Research

The Department of Sociology at the University of Houston is a vibrant center of scholarly activity. The department’s twelve full-time faculty members conduct basic and applied research in traditional areas of the discipline, including demography, education, health, stratification, and social psychology. We are also leaders in more recent and innovative areas of study, including the body, food, immigration, and visual sociology.

The department’s scholarly productivity can be measured quantitatively, yet appreciated stylistically. Along with publishing in various peer-review outlets, our faculty have served on editorial boards or are officers in professional organizations. Several have even served as presidents of their specialty organizations. Over the past ten years, University of Houston sociology faculty members have been involved in over $5 million in funded research—as principal investigators, senior researchers, and consultants.

Stylistically, our work is timely and policy-relevant. Drs. Gary Dworkin and Jon Lorence apply quantitative research methods to study pressing issues in public education, ranging from standardized testing to school reform. Dr. Pamela Quiroz also studies the sociology of education, as well as race and inequality, particularly as it relates to children, youth, and families. Dr. T. Xavia Karner is exploring community engagement and networks within the world of professional photography and the social psychological aspects of artistic practice. Dr. Shayne Lee is a scholar of contemporary American religion and culture whose current work examines sociological approaches to the study of cinema. Dr. Amanda Baumle applies her legal as well as sociological insights to questions of mobility and sexual identity. Dr. Samantha Kwan examines cultural meanings about the body, body modification practices, and various forms of embodied resistance.

Junior faculty members also engage in various innovative research projects. Dr. Jessica Brown’s research applies the sociological optic to contemporary issues of citizenship, mobility, and immigration. Dr. Sheila Katz examines women’s experiences in poverty. Dr. Maria Monserud’s research focuses on health and wellbeing, with an emphasis on social determinants, family context, and Hispanic aging. Dr. Scott Savage is an experimentalist who studies small group processes and their consequences for organizational behavior.