Welcome to UIC Sociology

This year UIC Sociology is thrilled to welcome 4 new faculty to the department. The diverse research interests and commitment to teaching are a core strength of UIC Sociology, and we are excited to have these faculty in our department. Each day this week we will feature one of our new faculty, so you can get to know them and the unique skills and interests they bring to our community. For our final feature, we are catching up with another familiar face in the department, Clinical Assistant Professor, Kevin James!

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Kevin James

What’s new in your role?

In the Spring, I’ll be teaching a SOC 290 course which is basically an orientation to the major and various opportunities. So when students select sociology as a major or minor, they can participate in this course to get an overview of research opportunities, service learning opportunities, what sort of expectations various courses will have, and even begin to think about where their future career opportunities will take them after UIC. So it really is that chance to say, before they’re a senior and say “Oh, you know, I wish I would’ve known about x, y, and z” to really get them jumpstarted on the front end.

How did you get into Sociology?

When I was in high school my guidance counselor told me to major in anything except sociology. Seriously. So I went to college and I started out as a music education major, history, psychology, business entrepreneurship, something I can’t remember right now, and then sociology because I thumbed through the catalog and I thought “I’ll be here forever.” You know, I was going into my junior year and I had to settle on a major, I mean I was changing majors at the beginning and end of the semester. Sociology was the one major that would accept all of my other credits and I thought “They’ll take all of this jumping around that I did?” and so, I was like “I’m majoring in sociology now.” And when I showed up for my first class it was Social Problems, and I loved it I couldn’t stop talking about it and it just kind of hasn’t stopped since.

What do you like to do outside of UIC Sociology?

I enjoy road trips, this is the most beautiful time to take one I think. And I love thrift shopping, I just love rummaging through and seeing all the different shapes, styles, colors, and it’s like therapeutic almost. Things come from so many different places and experiences that I think when I travel, I want to have that awakening, I want to see something unique and I get to kind of get a little of that I think in thrift stores.

 

If you want to learn more about Kevin’s research and teaching interests, read on in his UIC Sociology faculty profile!

 

Welcome to UIC Sociology, Kevin!

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Welcome to UIC Sociology

This year UIC Sociology is thrilled to welcome 4 new faculty to the department. The diverse research interests and commitment to teaching are a core strength of UIC Sociology, and we are excited to have these faculty in our department. Each day this week we will feature one of our new faculty, so you can get to know them and the unique skills and interests they bring to our community!

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Jody Ahlm

Jody Ahlm is a familiar face at UIC as she successfully defended her dissertation with the department in July! Jody is now serving as a Visiting Assistant Professor and teaching advanced classes for sociology majors. Jody told us having mostly sociology majors (who are so well prepared), in the classroom makes for a different type of teaching from the lower level classes she’s taught before, and she really enjoys it.

Jody first became interested in sociology when she took classes in undergrad, which allowed her to use critical thinking skills in ways other classes hadn’t. When she returned to school she was interested in researching gender and race, and intersections thereof. Jody’s dissertation research led her to sexuality studies and technology studies. Jody got interested in Grindr for her dissertation because of a conversation that she noticed happening about masculinity and race in reading about the app.

Currently, Jody is working on research within technology studies about how design can or cannot intervene in the social or alter behavior. For instance, can we design apps in ways that could be a social force for good?

Fun fact! Jody loves to fly fish for trout and gets to do it occasionally in New Mexico when visiting family. She says it’s a solitary activity and requires rhythmic motion, so you can zone out and don’t think about work or stress. It’s just about being in the moment. And trout live in pretty places!

 

If you want to learn more about Jody’s research and teaching interests, read on in her UIC Sociology faculty profile!

 

Welcome to UIC Sociology, Jody!

Welcome to UIC Sociology

This year UIC Sociology is thrilled to welcome 4 new faculty to the department. The diverse research interests and commitment to teaching are a core strength of UIC Sociology, and we are excited to have these faculty in our department. Each day this week we will feature one of our new faculty, so you can get to know them and the unique skills and interests they bring to our community!

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Mahesh Somashekhar

How did you get into Sociology?

I actually started out as an engineer but ended up working on a project that applied principles of graph theory to the study of information diffusion in social networks. From there, I decided to get a PhD in sociology.

How has your research evolved?

Although I was intrigued by much that graph theory and other realms of mathematical sociology had to offer, I wanted to work on issues that had more direct policy implications and addressed social inequality. So, while before I studied flows of information through social networks, I now study “flows” of migrants across space and their impact on flows of capital.

Why was UIC Sociology the right fit for you?

In my opinion, the best sociology combines a rigorous approach to scientific method with a strong commitment to social justice. I’m happy to be part of a sociology department that takes that combination so seriously. I look forward to learning much from the diversity of people at UIC and the diversity of experiences one can have in Chicago. This university, in this city, is overflowing with ways to connect local issues to global concerns.

What do you do in your free time?

I paid part of my way through graduate school as a semi-professional jazz musician. I’m really excited to live in Chicago so that I can be part of a thriving jazz scene again. (Check out some of Mahesh’s music here!)

 

If you want to learn more about Mahesh’s research and teaching interests, read on in his UIC Sociology faculty profile!

 

Welcome to UIC Sociology, Mahesh!

Welcome to UIC Sociology

This year UIC Sociology is thrilled to welcome 4 new faculty to the department. The diverse research interests and commitment to teaching are a core strength of UIC Sociology, and we are excited to have these faculty in our department. Each day this week we will feature one of our new faculty, so you can get to know them and the unique skills and interests they bring to our community!

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Jennifer Jones

How did you get into Sociology?

I actually was always interested in public policy, so I was an International Relations major in college. I thought I wanted to work in the State Department and serve overseas as a diplomat. When I was a junior I was studying abroad in Cuba when 9/11 happened. Through my experience there with the embassy, I realized that executing policy wasn’t always about building relationships, like I had always thought. I realized I was more interested in how public policy affects people, and that I wanted to analyze policy. Upon returning from Cuba, I worked with Mary Pattillo and Klinenberg at Northwestern. I found through working with them that Sociology was a good fit and decided to apply to graduate programs!

Why was UIC Sociology a good fit for you?

Previously, I was at Notre Dame, which is a great place, but I didn’t find an intellectual home there. I really connected with faculty here, who had very similar academic interests, and were asking similar questions. I’m excited about the graduate seminar I’m teaching, because I haven’t read several of the books yet, and I’m looking forward to discussing them and learning from others through the conversations in those classes.

What do you love about Chicago?

I’m excited to be back in Chicago, because I’m a Chicago Native! I grew up here, and I love it. My mom is actually a graduate of UIC, and I remember coming to classes right here in the Behavioral Sciences Building as a little kid.

What do you do in your free time?

If you grow up in Chicago, you need a winter hobby, so I grew up figure skating, and I still love to skate. The rink at Millennium Park is free all winter, so you just might see me with my skates there in January!

 

If you want to learn more about Jennifer’s research and teaching interests, read on in her UIC Sociology faculty profile!

 

Welcome to UIC Sociology, Jennifer!

Living Sociology

Living Sociology front coverOriginally posted as the series, 30 in 30: 30 Alumni Stories in 30 Weeks, this booklet is the product of conversations between alumni (and one very special faculty emerita!) and current students. 30 in 30 was so well-received that we decided to gather them together here, in the same order they originally appeared, to share with a broader audience in a more lasting format. (Click on the image to view a PDF of Living Sociology: Student Interviews of UIC Sociology Alumni.)
If you would like a copy of Living Sociology, please email Kirsten Andersen. We would love to share it with you!

 

UIC’s Policing in Chicago Research Group releases “Tracked and Targeted: Early Findings on Chicago’s Gang Database”

The following press release was originally published on February 6 by Mijente

Tracked & Targeted

New Report on Gang Database Details Harms to Chicago Residents

Report released today shows how the Chicago gang database decreases job opportunities for Black and Latino youth, increases levels of policing in communities of color, and puts city’s immigrants at risk for deportation.

Read the full report here

Chicago, IL — A new report from the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Policing in Chicago Research Group, Tracked and Targeted: Early Findings on Chicago’s Gang Database, provides the most comprehensive and up-to-date information on the Chicago Gang Database and the harms that it causes Black and Latinx communities in Chicago.

“The report makes clear why communities of color in Chicago are upset about the gang database. The CPD overwhelmingly targets Black and Latinx youth for inclusion in the database,” says Andy Clarno, director of the Policing in Chicago Research Group that conducted the research. “And, as the report shows, federal law enforcement agencies such as ICE and the FBI have access to this information, putting immigrants on the list at heightened risk for deportation. People on the database are also subject to police harassment as well as more severe bail, bond and sentencing decisions,” he concluded.

Janae Bonsu, the lead author of the report, and organizer with the advocacy group Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100) adds, “This report shows that CPD’s  targeted surveillance of Black and Latinx people in Chicago is not only steeped in inaccuracies, but is likely unconstitutional and has real implications for people’s lives. But there’s still information that we don’t know and the City needs to be fully transparent about their policies and practices of this state-sanctioned profiling, and accountable for its adverse effects.”

The report includes information on:

  • The Chicago Police Department’s (CPD) increasing emphasis on “data-driven” policing
  • The ways that gang affiliation is documented and recorded by the CPD;
  • CPD policies regarding gangs in Chicago;
  • Demographic information on the race and gender of people labeled “gang affiliated”
  • The ways that the CPD shares information with federal law enforcement agencies, including DHS and the FBI;
  • Harms caused by the gang database to communities of color;
  • The consequences for U.S. born and immigrant Chicagoans for being labeled as gang members;
  • The campaign organizing against the gang database in Chicago; and
  • Recommendations to address the issues named in the report.

The report has been sent to Chicago Aldermen and other elected officials as part of a city-wide campaign to end the Chicago Gang Database. There are more than 128,000 people on the Chicago Gang Database.  A large majority of the list (95%) is Black and Latinx, disproportionately affecting communities of color. As this report highlights, approximately 11% of Chicago’s total Black population, 4% of the Latino population, and 0.6 %of the white population are in the gang database.

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The Campaign to Expand Sanctuary is a cross-issue interorganizational collaboration to defy, defend, and expand what it means for Chicago to be a Sanctuary City. The campaign pushes for the City to strengthen its protections for immigrants and refugees and address criminalization and police violence against Black people and communities of color. The campaign is anchored by Black Youth Project 100, Mijente, and Organized Communities Against Deportations. Read more at http://erasethedatabase.com/