I am delighted to have joined the Department of Sociology at the University of North Texas as its new Chair. I earned my Bachelor's degree from Louisiana State University and my Master's and Ph.D degrees from the University of Texas at Austin. I have held tenure-track/tenured jobs at several universities, including the University of Southern Mississippi, Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Colorado State University, and the University of Wyoming where I chaired the Sociology department for the past nine years. It is great to return to Texas! My primary teaching interests are in the areas of social stratification and social movements. In both of these areas I combine my love of history and sociology, exploring how stratification has changed in the U.S. over time. I have studied a wide array of social movements and enjoy varying the particular movements that I cover in my social movement courses. While I always cover certain movements, such as the modern civil rights movement and the women's movement, I like periodically to change which case studies of other movements are covered, such as farmer protest movements, the abolitionist movement, the environmental justice movement, the white supremacist movement, the Tea Party movement, the anti-immigration movement, and the Living Wage/Campaign for $15 movement. For each movement covered, the focus is on using sociological theories of social movement emergence and development to probe movement dynamics. My research is focused primarily on social movements. I have published two books, as well as articles, book chapters, and handbook/ encyclopedia essays, on the largest agrarian protest movement in U.S. history, known as the Populist movement, during the nineteenth century.
My research questions focused on explaining the timing of movement emergence, as well as the factors affecting movement success and decline or demise. Currently I am working on two projects, a study of an anti-draft movement that arose in the Heart Mountain JapaneseAmerican internment camp during World War II and a study of the Texas Farmworkers Union in the 1960s and 1970s, which was much less successful that the United Farm Workers Union in California. Regarding department initiatives that I plan to launch this academic year, I have one that involves you. I want to connect with alumni of our programs. I would love to hear from you! I would like to build alumni profiles on our department website so that when students inquire about what they can do with a degree in Sociology, we can tell them to look at the alumni profiles on our website and see the widely diverse career paths our alumni have taken. It is one thing to talk about careers for sociology majors in the abstract. Another, more powerful, approach is to inform students about the career accomplishments of sociology alumni who have gone through the same program here at UNT. Finally, I hope that you might consider supporting the department's scholarship fund as part of your tax-deductible donations this year. Scholarship funds allow us to assist students in earning an education without taking on significant debt. Students are always appreciative of financial assistance. Even a small scholarship can help them cover the cost of their books.