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Letter from the Department Head

Welcome to our revised webpage including this, our department’s first electronic newsletter.  For the Department of Sociology and Anthropology 2009-2010 was a banner year.  Our year began with the addition of four assistant professors—two anthropologists and two sociologists.   

Dr. Richard Lawler, Ph.D., Yale University, is a biological anthropologist with expertise in primate behavioral ecology, population genetics, and evolutionary theory. 

Dr. Joshua Linder, Ph.D., City University of New York, is a biological anthropologist with expertise in primate ecology, conservation biology, tropical forest ecology and protected area management. 

Joining the sociology faculty are Drs. Kerry Dobransky and Matthew Ezzell. 


Dr. Kerry Dobranksy, Ph.D., Northwestern University, specializes in medical sociology, sociology of mental health, health/social policy, qualitative and historical methods. 

Dr. Matthew Ezzell, Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has expertise in symbolic interaction, social psychology, race/class/gender inequality, sociology of education and qualitative methods.

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Profiled Students: Emily and Cory

Emily Dollieslager is currently a junior Sociology major and Vice President of the Sociology Club.  A Virginia native, Emily originally majored in Art.  She decided to major in Sociology after taking the class Social Issues with Professor Beth Eck.  When asked what she likes most about sociology, Emily replies that she likes sociological theory. At JMU, she is also a member of JMU Democrats.  Emily’s future plans are to pursue an advanced degree in Sociology or Education.

Originally from Yorktown, VA, Cory Caswell is a junior double-major in Sociology and Psychology. As the President of the JMU Sociology Club, he hopes to recruit new members to the organization, get people active on campus and beyond, and foster a love for sociology and sociological inquiry. Cory’s passion for sociology grew out of his course-work at JMU, and he feels particularly drawn to Conflict Theory and Symbolic Interactionism as ways of engaging the world around him. He notes: “I appreciate sociology because it provides theoretical and evaluative tools that allow you to take a step back and make sense of the world. Sociology helps you to make sense of macro and micro processes. It’s enlightening.” Cory hopes to pursue a PhD in sociology following his time at JMU.

Student Presentations at Conferences

Alexander Davis, Laura Rogers and Bethany Bryson authored a paper  titled “Own It!: Gender Actualization in Reality Makeover Shows,”  which was presented (by Alex and Laura) at the American Sociological  Association Meetings August, 2009 in San Francisco. The paper is now under review at Gender and Society.

Alexander Davis presented a paper titled, “Epiphenomenology of the Closet: The Multiplicity of Gender Identities in Everyday Life,” at the  American Sociological Association Meetings August, 2009 in San Francisco.

Laura Rogers presented her paper titled “Helping Others?: Boundary Formation among Volunteers Working with the Homeless” at the American  Sociological Association Meetings August, 2009 in San Francisco.

Alicia Breig, Christine Clarke, Jessie Dodson (with Dr. Stephen Poulson) presented a paper titled, “The Logic of  Ethnic and Religious Violence in Iraq” at the Human Rights, International Law and Collective Violence Conference, April 2009, Davis and Elkins College, Elkins WV.

Profiled Alumni: Clint Curti

After graduating from JMU, I accepted a job with an international conservation organization called RARE.  At RARE, I worked as an administrative assistant and was afforded several opportunities to travel internationally, work with donors, and contribute to the development and rollout of several projects and programs.  After working in the conservation sector for two years, I decided I wanted to pursue a career with a more humanistic base.

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Profiled Faculty: Kerry Dobransky

Kerry Dobransky started teaching at James Madison in the fall of 2009.  He conducted his graduate studies at Northwestern, specializing in medical sociology—more specifically, the social construction of mental illness and treatment. Other areas of interest include cultural sociology, the sociology of organizations, and information and communication technology.

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Profiled Faculty: Clarence Geier

Clarence Geier is the senior editor, in collaboration with Douglas Scott recently retired from the National Park Service, Lawrence Babits from East Carolina University and David Orr from Temple University, of a book titled The Historical Archaeology of Military Sites, to be published by Texas A&M University Press in 2010.

Clarence and JMU students are also winding up a large project of interpreting a 154 acre section of the Battle for Cedar Creek in Frederick County. They recovered two sections of Union encampment and gathered data to interpret the course of the battle.

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Faculty Editors for Visual Anthropology Review

Liam Buckley and Laura Lewis

Two cultural anthropologists are the latest James Madison University faculty members to join the ranks of editors of scholarly journals with national or international audiences.

Assistant Professor Liam Buckley and Professor Laura A. Lewis are at the helm of six issues of Visual Anthropology Review, which they will edit during a three-year term. Their initial issue was published this spring.

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Recent Faculty Articles / Book Chapters

Recent Faculty Books

Recent Faculty Awards



On-Going Field Schools

Dominica, Kenya, Montpelier, New Mexico

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