Affiliated Faculty

József Böröcz

Ethel Brooks

Karen A. Cerulo

Professor Cerulo's research addresses a variety of themes within the sociology of culture and cognition.

Much of Professor Cerulo's works explore the social foundations of symbol systems -- music, scent, verbal scripts, and visual images. Her research examines the ways in which social actors use such symbols to construct personal identity, collective identity, and the identity of eras, events, and places. Her work also charts the ways in which social factors -- i.e. the nature of social ties, the stability of social environments, power structures, economic systems of exchange, and technological innovations – help to shape the content, form, meaning, and effectiveness of symbols. She is currently writing an article length piece entitled The Sweet Smell of Success: Body, Brain and Mind in Olfactory Evaluation. Here, she uses focus group data to understand the role played by neural, physical, and sociocultural elements when we process the messages contained in commercial perfume scents.

Professor Cerulo's writings are often noted for their contributions to the literature on measurement. She has developed a number of indicators designed to systematically capture verbal and non-verbal symbol structure. These measures render aural, olfactory, literary, and visual objects extremely accessible sources of social science data, amenable to all of the rigorous methods that are central to the social science tradition.

In recent years, Professor Cerulo has turned her attentions to the social and cultural foundations of cognitive concepts and schema. Her work pays special attention to the links between cultural sociology and cognitive neuroscience. She edited and contributed both to a special issue on this topic, published in the journal Poetics in 2010 and a special section published in Sociological Forum, December 2014.

One prominent theme in Professor Cerulo’s work on conceptualization concerns new communication technologies. Specifically, she explores the ways in which emerging communication media can change the ways in which individuals perceive social actors and social groups, experience social connectedness, and define forums of social action.

Some of Professor Cerulo's recent work explores the conceptualization of the best and worst of people, places, objects and events. Her book Never Saw It Coming builds on theories and ideas forwarded by both cultural and cognitive sociologists, Professor Cerulo argues that the inability to envision and specify the worst is a sociocultural phenomenon. Indeed, in a broad array of social situations, she discovers that conceptions of the worst represent a gap in many cultures' shared frames of reference. The worst is a "blind spot" created by a variety of normative and patterned sociocultural practices – practices that, despite any single individual's intentions, keep the worst veiled and difficult to define. In her work, Professor Cerulo itemizes and unpacks these practices. She explores as well the ways in which certain elements of social structure may encourage this biased perspective. Finally, she considers the social consequences and pitfalls that masking the worst can exact. In so doing, she questions whether a more symmetrical view of quality is an achievable ... or a desirable social goal.

Spurred by some of the issues raised in Never Saw It Coming, Professor Cerulo has just started work on a book entitled High Hopes: The Sociocultural Dimensions of Wishing and Dreaming (with Janet M. Ruane). The authors argue that dreams and aspirations are thought to be matters of an individual's heart and mind. But in this book, the authors explore the sociocultural dimensions that organize and structure what Americans do (or do not) dream about, the ways in which they dream, variations in dreams according to one’s social location, and when, if ever, people stop dreaming.

Professor Cerulo's articles appear in a wide variety of journals including the American Sociological Review, Social Forces, Social Psychology Quarterly, Sociological Methods and Research, Sociological Forum, Sociological Inquiry, Sociological Focus, Communication Research, Contemporary Sociology, Poetics ,Social Science Research, Law and Policy, Science As Culture, and annuals and collections such as the Annual Review of Sociology, the Encyclopedia of Nationalism, the International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, the Handbook of Cultural Sociology, the Handbook of Social Theory, Research in Political Sociology, and the World Book Encyclopedia. She is the author of Never Saw It Coming: Cultural Challenges to Envisioning the Worst (University of Chicago Press, 2006), Deciphering Violence: The Cognitive Order of Right and Wrong (Routledge: 1998), and Identity Designs: The Sights and Sounds of a Nation – winner of these Culture Section's "Best Book Award, 1996" (The Rose Book series of the ASA, Rutgers University Press: 1995). She also co-authored Second Thoughts: Seeing Conventional Wisdom through the Sociological Eye (Pine Forge Press, 6th edition, 2014), and edited a collection entitled Culture in Mind: Toward a Sociology of Culture and Cognition (Routledge, 2002).

Professor Cerulo served as the Sociology Department Chair from July 2009 to August 2012. She has also served as the Chair of the ASA's Culture section (2009 through 2010), where she also functions as the section's network coordinator, and the director of the Culture and Cognition Network. She is a former Vice President of the Eastern Sociological Society and the current editor of Sociological Forum, the flagship journal of the Eastern Sociological Society. In 2013, she was named the Robin M. Williams Jr. Lecturer by the Eastern Sociological Society and she also won that organization's 2013 Merit Award. In 2012, she received the Rutgers University Scholar-Teacher Award, recognizing both her pedagogy and research in sociology.

Selected Publications

Cerulo, Karen A. 2015. "The Embodied Mind: Building on Wacquant's Carnal Sociology." Qualitative Sociology 38: 1: 33-38.

Cerulo, Karen A. and Janet M. Ruane. 2014. “Apologies of the Rich and Famous: Social, Cultural and Cognitive Explanations of Why We Care and Why We Forgive.” Social Psychology Quarterly 77: 2: 123-149

Cerulo, Karen A. 2010. “Mining the Intersections of Cognitive Sociology and Neuroscience.” Poetics 38: 2: 115-132

Cerulo, Karen A. 2009. “Non-Humans in Social Interaction.” Annual Review of Sociology vol. 35: 531-552.

Honors and Awards

The Robin M. Williams, Jr. Lectureship: Awarded by the Eastern Sociological Society in recognition of Distinguished Scholarship, 2013.

Eastern Sociological Society Merit Award: Awarded to distinguished scholars who have made outstanding contributions to the discipline, the profession, and the ESS, 2013.

Faculty Scholar-Teaching Award: Honors Rutgers University faculty members who have made outstanding contributions in both research and teaching.

Lee Clarke 

Ira Cohen 

Professor Cohen's major interests in the area of culture and cognition center on the sociology of action in everyday life. He is also active in the areas of classical and contemporary social theory, theories of modernity and the history of social thought. Professor Cohen’s most recent book, Solitary Action: Acting on Our Own in Everyday Life is published by Oxford University Press. It will be available in October 2015. Professor Cohen is well known for his book and essays on Anthony Giddens and structuration theory. He has served on a number of editorial boards notably including The Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology. He has been a member of the Editorial Board of Theory, Culture and Society for many years. He also served a term on the International Editorial Board of Sociology The Journal of the British Sociology Association. Professor Cohen has been a guest lecturer at a number of European Universities including: Tbilisi State University, Republic of Georgia and the Universities of Naples, Genoa, Pisa, Milan Biccoca,and Catholic University of the Sacred Heart Milan. Professor Cohen has served as a Council member for the Theory Section of the American Sociological Association.

Professor Cohen’s newly completed book ,  Solitary Action,  proposes a new way of conceiving solitary activities as a substantial, yet previously unexamined realm of social behavior. Innovating a new model of actions performed by individuals on their own, Professor Cohen distinguishes and brings to life four diverse forms of solitary action: peripatetics, regimens, engrossments, and reflexives. An epilogue distinguishes solitary action from long-term solitary withdrawals from interaction with others.   A brief précis of key points is available in Perspectives: Newsletter of the ASA Theory Section (35:2 November 2013). A broader synoptic article is in preparation.

Professor Cohen is also on the faculty in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Rutgers in Newark where he teaches social theory in the Graduate Program in Peace

Selected Publications

Solitary Action: Acting on Our Own in Everyday Life. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016

Structuration Theory: Anthony Giddens and the Constitution of Social Life. London: Macmillan and New York: St Martin's Press, 1989.

"Solitary Action: Behavior Beyond the Interatction Order" in progress

 Allan Horwitz

 Allan V. Horwitz is Board of Governors Professor of Sociology and Interim Director of the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research. Professor Horwitz has studied a variety of aspects of mental health and illness, including the social response to mental illness, family caretaking for dependent populations, the impact of social roles and statuses on mental health, and the social construction of mental disorders. His current work integrates biological and sociological perspectives in distinguishing between normal and dysfunctional types of depression. He has published over 100 articles and chapters in the main journals in his field. In addition, he has published several books including The Social Control of Mental Illness (Academic Press 1982; new edition Percheron Press 2002); The Logic of Social Control (Plenum Press 1990); Creating Mental Illness (University of Chicago Press 2002), The Loss of Sadness: How Psychiatry Transformed Normal Misery into Depressive Disorder (Oxford University Press 2007), Conundrums of Modern American Medicine (Rutgers University Press 2010), All We Have to Fear: Psychiatry's Transformation of Normal Anxieties into Mental Disorders (Oxford University Press, 2012) and Anxiety: A Short History (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013). Since 1980 he has been the co-director (with David Mechanic) of the NIMH funded Rutgers Postdoctoral Program in Mental Health. He has also served as Chair of the Sociology Department for nine years (1985-1991; 1996-1999) and Dean of Social and Behavioral Sciences in the School of Arts and Sciences (2006 – 2012).

Selected Publications

Allan V. Horwitz. Anxiety: A Short History. Johns Hopkins University Press. 2013.

Allan V. Horwitz and Jerome C. Wakefield. All We Have to Fear: Psychiatry’s Transformation of Natural Anxiety into Mental Disorder. Oxford University Press, 2012.
     * Best Publication Award, Section on Evolution, Biology, and Society, 2014

Allan V. Horwitz and Jerome C. Wakefield. The Loss of Sadness: How Psychiatry Transformed Normal Misery into Depressive Disorder. Oxford University Press, 2007.
     * Winner Association of American Publishers Best Book Award 2007, Psychology Category;
     * Winner Best Publication Award, American Sociological Association Section on Evolution,      
       Biology, and Society, 2010;
     * Named one of seven best books of the past decade in the sociology of mental health in
       Contemporary Sociology

Joanna Kempner

Joanna Kempner, an associate professor of sociology, works at the intersection of medicine, science, gender, and the body. Her research focuses both on the formation of social problems and on the ways in which some issues are consistently ignored, dismissed, or delegitimated. Her book, Not Tonight: Migraine and the Politics of Gender and Health (Chicago 2014) examines the social values embedded in the way we talk about, understand, and make policies for people in pain. She has also written extensively on the formation of “forbidden knowledge,” i.e. the boundaries that form around what we think is too dangerous, sensitive or taboo to research. She is currently working on several projects related to the politics of disease. Professor Kempner received her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to joining Rutgers, Professor Kempner was a fellow in the Robert Wood Johnson Scholars in Health Policy Research Program at the University of Michigan and a Research Associate at the Center for Health and Wellbeing at Princeton University. Her research appears in peer-reviewed sociology and medical journals including Science, Social Science & Medicine, Gender & Society, and Public Library of Science Medicine.

Selected Publications

Kempner, J. (2014). Not Tonight: Migraine and the Politics of Gender and Legitimacy. Chicago: University Of Chicago Press.

Young, William B., Iris X. Tian, Jung E. Park, Joanna Kempner. 2013 "The stigma of migraine." Public Library of Science One. 8(1): e54074.

Kempner, Joanna, Jon F. Merz, Charles L. Bosk. 2011 “Forbidden knowledge: Public controversy and the production of nonknowledge.” Sociological Forum. 26(3). 475-500. Lead article.

Honors and Awards

2013-2016 Council member, Body and Embodiment Section of the American Sociological Association

2015 Rutgers Board of Trustees Research Fellowship for Scholarly Excellence

2012 Honorable Mention, Star-Nelkin Paper Award. Science, Knowledge and Technology Section of the American Sociological Association.

Catherine Lee

Catherine Lee is associate professor of sociology. She examines how meanings of race and ethnicity shape social relations and inequalities across three critical sites: immigration; science and medicine; and law and society. Catherine is the author of Fictive Kinship: Family Reunification and the Meaning of Race and Nation in American Immigration (2013, Russell Sage) and co-editor of Genetics and the Unsettled Past: The Collision of DNA, Race, and History (2012, Rutgers University Press). Her current projects include an investigation of racial disparities in pain management and the politics of narcotics control and a study of how social institutions are addressing ideas of racial ambiguity or uncertainty tied to shifting demographics and rise of multiraciality. 

Selected Publications

Lee, Catherine. 2013. Fictive Kin: Family Reunification and the Meaning of Race and Nation in American Immigration. New York: Russell Sage Foundation. 

Wailoo, Keith, Alondra Nelson, and Catherine Lee (eds.). 2012. Genetics and the Unsettled Past: The Collision between DNA, Race, and History. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.

Friedman, Asia and Catherine Lee. 2013. “Producing Knowledge about Racial Differences: Tracing Scientists’ Use of ‘Race’ and ‘Ethnicity’ from Grants to Articles.” Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics 41(3): 720-732.


Faculty Research Grant, Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, Rutgers University, “The Color of Pain: Race and the Management of Pain in Medicine”, 2012-2013.

Honors and Awards

Russell Sage Foundation, Visiting Scholars Program, 2009-2010

Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Robert Wood Johnson Scholars in Health Policy Research Program, University of Michigan, 2003-2005

Paul McLean

Paul McLean's research has focused on exploring the connections between multiple kinds of social networks—marriage networks, economic networks, and political patronage networks chiefly—and describing the cultural practices and identities that actors adopt to move within and across these networks. He is particularly interested in culture as it is employed in social interaction, whether that pertains to social networking, contests of honor, or the playing of video games. He is currently working on a book manuscript exploring the multiple ways in which networks and culture intersect in sociological research. 

Selected Publications

Gondal, Neha, and Paul D. McLean. 2013. “Linking Tie-meaning with Network Structure: Variable Connotations of Personal Lending in a Multiple-Network Ecology.” Poetics 41: 122-50.

Khanolkar, Preeti R., and Paul D. McLean. 2012. “100 Percenting It: Videogame Play through the Eyes of Devoted Gamers.” Sociological Forum 27, 4: 961-85.

McLean, Paul D. 2007. The Art of the Network: Strategic Interaction and Patronage in Renaissance Florence. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.


“The Changing Social and Rhetorical Foundations of Florentine Republicanism.” Neubauer Foundation at the University of Chicago [John F. Padgett, Political Science, University of Chicago; Paul D. McLean, Sociology, Rutgers University; William J. Connell, History, Seton Hall University; Niall Atkinson, Art History, University of Chicago; John P. McCormick, Political Science, University of Chicago, co-PIs]. 2014-17. $100,000

“Networks of Opportunity and Influence at Rutgers.” RU FAIR Mini-grant, under the auspices of NSF-ADVANCE Institutional Transformation Grant, 2008-2013, “RUFAIR-Rutgers University for Faculty Advancement and Institutional Re-imagination” [Joan W. Bennett, Helen Buettner, Patricia Roos, Kathryn Uhrich, Philip Yeagle, co-PIs]. 2010-11. $11,500

Honors and Awards

Fellow, Center for Cultural Analysis, Rutgers University, 2012-13

Honorable Mention in the 2008 Best Book Competition of the ASA Section on Culture, for The Art of the Network

Co-editor, American Sociological Association Rose Series in Sociology, 2012-present

Hana Shepherd

Hana Shepherd’s work focuses on three areas: social networks, cognitive and social psychological accounts of culture, and the relationship between organizational procedures and inequality. She uses diverse methods including network analysis, lab and field-based experiments, interviews, and archival research.   She is currently studying the relationship between social network structure and change, and cultures of peer conflict and harassment in middle schools. The data for this project comes from a year-long field experiment that she co-directed in 56 middle schools in New Jersey, the Roots Program. A starting point of the intervention is the observation that peer conflict in schools often stems from what students believe their peers this is typical and desirable behavior—how they perceive the social norms of the school. The current project and previous work studies the social cognitive process of forming perceptions of the social norms operating in a group or setting, and how that process is shaped by social networks. Social norms are a central element of culture as they shape larger patterns of behavior in groups.  Another set of projects applies tools and insights from cognitive and social psychology to study how individuals cognitively encode meaning and how cognition is shaped by context. These projects include survey experiments on cognition and fertility preferences among college students, and using new methods to identify schemas for action from survey data about fertility.

Selected Publications

Shepherd, Hana, and Elizabeth L. Paluck. 2015. Stopping the Drama: Gendered Influence in a Network Field Experiment. Social Psychology Quarterly 78: 173-193

Shepherd, Hana. 2014. Culture and Cognition: A Process Account of Culture. Sociological Forum 29: 1007-11.

Shepherd, Hana. 2011. The Cultural Context of Cognition: What the Implicit Association Test Tells Us About How Culture Works. Sociological Forum 26: 121-143.


NIH R03 "Using Innovative Analyses of Attitudes to Predict Fertility-Related Behavior." Co-PI with Emily Marshall. 2015-2017. ($168,573).

Arlene Stein Pofessor Stein studies culture, psychosocial studies, gender, sexuality, trauma, collective memory, religion, narratives, social movements, and public sociology.

Selected Publications

Reluctant Witnesses: Survivors, Their Children, and the Rise of Holocaust Consciousness (Oxford 2014)

The Stranger Next Door: The Story of a Small Community’s Battle Over Sex, Faith, and Civil Rights (Beacon 2001)

Sex and Sensibility: Stories of a Lesbian Generation (California 1997)

Honors and Awards

Editor, Contexts, 2012-2014

Simon and Gagnon Lifetime Achievement Award, American Sociological Association, 2006

Richard Williams

Eviatar Zerubavel

Professor Zerubavel is Board of Governors and Distinguished Professor of Sociology. His main areas of interest are cognitive sociology and the sociology of time. He published numerous articles in AJS, ASR, Social Forces, and other journals, and is the author of the following books: Patterns of Time in Hospital Life: A Sociological Perspective (University of Chicago Press, 1979); Hidden Rhythms: Schedules and Calendars in Social Life (University of Chicago Press, 1981. Paperback – University of California Press, 1985. Also translated into Japanese and Italian); The Seven-Day Circle: The History and Meaning of the Week (Free Press, 1985. Paperback – University of Chicago Press, 1989. Listed among Choice's Outstanding Academic Books in 1985); The Fine Line: Making Distinctions in Everyday Life (Free Press, 1991. Paperback – University of Chicago Press, 1993); Terra Cognita: The Mental Discovery of America (Rutgers University Press, 1992. Transaction – 2003); Social Mindscapes: An Invitation to Cognitive Sociology (Harvard University Press, 1997. Paperback – 1999. Also translated into Norwegian); The Clockwork Muse: A Practical Guide to Writing Theses, Dissertations, and Books (Harvard University Press, 1999. Also translated into Marathi); Time Maps: Collective Memory and the Social Shape of the Past (University of Chicago Press, 2003. Paperback – 2004. Also translated into Italian); The Elephant in the Room: Silence and Denial in Everyday Life (Oxford University Press, 2006. Paperback – 2007. Also translated into Chinese); Ancestors and Relatives: Genealogy, Identity, and Community (Oxford University Press, 2011. Paperback – 2013. Awarded Honorable mention in the 2012 PROSE Award ["Sociology and Social Work" category] by the Association of American Publishers); and Hidden in Plain Sight: The Social Structure of Irrelevance (Oxford University Press, 2015). He is currently writing a book on the politico-semiotics of taken-for-grantedness. Professor Zerubavel served as the director of the sociology graduate programs at Columbia University, Stony Brook University, and four terms at Rutgers. He also served as the Chair of the Culture Section of the American Sociological Association (2000-01), and was a recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship (2003). He teaches graduate courses in cognitive sociology; time, history, and memory; and sociological theory.


Selected Publications

Zerubavel, Eviatar, 1979. “Private Time and Public Time: The Temporal Structure of Social Accessibility and Professional Commitments.” Social Forces 58(1):38‑58.

Zerubavel, Eviatar. 1982. “The Standardization of Time: A Sociohistorical Perspective.” American Journal of Sociology 88(1):1‑23.

Zerubavel, Eviatar. 2007. “Generally Speaking: The Logic and Mechanics of Social Pattern Analysis.” Sociological Forum 22(2):131-45.

Honors and Awards

The Seven-Day Circle was listed among Choice’s Outstanding Academic Books in 1985.

Elected to membership in the Sociological Research Association in 1994.

John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in 2003.


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Department of Sociology
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