Letter from the Chair

July 11, 2018

  Dear Friends:

I am honored and excited to serve as the new Chair of the Sociology Department! I offer my deep appreciation and gratitude to Phil Smith for his dedicated leadership of the department from 2015-2018. This is a difficult job, and he weathered it well and has continued to remain upbeat and optimistic. One of the great things about Phil is that he consistently thanks people for what they do for the department and university. I also appreciate our shared love of early ‘80s music from the UK. He is off to a well-deserved sabbatical year at Oxford University, where he will be working on a book on Durkheim.

The recent personnel changes provide us an opportunity to replenish our faculty in quantitative studies in inequality broadly defined. Please spread the word about our multiple job searches this year. The ad can be found on this website. We expect to recruit in other fields in future years. Please be sure to join us at the job talks!

We hope to build an active database of our alumni and interested friends of the department. We plan to send regular updates to them about the activities of the department. We are deeply grateful to our supporters over the years – some of whom attend our talks and social events! Please also note that we also plan to hold a Yale Sociology Reception at the 2019 Annual Meetings of the American Sociological Association in New York City, so keep that in your calendars! This will also be the year when I will be Vice President of ASA (I’m currently VP-Elect).

I would like to offer a warm welcome to our new faculty member, Alka Menon (Ph.D., Northwestern), an Assistant Professor who works in the sociology of health and medicine, and has conducted fascinating research on how ideas of race prescribe the ideal face and body types noted by plastic surgeons and patients. The Sociology Department and the Center for Empirical Research on Stratification and Inequality (CERSI) welcomes Lecturer Ronald Kwon (PhD., UC Riverside), who studies global dynamics of international immigration, economic globalization, and interracial marriage and their subsequent impact on stratification outcomes. Our department along with the Center for Cultural Sociology (CCS) also welcomes Presidential Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow Natalie Aviles (Ph.D., UC San Diego), who works in social theory, science and technology studies, and cultural sociology.

I would also like to welcome our outstanding first-year cohort of graduate students. I’m very proud to report that they add to the diversity of our student population and they are motivated and ready to work! I also hope all of our graduate students update their webpages.

I express my gratitude to the lengthy and able service of Ron Eyerman as our Director of Graduate Studies (DGS), who will be retiring from Yale this year. We are fortunate that Phil Gorski will serve as our new DGS effective. Rene Almeling continues her wonderful leadership of the undergraduate program as Director of Undergraduate Students (DUS).

Lastly, I note that I continue to search for bandmates for our department band, The p-values. Look for us at some if not all of the department social functions.

Warm Regards,


Grace Kao

Chair & IBM Professor of Sociology