2024 Sociology Newsletter

Department of Sociology, Columbian College of Arts and Sciences seal. Hilary Silver and her GTA teach undergraduate students in SOC 2169: Urban Sociology in Bell 104.

Message from the Chair

Hiromi Ishizawa

Greetings to our alumni and friends of the Sociology Department!

As we are midway through the 2023-24 academic year, we would like to reflect on another exciting year for the Sociology Department. In September, GW alumni, students, faculty and staff gathered to welcome new GW President Ellen M. Granberg at the event, Celebrating Sociology at GW and Beyond. Having a sociology scholar as our president is meaningful to our department and to the discipline. There was no better way to highlight the significance of this than having a remarkable keynote speaker, Dr. Joya Misra, president of the American Sociological Association. We were also excited to welcome a new faculty member, Dr. Desmond Goss. Their research is featured in this newsletter. 

In December 2022, we wished our long beloved colleague, Cynthia Deitch, associate professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Sociology and Public Policy and Public Administration, a happy retirement! Her accomplishments are highlighted in this newsletter!

As always, thank you for your generous support and for continuing to engage with the GW community!


Dr. Hiromi Ishizawa
Chair, Department of Sociology

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Department Spotlights  

Desmond Goss

Welcome Dr. Desmond Goss!

The Sociology Department is pleased to welcome Dr. Desmond Francis Goss (they/them) to the faculty!

Desmond earned a BA in psychology from North Carolina State University, an MA in Public Sociology from UNC-Wilmington and a PhD in sociology from Georgia State University in 2017, where they were director of undergraduate studies in sociology and director of the Social Justice Certificate Program. 

They are a theory-driven, mixed-methods scholar-activist whose research, teaching and service involves critical analyses of lived experience and power at the intersection of varied sociopolitical identities—particularly race, gender, socio-economic status and sexuality—for the sustenance of radically liberated communities. 

They are senior personnel for the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s Intersectionality in the American South Collective. Their work is published in two edited volumes: Sex Matters and Focus on Social Problems and they are the author of Race and Masculinity in Gay Men’s Pornography: Deconstructing the Big Black Beast (Routledge, 2021). 

Desmond’s current research includes analyses of the cultural production of “urban criminal violence crises” via local news; the (im)possibility of neoliberal “DEI” policies to affect transformative justice; and the impact of resurgent neo-paganism in queer communities on the subjectivity of Black queer atheists in the southern U.S. On any given day, you can find them walking their two pitties in D.C. parks or jamming-out to Megan Thee Stallion. 

Cynthia Deitch

Celebrating Professor Cindy Deitch

Last spring, after 34 years as a faculty member in the Sociology Department and the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program, Cynthia Deitch retired from her positions. Professor Deitch first came to GW as a visiting assistant professor in sociology. Over the years she has taught the Race, Gender and Class, and the Gender and Society graduate courses and, at the undergraduate level, she taught Sociology of Sex and Gender and a special topics course on Gender, Policy, and Inequality.

The Sociology Department has been fortunate to benefit from Professor Deitch’s scholarship in gender, work, labor markets and policy. She has published quantitative studies of public opinion and abortion; gender differences in support for social welfare policies; gender and race discrimination litigation patterns; intersectional analyses of displaced workers’ job loss during periods of recession; and corporate work-family benefits policies. 

Her other publications have focused on feminist methodology, workplace sexual harassment, gender and race discrimination law and policy, feminist activism and community responses to unemployment and plant closings.

While at GW, she has received research grants externally from the American Sociological Association for a study of immigrant domestic workers; the U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau on gender, race and job loss during a recession; the Institute for Women’s Policy Research on workplace sexual harassment; and from the GW Center on Globalization on gender, race, and high-tech work and the Honey W. Nashman Center on D.C. paid sick leave policy and low-income workers.

Her most notable article appeared in a 1993 Gender & Society article about the inclusion of women in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. This was a very early intersectional article that helped establish the state as a gendered, racialized and capitalist entity. 

In it, Professor Deitch described the attempts that legislative opponents of the Civil Rights Act made to splinter the bill’s support, including an effort to sidetrack the bill by adding the word “sex” into it, which was met with laughter from the men in the U.S. House. Because the inclusion of protections against gender discrimination was a potential threat to the bill, Professor Deitch found, it was Southern anti-civil rights men who supported its inclusion, and pro-civil rights men who opposed it. 

In her incisive intersectional analysis of the text of the Congressional debate over this bill, Professor Deitch argued that it was not a politic of inclusion or common cause that enabled gender to be included in Title VII, but rather the attempts by all involved parties to marginalize the gender discrimination that Black women face. In her words, “When both the dominant and the oppositional discourse tend to construct women, Blacks and labor as separate and distinct categories or constituencies, the underlying interconnections are distorted.”

The Sociology Department and its students are fortunate to have benefited from her wisdom and teachings. Her impact on our community will not be forgotten, and her legacy will continue for generations of students. Thank you, Professor Deitch!

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Faculty Kudos

Fran Buntman was awarded the CCAS Award for Excellence in the Mentoring of Master's Students during the May 2023 commencement ceremony. Additionally, her piece “The Mental Health Consequences of Parental Incarceration: Evidence from a Nationally Representative Longitudinal Study of Adolescents through Adulthood in the US,” which she co-authored with fellow GW Sociology faculty members Hiromi IshizawaAntwan Jones and Katherine Lese (BA ’20, Criminal Justice; MA ’21, Criminology) will be published in print this year. 

Carlos Bustamante presented his paper “Dialog and Disorder Keeping: Police Organizational Sensemaking of Problems in Oakland, California and Stockholm Sweden” at a research workshop hosted by the GW Sociology Department. 

Daina Eglitis authored the article “Women’s Experiences of Life Force Atrocities in the Baltic Ghettos, 1941-1944,” in the journal Eastern European Holocaust Studies. She also presented “Homegoing after the Holocaust: Victimization of Jewish Women Survivors in Soviet Filtration Camps” at the November 2023 “Lessons & Legacies” conference in Prague, Czech Republic. 

Hiromi Ishizawa and Ivy Ken represented the GW Sociology Department in the American Sociological Association’s William T. Grant Foundation-funded project, “Shifting the Academic Ecology to Support Community Engaged Scholarship.”

Michelle Kelso received the 2023 Robert W. Kenny Prize for Innovation in Teaching of Introductory Courses. She is currently on sabbatical while she works on her grant for an impact evaluation with Zoe Empowers in Kenya, Rwanda and Zimbabwe.

Ivy Ken, along with GW alumnus K. Sebastian León, MA ’13, (Criminology), presented a paper titled “Labor Regimes in Meatpacking: Corporate Immigration Strategies” at the International Conference on Food Studies meetings at the University of Guadalajara in Jalisco, Mexico. Drs. Ken and León also presented a paper on meatpacking at the American Sociological Association meetings in Philadelphia and at the Eastern Sociological Society meetings in Baltimore. Dr. Ken was also awarded a course development grant from the GW Global Food Institute for a new sociology course entitled Food and Workers of the World, which will become part of the policy-focused curriculum for the CCAS minor in Global Food Studies.

Xolela Mangcu took a sabbatical in fall 2023 to work on his biography of Archbishop Desmond Tutu at the Center for Life Writing, Wolfson College, University of Oxford.

Gregory Squires authored the article “Supreme Court’s pursuit of ‘colorblindness’ will perpetuate racial inequality’’ for The Baltimore Sun. This year he also received the 2023 Marilyn J. Gittell Activist Scholar Award from the Urban Affairs Association.

Eiko Strader co-authored the article “Beyond social equity: Talking social justice in public administration” in Public Administration Review.

Steve Tuch published four new articles this year, including a co-authored piece titled “Racial Attitudes in the Deep South: Persistence and Change at the University of Alabama, 1963-2013.”

Zimife Umeh presented her research paper “‘I don’t want them to see me like that’: Negotiating motherhood through prison visitation” at a GW Sociology Department-sponsored sociology research discussion. 

Kathryne Young was elected secretary of the Law & Society Association. She is also a visiting scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation in New York and has published an article in the Utah Law Review titled, “An Intersectional Examination of U.S. Civil Justice Problems.”


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Student Kudos

Congratulations to our students who published their theses, including: 

  • Rebecca Amadi, “Taking Root Among the Tweets: Content Analysis of #Afrofuturism on Twitter.”
  • Brianna Anderson, “Perspectives on Contemporary Plea Bargaining: A Washington, D.C. Case Study.”
  • Brooke Axelrod, “The Many Narratives of Emmett Till: A Case Study of Responses to the Lynching of Emmett Till.”
  • Allyson Clark, “Social Media and Mental Illness Identity Formation: The Role of Community Culture and Misinformation.”
  • Evan Douglas, “American Perceptions of Police Use of Force: A Mid-Atlantic Region Survey.”
  • Zhaoyi Fang, “Cozy Games: How COVID-19 Affected Game Playing Among College Students.”
  • Raina Hackett, “Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm and the Expansion of Food Assistance – An Intersectional Analysis of the Special Supplemental Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).”
  • Xiahan Ma, “College Major Selection Among Non-Traditional Asian Students in the U.S.”
  • Minjung Park, “Testing in the United States Military: The Examination of Colorblindness in the Armed Forces Qualification Test.”
  • Landi Peart, “Addressing Adverse Childhood Experiences and Incorporating Public Health Approaches to Challenge Youth Crime and Violence in Jamaica.”
  • Jasmine Sanders, “When the Other Comes Together: Black Women in the United States Air Force.”
  • Victoria Tensi, “‘Taking Every Thought Captive:’ A Microanalysis of How Control Mechanisms Operate Within Evangelical Purity Culture.”
  • Cristina Valianatos, “Sex Trafficking in the Media: How U.S. Newspapers Narrate This Social Issue.”

Senior James Bishop IV (Sociology) was named First Team All-Conference for his basketball performance this season. 

Calvina Coleman and Citlali Mota-Gutierrez both received high honors on their policing comprehensive examination.

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Alumni Class Notes

  • David Deitz, BA ’98, is in his 22nd year of service at the Camden County Prosecutor's Office in Camden, N.J., where he is the section chief of the major crimes unit. He lives with his wife and three daughters in Cherry Hill, NJ.
  • Laura Gonzalez, BA ’20, is the language access program support specialist at the D.C. Office of Human Rights. 
  • Maley Hunt, BA ’13, is the chief operating officer at LiveWell, an organization focused on redefining life with dementia. 
  • Paul Klevan, BA ’85, is leading the performance based logistics center of excellence as division director for the U.S. Department of the Navy and celebrating 35 years of civilian service working for the U.S. Department of Defense. 
  • Jonathan Moore, BA ’08, is the founder and director of Contemporary Art gallery, Jonathan Carver Moore in San Francisco. Operating through Black queer lens, his programming focuses on highlighting emerging and established artists who are women, BIPOC and LGBTQ. 
  • Emily Packer, BA ’08, is the founder of Coldharbour Tiles, which manufactures wall and floor tiles from recycled plastic fishing nets. 
  • Yvonne Orji, BA ’05, MPH ’08, a GW Monumental Alumni, signed a two-year first-look deal with Sony Pictures Television to develop scripted drama and comedy series for cable and streaming platforms.
  • Chummong Saeger, MA ’97, joined the Foreign Service in 2008 and served in Jakarta, Taipei, Kabul, Singapore and Washington, D.C. She is the management officer at the U.S. Embassy in Port Moresby.
  • Nanting Shi, BA ’22, is pursuing her graduate studies at Johns Hopkins University, and is a human resources  professional at a consulting company.
  • Kasey Stelweck, BA ’08, is a site relationship manager with Merch, Sharp & Dohme, consulting with organizations regarding clinical trials.
  • Hazel Weiser, BA ’70, just completed a statewide survey of the status of voting in each county jail throughout New York State.

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