Recent Faculty Publications


Fordahl, Clayton and Berglind Ragnarsdottir. Forthcoming. "When the Gods Fall: Varieties of Post-Secularization in a Small, Secularized State." Politics & Religion. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S1755048320000516



Fordahl, Clayton. 2020. "Dealing with Dysnomia: Strategies for the Cultivation of Used Concepts in Social Research." British Journal of Sociology, 71(5): 1031-1043.

Vogelsang, Eric and Joseph T. Lariscy. 2020. Let's Drink to Being Socially Active: Family Characteristics, Social Participation, and Alcohol Abuse across Mid- and Later-Life. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 61(4): 453-469.

Terrell, Kimberly and Wesley James. 2020. "Racial Disparities in Air Pollution Burden and COVID-19 Deaths in Louisiana, USA, in the Context of Long-Term Changes in Fine Particulate Pollution." Environmental Pollution: Forthcoming. https://doi.org/10.1089/env.2020.0021 

King, Christopher, Anna Church, Wesley James, Rhonda Okoth, and Karen Matthews. 2020. "Birthweight Outcomes for non-Hispanic Black Women in a Home Visiting Program in Rural Mississippi: Observations from the Field." Population and Public
Policy, Springer Publishing Company: Forthcoming.

Campbell, Mary, Emily Holmes, Wesley James, and Karen Matthews. 2020. "Sow, Grow, Know, and Show: The Impact of School Gardens on Student Self-Perception in the Mississippi Delta." Ecology of Food and Nutrition: Forthcoming.

Kedia, Satish, Patrick J. Dillon, Yu Jiang, Wesley James, Andy Collins, and Soumitra S. Bhuyan. 2020. "The Association Between Substance Use and Violence: Results from a Nationally Representative Sample of High School Students in the United States." Community Mental Health Journal: Forthcoming.

Bennett, Jonathan, Chelsea Joyner, Christopher King, Wesley James, and Karen Matthews. 2020. "Teen pregnancy programs and their lasting effects in teens: evidence from a collaborative in the Mississippi Delta." Population and Public Policy, Springer Publishing Company: Forthcoming.

James, Wesley, Julia Wolf and Jeralynn Cossman. 2020. "Characteristics of Persistently Unhealthy Counties: A Comparison of White and Black Mortality Over Time." The Social Science Journal, 57(1): 115-119, doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.soscij.2019.01.005.

Laybourn, SunAh M. 2020. "Adopting the Model Minority Myth: Korean Adoption as a Racial Project." Social Problems DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/socpro/spz060

Laybourn, SunAh M. 2020. "Reframing Adoptee Narratives: Korean Adoptee Identity and Culture in Twinsters and aka SEOUL." Racialized Media: The Design, Delivery, and Decoding of Race and Ethnicity, edited by M.W. Hughey and E. Lesser. NY, NY: New York University Press.

Khalsa, Simranjit, Brenton Kalinowski, and Elaine Howard Ecklund. 2020. "Understanding Religion: Indian Scientists Definitions of Religion and Spirituality," Religions 11(7): 355 https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11070355

Fordahl, Clayton. (2020). Political Performance, Profanation, and Mundane Interaction: A Revised Cultural Sociology of the 2016 American Presidential Election. International Journal of Politics, Culture & Society https://doi.org/10.1007/s10767-020-09349-5

Fordahl, Clayton. (2020). Lions and Foxes: Revisiting Pareto's Bestiary for the Age of Late Pluto-Democracy. Distinktion: A Journal of Social Theory, DOI: 10.1080/1600910X.2020.1752274.

Fordahl, Clayton. (2020). The Ultimate Sacrifice: Martyrdom, Sovereignty and Secularization in the West. Routledge.

Fatema, Kaniz and Joseph T. Lariscy. (2020). Mass Media Exposure and Maternal Healthcare Utilization in South Asia. Social Science & Medicine–Population Health 11: 100614.

Lariscy, Joseph T., Robert A. Hummer, and Richard G. Rogers. (2020). Lung Cancer Mortality among Never-Smokers in the United States: Estimating Smoking-Attributable Mortality with Nationally Representative Data. Annals of Epidemiology 45: 5–11.

Lariscy, Joseph T., Samia Tasmim, and Sarah Collins. 2020. "Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health." In Encyclopedia of Gerontology and Population Aging. Danan Gu and Matthew E. Dupre (eds.). Springer Nature Switzerland AG.



Taylor, Colby, Jonathan Bennett, Christopher King, Wesley James, and Karen Matthews. 2019. "Lasting promise: long-term effects of a transition-to-kindergarten program." Perspectives on Early Childhood Psychology and Education, 4(2), 117-146.

Stone Jr., A. J., & Rambo, C. (2019). "Surviving racism and genocide: Native American caricature iconography and racial formation projects." Studies in Symbolic Interaction.

Wang, Junmin. 2019. "Legal Unfairness, Entrepreneurship and Innovation in China." Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship, Vol. 24, No.3. DOI: 10.1142/S1084946719500195.

James, Wesley, Julia Wolf and Jeralynn Cossman. 2019. Characteristics of Persistently Unhealthy Counties: A Comparison of White and Black Mortality Over Time. The Social Science Journal, doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.soscij.2019.01.005.  

Cosby, Arthur, Maya McDoom, Wesley James, Hasna Khandekar, Willie Brown, and Heather Hanna. 2019. Growth and Persistence of Place-Based Mortality in the United States: The Rural Mortality Penalty. American Journal of Public Health, 109(1): 155-162, doi:10.2105/AJPH.2018.304787.

James, Wesley, Jeralynn Cossman and Julia Wolf. 2019. The Ultimate Inequality: Vast Mortality Disparities across U.S. Regions. N-IUSSP, http://www.niussp.org/.

Lariscy, Joseph T. (2019). Smoking-Attributable Mortality by Cause of Death in the United States: An Indirect Approach. Social Science & Medicine–Population Health.

Brown, Dustin C., Joseph T. Lariscy, and Lucie Kalousová. (2019). Comparability of Mortality Estimates from Social Surveys and Vital Statistics Data in the United States. Population Research and Policy Review 38(3): 371–401.

Winstead, Kevin and Wendy Marie Laybourn. 2019. "Teaching Black Social Movements through #BlackLivesMatter: Twitter as a Lab, Knowledge Bank, and Field." Pp. 65-78 in Critical Intersections in Contemporary Curriculum and Pedagogy, edited by L.M. Jewett, F. Calderon-Berumen, and M. Espinosa-Dulanto. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Rambo, C., Presson, B., Gaines, V. L., & Barnes, B. (2019). Autoethnography as a research method in the study of social problems. In A. Marvasti & J. Trevino (Eds.), Research methods in social problems (Pp. 122-138). Routledge/Taylor and Francis Group: London.

Peterson, Gretchen. 2019. "Chapter 6: Social Psychology of Sports." Pgs. 137-156 in The Business and Culture of Sports, Society, Politics, Economy, Environment, vol. 1, edited by J. Maguire, M. Falcous, & K. Liston. Farmington Hills, MI: Macmillan Reference USA. Retrieved from https://link.gale.com/apps/pub/8OCX/GVRL?u=bcsdemo&sid=GVRL

Peterson, Gretchen. 2019. "Developing an Awareness of Emotion Management Strategies to Support Athlete Success." Strength and Conditioning Journal, 41(2):3-7.

Brian Gillespie, Gretchen Peterson, and Janet Lever. 2019. "Gendered perceptions of fairness in housework and shared expenses: Implications for relationship satisfaction and sex frequency". PLoS ONE 14(3): e0214204. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0214204.


James, Wesley, Jeralynn Cossman and Julia Wolf. 2018. Persistence of Death in the United States: The Remarkably Different Mortality Patterns between America's Heartland and Dixieland. Demographic Research, 39(33): 897-910, doi:10.4054/DemRes.2018.39.33.

Lariscy, Joseph T., Robert A. Hummer, and Richard G. Rogers. (2018). Cigarette Smoking and All-Cause and Cause-Specific Adult Mortality in the United States. Demography, 55(5):1855-1885.

Laybourn, Wendy Marie and Devon R. Goss. Diversity in Black Greek-Letter Organizations: Breaking the Line. Routledge.

Loren, Degan and Carol Rambo. 2018. "God Smites You!:Atheists' Experiences of Stigma, Identity Politics and Queerness." Deviant Behavior.

Smith, Darron and Cardell Jacobsen. 2018. "Differences in salaries of physician assistants in the USA by race, ethnicity, and sex." Journal of Health Services Research and Policy, 23(1): 44-48.

Wang, Junmin. 2018. “The State as a Vehicle of Technological Change: Economic Openness, Technological Catching-up, and Indigenous Innovation in Chinese Firms.” Perspectives on Global Development and Technology. Vol. 17 (4): 373-407.

Wang, Junmin, Yanlong Zhang, and Doug Guthrie. 2018. “Economic Openness and Institutional Embeddedness: Global Capital and Firm Performance in China’s Stock Market.” Social Science Quarterly. Vol. 99 (2): 807-828 

Wang, Junmin. 2018. Book Review of Management and Organizations in Transitional China By Yanlong Zhang and Lisa Keister (Routledge). Contemporary Sociology. Vol. 47 (2).


Binnix, Taylor M., Carol Rambo, Seth Abrutyn, and Anna S. Mueller. 2017. "The Dialectics of Stigma, Silence, and Misunderstanding in Suicidality Survival Narratives." Deviant Behavior, 39(8):1095-1106.

Cossman, Jeralynn, Wesley James, and Julia Wolf. 2017. The Differential Effects of Rural Health Care Access on Race-Specific Mortality. Social Science and Medicine – Public Health, 3: 618-623, doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssmph.2017.07.013.

Ellis, C., Bochner, A., Rambo, C., Berry, K., Shakespeare, H., Gingrich-Philbrook, C., Adams, T., Rinehart, R., & Bolen, D. (2017). Coming unhinged: A twice-told multivoiced autoethnography. Qualitative Inquiry, 23(1), 1-15.

James, Wesley, Peter Albrecht, Karen Matthews, and Anna Church. 2017. "Improving the Health of Rural America's Chronically Ill: A Case Study of a PCMH Clinic in Mississippi." Population Health Management, 21(1):83, doi:1089/pop.2017.0054.

James, Wesley, Karen Matthews, Peter Albrecht, Shelby Fox, and Anna Church. 2017. "Evidence of a Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Improving the Health of Chronically Ill Patients in the Mississippi Delta." Journal of Preventative Medicine and Care, 1(4), doi:10.14302/issn.2474-3585.jpmc-17-1449.

James, Wesley and Jeralynn Cossman. 2017. "Long Term Trends in Black and White Mortality in the Rural United States: Evidence of a Race-Specific Rural Mortality Penalty." The Journal of Rural Health, 33: 21-31, doi:10.1111/jrh.12181.

Lariscy, Joseph T. 2017. Black-White Disparities in Adult Mortality: Implications of Differential Record Linkage for Understanding the Mortality Crossover. Population Research and Policy Review 36(1): 137–156.

Peterson, Gretchen.2017.“One Shining Moment” – NCAA March Madness and Male Emotional Expression. Engaging Sports: North American Society for the Sociology of Sports Blog.

Wang, Junmin. 2017. Book Review of The Politics of Innovation: Why Some Countries are Better than Others at Science & Technology By Mark Zachary Taylor (Oxford University Press). Social Forces, Vol. 96 (1).


Lariscy, Joseph T., Claudia Nau, Glenn Firebaugh, and Robert A. Hummer. 2016. Hispanic‑White Differences in Lifespan Variability in the United States. Demography 53(1): 215–239.

Wang, Junmin. 2016. “Taking the ‘Red Hat’ off Chinese Private Entrepreneurs: Institutional Dependents, Innovative Collaborators, and Political Opponents.” Sociology of Development. Vol. 2 (3): 293-321


Guthrie, Doug, Zhixing Xiao, and Junmin Wang. 2015. “Stability, Asset Management, and Gradual Change in China’s Reform Economy.” In China’s State Capitalism: Growth and Crisis, edited by Kellee Tsai and Barry Naughton. New York: Cambridge University Press. Pp. 75-101.

Abrutyn, Seth. 2015. "Pollution-Purification Rituals, Cultural Memory, and the Evolution of Religion: How Collective Trauma Shaped Ancient Israel." American Journal of Cultural Sociology 3(1):123-155.

Abrutyn, Seth. 2015. "The Institutional Evolution of Religion: Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Ancient Israel." Religion. DOI:10.1080/0048721X.2015.1009864

Abrutyn, Seth and Justin Van Ness. 2015. "Institutional Entrepreneurship as Sociocultural Analogy to Biological Mutation: Considering One Source of Institutional Evolution." Thesis Eleven 127: 52-77. 

Lawrence, Kirk and Seth Abrutyn. 2015. "The Degradation of Nature and the Growth of Environmental Concern: Toward a Theory of the Capture and Limits of Ecological Value." Human Ecology Review 21(1):87-108.

Mueller, Anna S., Seth Abrutyn, and Cynthia Stockton. 2015. "Can Social Ties be Harmful? Examining the Social Dynamics of Suicide Suggestion in Early Adulthood." Sociological Perspectives. Published online first November 17, 2014. DOI: 10.1177/0731121414556544

Mueller, Anna S. and Seth Abrutyn. 2015. "Suicidal Disclosures among Friends: Using Social Network Data to Understand Suicide Contagion." Journal of Health and Social Behavior. 56(1):131-148.

Mueller, Anna S.,Wesley James, Seth Abrutyn, and Martin Levin. 2015. "Suicide Ideation and Bullying among U.S. Adolescents: Examining the Intersections of Sexual Orientation, Gender & Race/Ethnicity" American Journal of Public Health 105(5): 980-985.

Presson, Brittany and Carol Rambo. 2015. "Claiming, Resisting, and Exempting Pathology in the Identities of Self-injurers." Deviant Behavior.

Rambo, Carol. 2015. "Living with Parents with Intellectual Disability: Ambiguity and the Role of Social Services and Support." International Journal of Crime, Criminal Justice, and Law.

Rushing, Wanda. 2015. "Regionalism." Critical Terms for Southern Studies, eds. Jennifer Rae Greeson and Scott Romine. Athens: The University of Georgia Press.

Recent Sociology Faculty Awards and Honors

Bamford, Melissa

  • Distinguished Teaching Award, sponsored by The University of Memphis Alumni Association, 2019.


James, Wesley

  • Evaluate Impact of Indianola Promise Neighborhood Program. Principal Investigator, Wesley James. Funded by Delta Health Alliance, Stoneville, MS. $750,289. July 2018-June 2020.
  • Dr. Wes James and colleagues had their paper on "Persistence of death in the United States: The remarkably different mortality patterns between America's Heartland and Dixieland" in the journal, Demographic Research, selected as one of the top papers of 2018. The paper has been honored with the Editor's Choice designation.
  • Invited Speaker at Auburn University Health and Social Equity Speaker Series, Sponsored by Center for Health Equity and Environmental Research, Auburn University.  "Spatial Disparities in Mortality: The Importance of Place on the Ultimate Health
    Outcome." April 2019.
  • Invited Panelist at Strategic Session, Reimagine Louisiana, by Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy, Gulf Restoration Network, and No Waste Louisiana. New Orleans, LA.  "Unequal Magnitude of Exposure to Environmental Toxins in Cancer Alley, LA." February 2019.
  • 2017 Invited Panelist at the National Cancer Institute, Gaithersburg, MD. "Understanding Definitions of Rural/Rurality: Implications for Rural Cancer Control." October 2017.
  • 2017 Invited Panelist at a Congressional Briefing on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., sponsored by Population Association of America. "Small Towns/Big Changes: The Shifting Demographics of Rural America: Health and Mortality." April 2017.
  • College of Arts & Sciences Travel Enrichment Award, University of Memphis, 2010.
  • Sociology Doctoral Student of the Year, Mississippi State University, 2009
  • SSRC Research Fellow Award. Social Science Research Center, Mississippi State University, 2008
  • Population Association of America Poster of Excellence Award, 2006
  • Graduate Student Paper of Distinction Award: "Conversation of Gestures of Significant Symbols? An Analysis of Boxing." Mid-South Sociological Association. Atlanta, GA, 2005
  • Centers and Institutes Graduate Student Research Award Recipient. Mississippi State University, 2005
  • Population Association of America Poster of Excellence Award, 2004
  • Population Association of America Poster of Excellence Award, 2003


Levin, Martin L.

  • Distinguished Service Award, [first recipient], Southern Sociological Society, 2003.
  • The Distinguished Service Award of the Southern Sociological Society was renamed the Martin L. Levin Distinguished Service Award, 2004.
  • Population Association of America Poster of Excellence Award, 2002

Murphy, Kendra

  • W. Russell Smith Award for Teaching Excellence, 2017
  • CAS Dean's Award for Advising Excellence, 2016
  • Distinguished Teaching Award, sponsored by the University of Memphis Alumni Association, 2014
  • CAS Award for Teaching Excellence, 2013


Preston, Jim

  • Alma Bucovaz Advising Award, University College, University of Memphis, 2006.

Rambo, Carol

  • Distinguished Teaching Award, sponsored by The University of Memphis Alumni Association, 2018.
  • Editor, Symbolic Interaction, January 2007-11.
  • Course Redesign Fellowship, University of Memphis, Summer 2010.
  • Norman Denzin, Qualitative Research Award, Carl Couch Center for Research on Internet and Culture, University of Illinois, Urbana, 2007.
  • W. Russell Smith Teaching Award, University of Memphis, 2005.

Rushing, Wanda

  • President-Elect, Sociologists for Women in Society, 2014
  • Dunavant University Professor, August 2011
  • College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Research Award (CASDRA), University of Memphis, 2010
  • Finalist for the Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award, University of Memphis, 2005.
  • Faculty Fellow, Technology Fellowship Program, Advanced Learning Center, FedEx Institute of Technology, University of Memphis, 2004-05.
  • Alma Bucovaz Urban Research and Service Award, University College, University of Memphis, 2006.
  • Finalist for the Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award, University of Memphis, 2005.

Ventimiglia, Joseph

  • W. Russell Smith Award for Teaching Excellence, August 2010

Wang, Junmin

  • Faculty Research Grant in Social Sciences, Business and Law of University of Memphis (2016-2017)
  • Junmin Wang (PI) and Doug Guthrie (Co-PI). "Making Global Capital Work: Economic Openness and Corporate Governance in Chinese Capital Markets." National Science Foundation, Science of Organizations Program (2012-2014)
  • The Early Career Research Award, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Memphis (2013)
  • Faculty Research Grant in Social Sciences, Business and Law of University of Memphis (2009-2010)
  • The MPSA Conference Scholarship of Midwest Political Science Association (2008)
  • Post-Doctoral Fellowship in China's Political Economy of Indiana University (2007-2008)
  • The Dennis Wrong Award of the Best Graduate Student Paper (2006)
  • Dissertation Improvement Award of National Science Foundation (2005-2006)
  • GSAS Pre-Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship of New York University(2003)
  • Henry M. MacCracken Fellowship of New York University (2000-2005)