ignorance of contextual inequality; and how it promotes interracial distrust by enabling people to avoid the difficult work of “talking to strangers.” When not studying or doing research, she enjoys running, traveling, playing soccer, and hanging out with her thirteen-year-old sister, Alex.      

Michael Zabek
Economics, University of Michigan

Mike Zabek is a third year PhD student in Economics at the University of Michigan. He is studying labor, urban, and macroeconomics. Broadly, Mike’s interest in inequality is focused on the divergence of incomes in the United States over the past few decades, as well as issues surrounding personal finances. One topic he is researching is the way local connections bind people to different localities, including areas in economic decline. Local connections could be the presence of family members in an area, homes that residents own in the area, social networks, involvement in community organizations, or “tastes” for particular places. If workers have ties to their home regions, then they will endure worse economic conditions without moving, which will prolong economic declines. If the people with the lowest levels of market skill stay in larger numbers it could lead to dysfunctional local finances.

Originally from Vermont, Mike holds a BA from Kenyon College with double majors in Mathematics and Economics. After graduating from Kenyon, Mike worked for three research organizations investigating topics in labor and development economics, including a half year stint in northern India.

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