About Us

Seth Abrutyn is an Assistant Professor of sociology at the University of British Columbia. As a theorist, his principle aims are to deepen our understanding of the links between community/group-level culture and the social psychology of those inhabiting that culture. In particular, his current research focuses on how sociological research on suicide can benefit from the integration of cultural, emotional, and social psychological approaches to the conventional structural approaches. Beyond suicide, is interested in how collective actors (called institutional entrepreneurs) carve out discrete physical, temporal, social, and symbolic space through moral discourse.

Jacob Foster is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at UCLA. He is interested in the birth, life, and death of ideas. How are new ideas born? Why do some spread? What role do ideas play in organizing social structures? And how do social structures affect the genesis, diffusion, and ultimate extinction of ideas? His empirical work focuses on computational approaches to the sociology of science. He blends network analysis, complex systems thinking, and data-driven probabilistic modeling with the qualitative insights of the science studies literature to probe the strategies, dispositions, and social processes that shape the production and persistence of scientific ideas. He also develops formal models of scientific behavior and the evolutionary dynamics of ideas and institutions. Fundamentally, He aims to understand the social world as constituted by, and constitutive of, ideas, beliefs, and practices. Science provides an excellent “model organism” for this endeavor. His approach is strongly informed by research on complex systems and biological and cultural evolution.

Peter Hart-Brison is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Hired as part of the Blugold Commitment, I began teaching at UWEC in Fall 2012. Prior to joining the faculty at Eau Claire, I taught at Grinnell College for two years and at UW-Madison during graduate school. I earned my Ph.D. in Sociology from UW-Madison in 2010 with a minor in Journalism and Mass Communication.

Omar Lizardo is LeRoy Neiman Term Chair Professor of Sociology at UCLA. He does empirical and theoretical work at the intersection of multiple fields, including cultural analysis, cognitive social science, historical sociology, the dynamics of cultural change, consumption studies, social theory, and network science. More specifically, my work deals with general issues in classical and contemporary social theory including the theory of action cultural theory, theorizing the connection between social position and cultural taste and culture and cognition research. The main focus of my research seeks to connect issues related to cultural change (at the individual and institutional levels) with changes in social structure and dynamics of cultural stratification and inequality.

Michael Strand is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Brandeis. His research and teaching interests range from classical and contemporary social theory to the philosophy of social science, culture, morality, knowledge, and economic sociology. Among other projects, he is attempting to develop new (and empirically useful) understandings of two fundamental concepts in sociological research: action and models. He’s also interested in mining the critical insights available at the intersection of field theory and theories of power. Finally, he is trying to contemplate all possible meanings of the phrase: “that may be true in theory, but it is of no use in practice.”

Dustin S. Stoltz is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame and a Doctoral Affiliate with the Kellogg Institute for International Studies. His interests lie at the intersection of economic sociology and the sociology of culture, falling into two broad (interrelated) projects: the production, distribution, consumption and consequences of ideas, and the cognitive, material, and social processes underlying the evaluations of cultural products and economic activity. His dissertation analyzes professional services firms through the lens of cultural production. Using interviews and computational methods, he investigates how implicit culture shapes discourse and ideas about the economy, and how networks and institutions structure the acquisition and distribution of such implicit culture among those in this elite field.

Marshall A. Taylor is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame and a Doctoral Affiliate with the Kellogg Institute for International Studies. His research rests at the intersection of culture and cognition, social movements, and computational social science. His dissertation focuses on theorizing and empirically examining the mechanisms through which white nationalist organizations in the U.S. South distribute their attention to various grievances and to other members of their social movement field.

Michael Lee Wood is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame and an affiliate of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society. He studies topics relating to culture, cognition, and religion. His dissertation develops a dynamic theory of culture in reasoning and investigates variation in reasoning using a variety of computational and qualitative approaches.