Full-time faculty

Sociology Faculty

Dr. Austin PortraitD. Mark Austin, PhD

Dr. Austin is an associate professor of sociology and also serves on the program faculty of the Urban and Public Affairs PhD program. A good deal of his past and current research has focused on issues related to community and urban sociology examining matters such as perceptions of safety, attitudes about growth and the environment, reactions to crime, and factors related to neighborhood satisfaction. While much of his past research has focused on geographically stable communities, in more recent work he has examined issues related to geographically mobile communities with some of his research dealing with community, historical, and subcultural issues involving motorcyclists in American culture.  This has also lead to an interest in edgework, the sociology of risk-taking.  Additionally, some of his work has combined the use of photography and survey research.

Some of his more recent publications include  "Community in a Mobile Subculture: The World of the Touring Motorcyclist" with Patricia Gagne', "Ritual and Boundary Distinction in a Recreational Community: A Case Study of Motorcycle Rallies and Riders,” and  "Fear of Criminal Victimization on a College Campus:  A Visual and Survey Analysis of Location and Demographic Factors" with former graduate student Nancy Steinmetz.

austin@louisville.edu |  (502) 852-3569  |  123 Lutz Hall

Areas of research/expertise:  community sociology, urban sociology, fear of crime, edgework  |  CV

James K. Beggan, PhD

Dr. Beggan is a professor of sociology. He was born in Buffalo, New York. He attended the State University of New York at Buffalo for his undergraduate work and earned a Ph.D. in psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Over the years, he has taught courses on a wide range of topics including consumer behavior, industrial psychology, gender, human sexuality, quantitative research methods, statistics, and the self and society.

He has published research on the psychology of ownership and the sexual self-concept, including how people overestimate their abilities to resist temptation. His current research interests include the representation of gender in mass media and the social construction of pornography. In these areas, he has published articles on Playboy, feminist-oriented pornography, and women's magazines. He has recently published an article on the way women subvert the inherent sexism in social dancing. He is on the editorial board of the Journal of Psychology.

He has performed open mic stand-up comedy. He enjoys various types of ballroom dances, especially foxtrot and cha cha. He especially enjoys vintage swing dancing, such as Lindy Hop, and often teaches classes on Lindy Hop and East Coast Swing.

His current research projects involve (1) understanding verbal and non-verbal communication in the context of social dances, (2) the stigma associated with being sexually attractive, and (3) body ornamentation as presented in mass media.

james.beggan@louisville.edu |  (502) 852-6069  |  128 Lutz Hall

Areas of research/expertise:  gender and sexuality  |  CV

Latrica E. Best, PhD
Associate Professor

Dr. Best is an associate professor of sociology and also holds a joint appointment with the Pan-African Studies Department at UofL.  Dr. Best’s expertise is in the area of race and gender differences in population health across the life course.  Her recent work explores the impact of psychosocial factors in late-life chronic disease experience in both the United States and in Ghana. She also conducts research examining possible methodological issues in studying biological markers in social science surveys.  Dr. Best received a BA in biology and sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and both an MA and PhD in sociology and demography, with a minor in gerontology, from The Pennsylvania State University.  Prior to her arrival in Louisville, Dr. Best was a National Institute on Aging Postdoctoral Fellow at the Andrus Gerontology Center at the University of Southern California’s Davis School of Gerontology.  She teaches courses in The Black Family, Social Contexts of Aging, and Research Methods.

latrica.best@louisville.edu |  (502) 852-5123  |  435 Strickler Hall

Areas of research/expertise:  aging and the life course, health, race/ethnicity |  CV

John A. Busch, PhD
Associate Professor

Dr. Busch is as an associate professor of sociology and has investigated general systems theory and sociocybernetics as a philosophical basis for sociological theory. Upon that systems framework he is engaged in developing theoretical approaches to the understanding of social systems in general. This has necessitated investigations into the social construction of reality, political economy, inequality, and the reciprocal influences of self and society. In particular these have led to the investigation of authoritarian disposition, cults and the dynamics of religiosity, racial and gender inequality, formal organizations, information societies and globalization, and the overall dynamics of inequality in the U.S. as an outlier among all post-industrial nations.

john.busch@louisville.edu |  (502)  852-8015  |  117 Lutz Hall

Areas of research/expertise:  theoretical sociology, political economy |  CV

Robert M. Carini, PhD
Associate Professor

Dr. Carini is an associate professor of sociology, and his research examines the sociologies of leisure, sport, family, and education.  He is collaborating on several projects that theorize how individuals are socialized into different leisure activities, and how they are, in turn, socialized by their participation.  In particular, he is considering how gender shapes leisure/sport participation.  He is also interested in the various roles that leisure plays in family life.  Dr. Carini was co-recipient of the American Sociological Association’s 2007 Outstanding Publication Award (Section on Aging and the Life Course) for “Advancing Age, Advantaged Youth: Parental Age and the Transmission of Resources to Youths.”  His articles have appeared in Social Forces, Harvard Educational Review, International Review for the Sociology of Sport, Phi Delta Kappan, Research in Higher Education, and The Journal of Higher Education.  Finally, he teaches undergraduate methods and statistics courses, sociology of leisure, sociology of family, and our doctoral statistics course.

bob.carini@louisville.edu |  (502) 852-8030  |  129 Lutz Hall

Areas of research/expertise:  leisure, sport, family, education  |  CV

Karen Christopher, PhD
Associate Professor

Dr. Christopher is an associate professor of sociology and has a joint appointment with the women's and gender studies department at UofL. She received her PhD in sociology from University of Arizona in 2000. Her articles and book chapters explore the intersections of gender, race and class in the family, labor market, and welfare state.

Dr. Christopher's recent research projects include a comparative study of U.S. and Canadian mothers with young children; articles from this project appear in Gender & Society and Advances in Gender Research. Two other projects explore work/life conflict among nurses, and parenthood in academia; see her CV for publications and papers under review from these projects.

She teachesSociology of Families, as well as several cross-listed courses with Women's & Gender Studies:  Gender and Work, Feminist Research Methods in the Social Sciences (graduate), and Masculinities. In her spare time, she enjoys coaching her children's sports teams, reading fiction, and hiking.

k.christopher@louisville.edu |  (502) 852-0591  |  Stevenson Hall

Areas of research/expertise:  gender/family/work; motherhood; race/class/gender  | CV

Patricia Gagné, PhD
Professor & Director of Graduate Studies

Dr. Gagné is a professor of sociology.  Her research focuses on gender and includes numerous articles on intimate partner violence, transgenderism, women and body work, and the personal and social benefits women derive from serious edgework leisure.  She teaches undergraduate and graduate level theory courses, graduate qualitative methods, and a graduate course on gender and sexuality.  She lives on a small farm outside Louisville where she keeps and boards horses.

gagne@louisville.edu |  (502) 852-8014  |  112 Lutz Hall

Areas of research/expertise:  gender, social theory  |  CV

Melanie J. Gast, PhD
Assistant Professor

Dr. Gast is an assistant professor of sociology. She was previously an assistant Professor of sociology at DePaul University, and she received her PhD from University of California, Davis. She teaches courses on sociology of education and race/ethnicity. Her research focuses on how schools and community programs structure support opportunities for racial/ethnic minority youth and families. Her co-authored work examines information and resource gaps and the transition to college and includes a project on disparities in financial planning and preparedness for college. In other projects, she analyzes college counseling norms in a diverse, urban high school and the inclusion of immigrant youth and parents in urban community programs. She has published in journals such as the Du Bois Review, Journal of Adolescent Research, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Social Science Research, Teachers College Record, and Urban Education.

melanie.gast@louisville.edu | (502) 852-8042 | 105 Lutz Hall

Areas of research/expertise:  sociology of education, race/ethnicity, urban education, community programs  | CV

Lauren Heberle, PhD
Associate Professor

Dr. Heberle is an associate professor in sociology and is also the Director of the Environmental Finance Center and Associate Director of the Center for Environmental Policy and Management. She is the recipient of several grants from EPA, HUD and CDC to provide technical assistance to communities in the areas of Brownfields Redevelopment, Sustainable Community Planning, and Safe Urban Gardening. She currently teaches environmental and social policy courses. Her expertise is in community participation in environmental decision making.  Her areas of research include urban redevelopment, environmental policy, environmental justice, and sustainable development.  She serves as a member of, or expert witness to, a variety of local and federal task forces and committees.

lauren.heberle@louisville.edu |  (502) 852-4749  |  108 Lutz Hall

Areas of research/expertise:  urban sociology, environmental sociology  |  CV

Kimberly Kempf-Leonard, PhD
Professor & Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences

Dr. Kempf-Leonard serves as the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and more information about her can be found at http://louisville.edu/artsandsciences/about/about-the-dean

 Michal Kofman, PhD
Visiting Assistant Professor

Dr. Kofman is a visiting assistant professor in sociology and holds both a BA and an MA in Sociology from the University of Haifa in Israel and received her PhD in sociology from the University of Calgary in Canada. Her research focuses on the relationship between law, society and identity in contemporary Cuba. Currently, she is working on several publications that examine the changes taking place in Cuba over the last three decades, whether in the field of state-citizen relations, the construction of parenthood or the reconstruction of state socialism as a moral project. Additional work addresses the parallels between legal practices in socialist states and capitalist ones, suggesting that differences between both models of law is more nuanced than is currently conceived. Dr. Kofman has taught a variety of courses in sociology, such as Introduction to Sociology, Social Diversity, Social Stratification and Social Problems.

michal.kofman@louisville.edu |  (502) 852-3869  |  106 Lutz Hall  |  CV

Andrea Koven, ABD
Visiting Lecturer

Prof. Koven is a visiting lecturer in sociology and teaches courses on race, diversity and inequality, research methods, and social theory, as well as urban sociology, race and ethnicity, and social stratification.

andrea.koven@louisville.edu |  (502) 852-2089  |  107 Lutz Hall

Areas of research/expertise:  race/ethnicity, urban sociology  | CV

Gul Marshall, PhD
Associate Professor

Dr. Marshall is an associate professor of sociology.  She teaches Sociology of Gender, Social Theory, Gender and Social Movements, Gender in the Middle East, and Women: International Perspective.  Her research interests are in the areas of gender, politics, social movements, and social policy.  Her articles on women’s movements and women’s rights in Turkey have been published in journals, such as Gender & Society and Social Politics, as well as in edited volumes.  Dr. Marshall’s current line of research highlights the significance of transnational feminist activism in influencing gender policies both at national and supranational levels.  She is the author of Shaping Gender Policy in Turkey: Grassroots Women Activists, the European Union, and the Turkish State (2013, SUNY Press).

gul.marshall@louisville.edu |  (502) 852-8027  |  126 Lutz Hall

Areas of research/expertise:  gender, politics, social movements, social policy, and the media  |  CV

Cynthia Negrey, PhD

Cynthia Negrey is a professor of sociology.  She completed a BS in journalism and MA in sociology at Bowling Green State University and a PhD in sociology at Michigan State University.  Her specialty areas are political economy, urban labor markets, and gender.  She has published articles in Feminist Economics; Gender, Place & Culture; International Journal of Urban and Regional Research; Journal of Poverty; Journal of Urban Affairs; Regional Studies; and Urban Affairs Quarterly/Review.  She recently published a new book, Work Time: Conflict, Control, and Change (Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2012) and wrote entries on the eight-hour day and the temporal dimensions and women’s and men’s employment in the new SAGE Encyclopedia on the Sociology of Work (2013).  Dr. Negrey routinely teaches graduate electives in the Sociology of Work and Urban Sociology and a required course entitled Fundamental Assumptions of Sociology in the PhD program.  She also has a formal affiliation with the PhD program in Urban and Public Affairs and teaches UPA 610, Urban Theory.  Dr. Negrey took a two-year leave of absence from the University of Louisville in 1999-2001 during which time she was a study director at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research in Washington, DC.  There she led a team that researched and co-authored a book-length report entitled Working First but Working Poor: The Need for Education and Training Following Welfare Reform.  She has also been a consultant and co-author with colleagues in the Kent School of Social Work on reports and articles on welfare reform in Kentucky.

cynthia.negrey@louisville.edu |  (502) 852-8023  |  125 Lutz Hall

Areas of research/expertise:  political economy, gender  |  Selected Publications

Deborah Potter, PhD
Associate Professor

Dr. Potter is an associate professor of sociology who has a joint PhD (Sociology; Social Policy) from Brandeis. Although she had received an M.A. earlier in life, she enrolled in her PhD program as a non-traditional student and appreciates the diverse life histories of UofL students. For eight years, including the time she wrote her dissertation, she worked in a non-profit agency as a lead evaluator of state and national mental health programs. Prior to that, for ten years, she was a health research scientist for a health policy research organization. She brings these prior experiences as an applied researcher to her current work as a medical sociologist.

Expanding upon her interest in the "lay-professional” relationships in healthcare, her dissertation work focused on the social contexts which facilitated partnerships between parents of children with serious emotional disorders and mental health professionals as they implemented one state’s reform of children’s mental health services.  In addition to publishing in that area, she has published papers on: the framing of “conduct disorder” in popular and psychological media; the medicalization of behaviors (ADHD in adults); governmentality and biopower in state legislation on pregnant women’s alcohol consumption; the various faces of human growth hormone as a biomedical enhancement; and "non-biomedical" influences on medical decision-making. Dr. Potter currently is writing manuscripts from two qualitative research projects: one investigates the construction of lay-professional identities of mental health "consumer consultants" and the second examines lay participation in "laughter clubs" as a form of alternative health self-care.  She has begun a pilot study that is examining “whole health” in the lives of women who have both a chronic physical health condition (diabetes) and a mental disorder (clinical depression).

She currently is teaching undergraduate courses in the Department on medical sociology, sociology of women’s health, and research methods. In the PhD program, she teaches Program Evaluation and offers independent studies in the sociology of health and illness. Outside of her life as a sociologist, in addition to training her four dogs (an Australian Shepherd mix, a German Shepherd Dog, a Border Collie, and an Aussie-Brittany mix) and competing in dog agility trials, she has interned as a dog trainer and now coaches dog-owners.

deborah.potter@louisville.edu |  (502) 852-7983  |  104 Lutz Hall

Areas of research/expertise:  medical sociology, mental health  |  CV

Jon H. Rieger, PhD

Dr. Rieger is a professor of sociology and teaches courses on rural sociology, the sociology of music, and social change, as well as graduate-level research methods.  Dr. Rieger has an ongoing research project in Ontonagan County, Michigan, where has returned for decades to photograph - and visually chronicle - the changes in the community there.  His efforts have encouraged the development of the field of visual sociology, and Dr. Rieger is a founding member of the International Visual Sociology Association. You can read more about Dr. Rieger's Ontonagon project here.

jhrieger@louisville.edu |  (502) 852-8029  |  127 Lutz Hall

Areas of research/expertise:  visual sociology, rural sociology  |  CV

David Roelfs, PhD
Associate Professor

Dr. Roelfs is an assistant professor of sociology whose research interests include macro-level organizational analysis (the study of changes in industries over time) and meta-analyses of the social determinants of mortality. Recently completed projects include a study of the (lack of) impact of national unemployment rates on the health impacts of unemployment at the individual level, a study of the association between social contact frequency and mortality, a collaborative study (with Robin Hognas and Christa Moore) of the association between parity (number of children) and mortality, and a meta-analytic examination of the “Latina/o mortality paradox.”. In addition to ongoing research on shopping malls and on the social correlates of mortality, Dr. Roelfs is currently engaged in a study of the US mega-church population (with Rob Shelby), institutional influences on neighborhood revitalization projects (with Joanne Bohn), and macro-level predictors influencing physicians’ practice location decisions (with Timothy Lau).

djroel01@louisville.edu |  (502) 852-8038  |  130 Lutz Hall

Areas of research/expertise:  statistics, organizations, economic sociology, social epidemiology  |  CV

Ryan Schroeder, PhD
Associate Professor & Chair

Dr. Schroeder is an associate professor of sociology, and his research interests include criminal offending throughout the life course, the relationship between drugs and crime, the impact of family structure and processes on adult offending, the processes by which religion and religiosity affect criminal desistance, and the effect of poor physical health on crime. Overall, the aim of Dr. Schroeder's research is to test and develop criminological theory, as well as to promote a better understanding of the ways in which social processes influence criminal offending.

Dr. Schroeder's recent publications have appeared in Criminology, American Journal of Sociology, Deviant Behavior, and American Journal of Public Health. One of his papers, "Emotions and Crime Over the Life Course: A Neo-Meadian Perspective on Criminal Continuity and Change," was awarded the 2009 James F. Short, Jr. Outstanding Article Award by the American Sociological Association section on Crime, Law, and Deviance. His current projects include a theoretical assessment of non-medical prescription drugs use, tracing the relationship between trajectories of childhood parental attachment and adult criminal offending, and an application of criminological theory to the development and termination of civil wars.

When not teaching classes or conducting research, Dr. Schroeder is an avid sports fan, poker enthusiast, and golfer, and enjoys spending time with his wife and children.

rdschr01@louisville.edu |  (502) 852-8010  |  110 Lutz Hall

Areas of research/expertise:  criminology, victimization  |  CV

Hiromi Taniguchi, PhD
Associate Professor

Hiromi Taniguchi is an associate professor of sociology whose current studies include cross-national comparisons of attitudes about children, and the interface between paid work and family life. She also studies civic engagement of various forms (e.g., volunteering, charitable giving, social protest) in the US and Japan.

hiromi.taniguchi@louisville.edu |  (502) 852-8005  |  109 Lutz Hall

Areas of research/expertise:  sociology of work and family, voluntary sector research  |  CV

Wayne M. Usui, PhD
Professor Emeritus

Dr. Usui is professor emeritus of sociology.  He received his doctorate from the University of California, Riverside in 1977 and retired from UofL in 2012.  During his 35 years in the Sociology Department he taught research methods, statistics, aging, and urban.  He chaired the department in 1991-92 and 1999-2004.  He has co-authored articles with colleagues Thomas J. Keil, Lenora F. Paradis, and M. Cynthia Logsdon, among others.  Their papers have appeared in such diverse outlets as Social Forces, Journal of Gerontology, Journal of Nursing Measurement, Journal of Anxiety Disorders, and American Journal of Orthopsychiatry.  Dr. Usui has been co-investigator on grants from with the National Institute on Aging (with Dr. J. Busch), Eli Lilly Foundation (with Dr. M. Hutti), U.S. Department of Education (with Dr. M. Evans-Andris), National Science Foundation (with Dr. H. Taniguchi and Dr. R. Vogel), and Passport Health Plan (with Dr. M.C. Logsdon).  His current work involves serving as worship leader at his church, keeping involved with six grandchildren, and babysitting for friends whenever possible.