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Two New Tenure-Track Professors to Join Sociology Department

The offices of the Sociology Department are located in William James Hall.
The offices of the Sociology Department are located in William James Hall. By Helen Y. Wu
By Cecilia R. D'Arms, Crimson Staff Writer

Assistant professors Joscha Legewie from Yale and Ellis P. Monk Jr. from Princeton will join Harvard's Sociology department as tenure-track professors in fall 2018, the department announced late last week.

Department Chair Jason Beckfield emailed department colleagues to announce the new hires, calling the duo a “smashing team win.”

“I’m really excited about both of them,” Beckfield said in an interview. “They’re two just fantastic new faculty members who are going to be joining us.”

Legewie studies social inequality, education, and criminal justice and focuses on “big data.” Monk researches race and inequality in the United States and Brazil. The two said their research overlaps and they are excited about the possibility of collaborating while at Harvard, something they have discussed in the past.

Legewie’s current research focuses on the impacts of “zero-tolerance policing” on the educational success of minority male youth. He explores how aggressive policing can foster educational disparities and distrust towards state institutions among minority communities.

Legewie said he hopes to teach undergraduate courses on the sociology of education, examining how education reduces or increases social inequality. He also hopes to teach a data and methods course on the growing field of big data in sociology.

Monk’s current research contrasts racial inequality in the U.S. and Brazil. He focuses primarily on a sociological concept called “bodily capital,” which he described as the relationship between the physical body, social categories, identity, and inequality.

Monk said he plans to teach a course on conceptions of race around the world.

“The main idea behind the course is to understand how racial inequality works in the U.S.,” Monk said. “It’s important to put the U.S. in global comparative contexts, so then we can understand what’s truly unique about the U.S.”

Legewie and Monk both said they were drawn to Harvard by the size and intellectual diversity of the University’s research community, as well as the Sociology department.

Monk also stressed the opportunity for interdisciplinary collaboration with graduate schools and the African and African-American Studies department, where he hopes to cross-list some of his courses.

“There’s so many connections; it is such an exciting opportunity for me,” he added.

Sociology Professor and chair of the faculty search committee Robert J. Sampson said the department chose Legewie and Monk from a pool of several hundred applicants. He said one of the committee’s priorities was selecting candidates who take teaching very seriously.

“These are rising stars in the discipline in our opinion, so we’re really thrilled that they’ve accepted the job,” Sampson said. “Harvard students will be lucky.”


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