Recent Ph.D. Alumni on the Job Market

This page is for recent alumni looking for a second position upon completion of the postdoctoral fellowship, initial contract teaching job or research position they gained on first graduating.


Shai Dromi, Ph.D. 2016

Lecturer, Harvard University

Shai Dromi is a Lecturer on Sociology at Harvard University. He is a cultural and comparative-historical sociologist with research on altruistic behavior, transnational solidarity, and morality. His research explores how beliefs about the common good shape a variety of social sites by focusing on the ways discourse about morality is used to justify the existence of social practices and institutions. His current book project is titled The Religious Origins of Transnational Relief: Calvinism, Humanitarianism, and the Origins of Social Fields. It asks how humanitarian activism became a distinct professional and social sector. The research draws on archival research at the International Committee of the Red Cross and related repositories. It highlights the role of mid-nineteenth-century Calvinist reform movements in formulating and propagating the moral principles that justified the establishment of humanitarian NGOs and continue to prevail in the humanitarian community today. An article from this research appeared in The Sociological Review, and another article is forthcoming at Sociological Theory. Dromi also works on other projects relating to`professional communities and their moral beliefs, and has previously conducted research on attitudes towards urban poverty and on the effects of cultural trauma on political culture in the Middle East. 

Website: www.shaidromi.com

CV Link


Gulay Turkmen-Dervisoglu, Ph.D. 2016

Post-Doctoral Researcher, University of Goettingen

Gulay Turkmen-Dervisoglu is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Goettingen’s Forum for Interdisciplinary Religious Studies. She is a comparative-historical sociologist with research interests that stand at the intersection of culture, politics and religion. She is specifically interested in how certain historical, cultural and political developments inform questions of belonging and identity-formation in multi-ethnic and multi-religious societies. Under that rubric, her research focuses on how religious, ethnic and national identities intersect, intertwine and compete with each other, especially in Muslim communities in the Middle East and Europe. She is also interested in cultural trauma and collective memory in the context of national identity formation.

 Her book project, originating from her dissertation, is titled United in Religion, Divided by Ethnicity? The Role of Islam in the Kurdish Conflict in Turkey. It investigates Sunni Islam’s role as a supranational identity in Turkey’s Kurdish conflict. Relying on in-depth interviews with Turkish and Kurdish religious elites, and participant observation in Friday prayers, it puts forward a four-fold typology that illuminates the divergence and convergence of religious and ethnic identities. After demonstrating the role these distinctions play in preventing the successful implementation of “Muslim brotherhood” as a solution to the Kurdish conflict it argues that this typology is of prime importance in analyzing not only the origins but also the solutions to ethnic conflicts.

She is currently conducting research on ethnic diversity in German mosques. Through ethnographic research and in-depth interviews, she explores the strategies Muslim immigrants use to navigate their way through the complex web of identity categories that become available to them upon their arrival in Germany. By focusing on identity formation among Muslim immigrants this project turns a critical eye towards the tumultuous relationship between immigrants and “host societies”.

Her work has appeared in the Annual Review of Sociology, Nations and Nationalism, Yale Review of International Affairs, and the Routledge Handbook of Religion and Security. She has also written public sociology pieces for Open Democracy, the European, and Policy Trajectories.

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Natalie Nitsche, Ph.D. 2014

Post-Doc, Vienna Institute of Demography in Austria

Natalie Nitsche is a quantitative family sociologist and social demographer. Her research investigates family formation dynamics and gendered life course outcomes. She has two main lines of research. One focuses on the intersection of educational and union-formation & childbearing trajectories. The other examines gendered dynamics in families and tries to understand where they come from and what their consequences are. Much of her work employs a couple-perspective, arguing that both partners and the interactions between them need to be taken into account in order to fully understand family formation processes and gendered dynamics in families.

She has, for instance, investigated 1) the effect of gender ideology and relative resources of both partners on the division of housework; 2) the interrelatedness of sibship sex-composition and majoring in a STEM discipline in college; 3) the impact of social norms on childbearing behavior, and 4) the effect of educational pairings of both partners on birth progressions among couples.

Natalie Nitsche received her Ph.D. in 2014 and is currently a post-doc at the Vienna Institute of Demography in Austria. Her work was supported with a NSF Dissertation Improvement Grant and with a highly selective Marie-Curie fellowship from the European Commission.

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Elizabeth Roberto, Ph.D. 2015

Post-Doc, Sociology Department, Princeton University

Elizabeth Roberto is a sociologist with broad research interests in social and spatial inequality, a substantive focus on residential segregation, and methodological expertise in computational social science and quantitative methods.  Her research agenda integrates a classic sociological interest in the social organization of cities and the development of innovative methods to address fundamental questions about the spatial structure of segregation patterns, the causes and consequences of segregation at different geographic scales, and the role of the built environment in segregation processes.

Roberto’s dissertation introduced two methodological innovations for measuring and analyzing segregation and generated new insight about the spatial structure of racial segregation in U.S. cities. In the first essay, she developed a new measure of segregation called the Divergence Index, which is conceptually similar to the widely-used Dissimilarity Index, but has the advantage of being decomposable, which allows for comparisons of segregation within and between communities or groups. The second essay introduced a new spatial method for measuring and analyzing segregation that overcomes the shortcomings of previous methods by taking into account 1) the spatial arrangement of residential locations and 2) the physical connectivity or spatial boundaries between them. Together, the first two essays addressed fundamental measurement issues that have limited previous efforts to measure and analyze spatial patterns of segregation. Her paper introducing the Divergence Index has received a revise and resubmit from Sociological Methods and Research.

In a paper that applies these methods to study racial segregation in 20 U.S. cities, Roberto and a co-author found that physical barriers divide urban space in ways that increase segregation and there is substantial variation in their impact both within and across cities. The findings demonstrate an important mechanism and source of variation in segregation, which has implications for understanding the consequences of segregation and raises new questions about how physical barriers contribute to the persistence of segregation.

In two current research projects, Roberto investigates the social and economic forces that shape the geographic scale segregation and the disparate impact on residents. Two upcoming collaborative projects will examine the spatial structure of racial and ethnic segregation in U.S. and European cities and the factors that facilitate or inhibit immigrants’ residential integration. Her future research will investigate the role of the built environment in the individual and institutional processes that generate segregation and contribute to its persistence.

Roberto’s dissertation received the 2017 Marvin B. Sussman Prize from Yale University, and she has been awarded a James S. McDonnell Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship Award in Studying Complex Systems, which supports her current research.

Website: http://www.elizabethroberto.com/