Congratulations to Maria Valdovinos Olson, a doctoral candidate in the Sociology program and research affiliate at the Movement Engaged Research Hub in the Center for Social Science Research.
Maria was recently selected by Arizona State University, New College to receive a National Science Foundation Law and Science Dissertation Grant Award. The Law and Science Dissertation Grant supports dissertation research projects that will advance scientific theory and understanding of the connections between human behavior and law, legal institutions, or legal processes.
Maria has also been selected as the recipient of the 2022 American Society of Criminology, Division on Corrections and Sentencing Dissertation Scholarship Award. The award recognizes students who are working on a dissertation with the potential to make a unique and important contribution to the field of corrections and sentencing.
Maria’s dissertation addresses the question of how existing and envisioned institutions, systems, and policies can best organize the provision of supportive services and care for the incarcerated/formerly incarcerated with a focus on the transitional yet extremely consequential period between pre-release, entry into community corrections, and eventual release into the community. Her dissertation committee is chaired by John G. Dale and includes Amy L. Best and James C. Witte.
Dr. Sean Doody completed his dissertation titled "Mapping Discourse in the Intellectual Dark Web: A Critical Computational Sociology" under the primary guidance of Dr. John Dale. The dissertation studies an online fan community (“subreddit”) of the so-called “Intellectual Dark Web” (IDW) on the social media platform Reddit to understand the social and epistemological significance of the IDW within the social setting of what Jodi Dean calls “communicative capitalism.” Using deep neural language models, a novel topic modeling algorithm (BERTopic), and qualitative content analysis, this research offers a discursive mapping of the social, cultural, and political issues structuring discourse on the IDW subreddit. Across a sample of more than 400,000 Reddit comments, my exploratory topic model discovers 114 topics nested within 10 topical categories: Culture Wars; Governance & Political Institutions; IDW-Related; Platforms, Media & Information; Political Economy; Political Ideologies; Race & Ethnicity; Science, Knowledge & Epistemology; and Sex & Gender. Emergent from these ten categories are three overarching meta-themes: Sensemaking in Communicative Capitalism; Identity, Ideologies, and Social Justice; and Crises of Civilization. Through my mixed methods analysis, I argue that the chief social significance of the IDW is based in how, through its discourses, criticisms, and “sensemaking” practices, it provides a sense of reality to its constituents amidst the profound epistemic pessimism and social distrust foundational to communicative capitalism.
Dr. Ivan Kislenko completed his dissertation titled "The Idea of Global Sociology in The International Sociological Agenda: Unity and Diversity of Interpretations". He holds an MA in Sociology from Lomonosov Moscow State University and, now, a PhD from HSE University (Moscow, Russia) and Ghent University (Ghent, Belgium). Ivan was also a Fulbright Affiliate Research Fellow at George Mason University (2021-2022) and an Affiliate of the Movement Engaged Research Hub.