The Department of Sociology is excited to welcome four new faculty members to our ranks this September.  Their research and teaching interests are varied, and will enrich the academic community for our students and their colleagues.  All are beginning in September 2014.

  • Assistant Professor Rachel K. Best - Best joins the department after completing a 2-year postdoctoral fellowship with the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation Health Policy Research Program at the University and her Ph.D. at the University of California at Berkeley.  Rachel Best's research asks how policies and laws respond to social problems. Across a wide range of issues, she studies how advocacy and culture create inequalities in policy and law. One ongoing line of research investigates inequalities in employment discrimination litigation. Another explores the consequences of the emergence of a new form of advocacy: interest groups targeting specific diseases. Combining quantitative and qualitative methods, she finds that disease advocacy had surprising cultural effects on politics, changing how policy makers evaluate claims and judge the worthiness of potential recipients. The study also asks why lobbying for research into new medical treatments has overshadowed movements seeking research on environmental causes of disease and advocacy for expanded access to medical care.
  • Assistant Professor Deirdre Bloome - Bloome joins the department after completing her Ph.D. at Harvard University this summer.   Her research uses demographic and statistical techniques to understand how patterns of social stratification are produced and reproduced in the US. Her current topics of investigation include the relationships among economic inequality, mobility, and insecurity, the evolution of racial inequality in income and family structure, and statistical methods for characterizing population heterogeneity.
  • Assistant Professor Jaeeun Kim - Kim joins the department after a year on the faculty of George Mason University, postdocs at Princeton and Stanford, and completing her degree at UCLA.  Jaeeun Kim specializes in political sociology, ethnicity and nationalism, and international migration and globalization in East Asia and beyond, and is trained in comparative-historical and ethnographic methods. She is currently working on a book manuscript based on her dissertation, which examines diaspora politics in twentieth-century Korea, focusing on colonial-era ethnic Korean migrants and their descendants in Japan and northeast China. She is also developing her second project about the asylum-seeking of undocumented migrants on religious ground, based on her ongoing ethnographic fieldwork in two metropolitan cities in the U.S.
  • Assistant Professor Alexandra Murphy- Murphy joins the department after a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Poverty Center at the Ford School of Public Policy.  Alex Murphy 's research examines how poverty and inequality are experienced, structured, and reproduced across and within multiple domains of social life including neighborhoods, social networks, organizations, and the state. In particular, she draws on ethnographic methods to understand how micro-level processes, like social interaction and meaning making, interact with macro-level forces, such as policy regimes, discrimination, and space, to shape the lived experiences of marginalized social groups. These scholarly interests motivate her current line of research which investigates the new suburban poverty. 

We are very excited to welcome these new faculty member to Michigan!