Jon H. Rieger Speaker Series

Jon H. Rieger Speaker Series

Rieger Speaker Series imageThe late Dr. Jon H. Rieger, professor of sociology from 1971-2020, created an endowment fund for the Department of Sociology to host an event each spring that would feature a prominent scholar in the field of sociology. 

Known as the "Rieger Speaker Series," the first event was held in 2018 when Dr. Matthew Hughey presented "That Thing Called Race," followed by Dr. Jeff Ferrell in 2019 with "Drift: Illicit Mobility and Uncertain Knowledge," and Dr. Angela García in 2020 with "Legal Passing: Navigating Undocumented Life and Local Immigration Law." 

In 2021, two speakers were invited to deliver virtual presentations:  Dr. David Pellow, the Dehlsen Chair and Professor of Environmental Studies and Director of the Global Environmental Justice Project at the University of California, Santa Barbara, presented "Struggles for Racial and Environmental Justice in America's Prisons and Jails," and Dr. Cathy Kuhn, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Housing Coalition in Louisville, presented "The Critical Connection Between Housing Security and Environmental Justice."  Both of the 2021 speakers' presentations were recorded and can be viewed here.

In 2022, Dr. Victor Ray, an associate professor of sociology and criminology and African American studies at the University of Iowa, as well as a nonresident fellow at The Brookings Institute, presented "Racialized Burdens: Applying Racialized Organization Theory to the Administrative State."  His presentation was recorded and can be viewed here.

The Department did not host a speaker in 2023, but had two speakers in 2024: Dr. Antar Tichavakunda, an assistant professor at UC-Santa Barbara who presented "Learning and Belonging Through Black Joy" and Dr. Laurel Westbrook, a professor of sociology at Grand Valley State University, who presented "Making More Lives Livable:  Rethinking Anti-Violence Activism and Centering Transgender Joy."

Tichavakunda talk Westbrook pres