Research

The Department of Sociology at the University of Houston is a vibrant center of scholarly activity. The department’s eleven full-time faculty members conduct award winning, basic and applied research in traditional areas of the discipline, including demography, health, religion, and education. We are also leaders in more recent and innovative areas of study, including the body, immigration, culture, and drug use.

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 and are officers in professional organizations. Several have even served as presidents of their specialty organizations. Over the past ten years, UH 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.  Dr. Russell Curtis is examining the role race plays in the world of sports, in particular media portrayals of African-American athletes. Drs. Gary Dworkin and Jon Lorence apply sophisticated quantitative research methods to the study of some of the more pressing issues in public education, ranging from standardized testing to school reform. 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 black clergywomen and the micro-politics of gender oppression in black churches. Dr. Tatcho Mindiola is explicating the nuances of working class male culture as lived in a typical East End Houston bar. Dr. Amanda Baumle is applying her legal as well as sociological insights to questions of mobility and sexual identity. Dr. Samantha Kwan examines competing cultural meanings about the body, including their health implications and impact on the daily lives of body non-conformists.

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's research examines women’s experiences in poverty. Dr. Maria Monserud’s research focuses on family inequality, particularly from a cross-cultural perspective.