31 Social Scientists Join the Faculty of the Division

Dean's Office

The Division of the Social Sciences welcomes 31 new faculty members, ranking from assistant professor to professor. This sizable cohort represents an impressive range of expertise in many fields and methodologies. Please welcome our newest additions to the Division of the Social Sciences:

Ufuk Akcigit, Assistant Professor
Department of Economics

Ufuk Akcigit visited the Becker Friedman Institute for Research in Economics during the fall quarter of 2014, spent winter and spring quarters as a visitor with the Department of Economics, and then joined its faculty as an assistant professor. His research centers on economic growth, the economics of innovation, and technological innovation. Recent papers focused on taxation and the international mobility of inventors, and on transitions to clean technology. Akcigit serves as a faculty research fellow in the National Bureau of Economic Research and has worked for the World Bank. He received his bachelor’s degree in economics from Koc University in Istanbul and his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2009. 

  • Research Foci: Macroeconomics, economic growth, firm dynamics, innovation, entrepreneurship

Ed Awh, Professor
Department of Psychology

Ed Awh is a neuroscientist whose research focuses on the cognitive neuroscience of human attention and memory. Awh’s recent research found evidence of a significant link between the system that controls perceptual selection and the system that actively maintains information in working memory. He is a longtime collaborator of Ed Vogel, also a Professor in the Department of Psychology, with whom he co-leads the Visual Working Memory and Attention Lab. Awh received his PhD from the University of Michigan in 1996.

  • Research Foci: Cognitive neuropsychology (visual working memory–the capacity to actively hold information in mind in service of ongoing thought processes

Kathleen Belew, Assistant Professor
Department of History

Kathleen Belew specializes in the recent history of the United States, examining the long aftermath of warfare. Her first book, Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America (under contract with Harvard University Press), explores how white power activists wrought a cohesive social movement through a common story about the Vietnam War and its weapons, uniforms, and technologies. By uniting previously disparate Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazi, skinhead, and other groups, the movement carried out escalating acts of violence that ricocheted through Latin America, southern Africa, and the United States, revealing white power as a transnational phenomenon. Her MPhil (2008) and PhD (2011) in American studies are from Yale University.

  • Research Foci: 20th century US history, white supremacy movement, race, gender, violence, meaning of war, militarization, ideas of the Apocalypse in American history and culture 

P. Sean Brotherton, Associate Professor
Department of Anthropology

P. Sean Brotherton is a cultural anthropologist whose research and teaching interests are concerned with the critical study of health, medicine, the state, subjectivity, and the body. His theoretical references draw on contemporary social theory and postcolonial studies. Over the past decade, his overarching research questions have sought to weave together historical, epistemological, and ethnographic modes of analysis into a theoretical approach that he calls, “a genealogy of individual bodily practices.” Brotherton’s first book, Revolutionary Medicine: Health and the Body in Post-Soviet Cuba was published by Duke University Press in 2012. Brotherton received his PhD from McGill University in 2004. 

  • Research Foci: Anthropology of medicine, science, technology, and the body; social theory; subjectivity and health; humanitarianism postcoloniality; governmentality; statecraft; theories of post-/ socialism; psychoanalysis/psychological anthropology; Latin America and the Caribbean

Austin Carson, Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science

Austin Carson is a political scientist whose research focus is the politics of secrecy and publicity in international relations. His book project, Facing Off and Saving Face, analyzes the logic of secrecy in external military interventions, showing how states shift to covert forms of intervention to control conflict escalation dynamics. Other research projects explore related themes including the signaling value of covert action, the damage to norm health from publicizing deviance in the international system, new views on secrecy from the sociology of Erving Goffman, and theories of limited war. Carson received his PhD from Ohio State.

  • Research Foci: International relations (how nations use secrecy to mask efforts to influence wars)

Chiara Cordelli, Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science

Chiara Cordelli’s main area of research is contemporary analytical political theory. Her research interests include the relationship between the distributive and relational dimensions of equality; the moral and institutional division of labor between state and civil society in theories of justice; the public/ private distinction in liberal theory; the nature of duties of beneficence and the ethics of philanthropy; and the ethical limits of privatization. Her work has appeared in the Journal of Political Philosophy, Political Studies, British Journal of Political Science, Critical Review of Social and Political Philosophy, and Political Studies Review. She co-edited Philanthropy in Democratic Societies, forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press. Cordelli earned her PhD from University College London in 2011.

  • Research Foci: Political theory (fairness and ‘relationship capital’ in distributive justice)

Michael Dinerstein, Assistant Professor
Department of Economics

Michael Dinerstein is an economist whose research focuses on the economics of education, particularly how schools make decisions and how these decisions affect the schooling market. His research fields include public economics and industrial organization. In 2014, he published a paper titled, “Did the Fiscal Stimulus Work for Universities?” with Caroline Hoxby, Jonathan Meer, and Pablo Villanueva, in How the Financial Crisis and Great Recession Affected Higher Education, edited by Jeffrey Brown and Caroline Hoxby of the University of Chicago Press. He received his PhD from Stanford University in 2015.

  • Research Foci: Industrial organization and education (public finance and school reform)

Robert Gulotty, Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science

Robert Gulotty’s first book project is Governing Trade Beyond Tariffs: The Politics of Multinational Production and Its Implications for International Cooperation. He is also engaged in research on the origins of the international trade regime and the effects of domestic institutions on foreign economic policymaking. This research includes a book project, Opening of the American Market: Rules, Norms and Coalitions, with Judith Goldstein. Gulotty’s work appears in International Organization, The Oxford Handbook of Historical Institutionalism, and The World Trade Report. Gulotty earned his PhD from Stanford University in 2014.

  • Research Foci: International relations, international political economy, political methodology

Kimberly Hoang, Assistant Professor
Department of Sociology

Kimberly Kay Hoang’s research interests center on sociology of gender, globalization, economic sociology, and qualitative methods. A central focus of her work is to understand the gendered dynamics of deal brokering in Southeast Asia’s emerging markets. In 2015, she published the monograph Dealing in Desire: Asian Ascendancy, Western Decline, and the Hidden Currencies of Global Sex Work that examines the mutual construction of masculinities, financial deal-making, and transnational political-economic identities. She is currently conducting research for her second book project, which involves a comparative study of the articulation of inter-Asian flows of capital and foreign investment in Southeast Asia. Hoang received her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley in 2012.

  • Research Foci: Gender and economic development (relationship-building across different economic cultures in Southeast Asia)

Demetra Kasimis, Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science

Demetra Kasimis writes and teaches on the thought and politics of classical Greece and their contemporary receptions, democratic theory, and the literary dimensions of political theoretical texts. She is interested in questions of identity, exclusion, and citizenship, themes she is currently exploring in her book manuscript Classical Greek Theory and the Politics of Immigration. Kasimis has held fellowships from the NEH, ACLS, and Mellon and Fulbright Foundations. She previously taught at Yale as a postdoctoral fellow and at California State University, Long Beach as an assistant professor. She received her PhD from Northwestern University.

  • Research Foci: Political theory (immigration and citizenship rights in ancient political thought and democratic practice)

Thibaut Lamadon, Assistant Professor
Department of Economics

Thibaut Lamadon specializes in labor markets and matching theory. His most recent work examines the effect of productivity shocks on other variables in labor markets. He joined the Department of Economics faculty after spending the 2014-2015 year as a Becker Friedman Institute Research Fellow. In 2011, Lamadon was a visiting student at the Cowles Foundation at Yale University. He was also awarded the Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award at the University College London. As an undergraduate, Lamadon studied electrical and computer engineering at Supelec in his native France. He received his doctorate in economics from the University College London in 2014.

  • Research Foci: macro-labor, equilibrium search, dynamic contracting

Matthew Landauer, AB’04, Assistant Professor

Department of Political Science

Matthew Landauer’s research and teaching interests are in classical political thought, especially Athenian democracy; rhetoric and political counsel; the relationship between science and politics; and democratic theory. His current book project draws on the works of Greek orators, historians, dramatists, and philosophers to analyze the politics of accountability and advice across ancient democratic and autocratic contexts. His research has been published or is forthcoming in journals such as Political Theory, History of Political Thought, and Polis. Landauer earned his PhD from Harvard University’s Department of Government in 2012.

  • Research Foci: Political theory (ancient politics of accountability and formal political institutions)

Jonathan Levy, Associate Professor
Department of History

Jonathan Levy is a historian of economic life in the United States, with interests in the relationships between business and economic history, political economy, legal history, and the history of ideas. Levy’s first book, Freaks of Fortune: The Emerging World of Capitalism and Risk in America (Harvard, 2012), is a history of risk in the United States. The book has a dual focus, tracing the simultaneous rise, in the context of slave emancipation, of a new individualist creed that equated freedom with risk-taking and a new corporate financial system of risk management. Levy earned his PhD from the University of Chicago in 2008.

  • Research Foci: 20th century US history, history of capitalism, history of the corporation, American economic life from colonial settlement to the Recession


Ellis Monk is the Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Chicago and a Population Research Center (PRC) Fellow. His research focuses on the comparative examination of social inequality, particularly with respect to race and ethnicity, in a global perspective. This research uses both quantitative and qualitative methods while drawing heavily upon contemporary theories of social cognition and categories. It deeply engages with issues of measurement and methodology in the study of social inequality and extends into topics such as social demography, health, aging, social psychology, sociology of the body, political sociology, and comparative/historical sociology. He earned his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley in 2013.

  • Research Foci: Race and inequality (intra-racial manifestations of race and their influence on life opportunity in the U.S. and Brazil)

Anna Mueller, Assistant Professor
Department of Comparative Human Development

Anna S. Mueller is a sociologist within the Department of Comparative Human Development and Research Associate at the Population Research Center. Her research examines how social relationships and social contexts shape adolescent health and wellbeing during the transition to adulthood. She is also interested in how schools, as social organizations, shape social relationships and opportunities to learn, thereby affecting the life chances of children. Currently, she has three interrelated research projects on suicide in adolescence. Mueller received her PhD from the University of Texas at Austin in 2011.

  • Research Foci: Sociological theory of suicide, social network analysis and suicide diffusion, mental and physical wellbeing during transition from adolescence to adulthood

John Patty, Professor
Department of Political Science

John Patty is a formal political theorist whose research focuses on political institutions and democratic theory. He is currently co-editor of Journal of Theoretical Politics, as well as serving on the editorial boards of Journal of Politics, Political Analysis, Political Science Research and Methods, and Games. Patty received his PhD in Social Sciences from the California Institute of Technology in 2001.

  • Research Foci: American politics (conditions under which bureaucrats invest in costly expertise and their ability to effectively communicate with presidents and members of Congress)

Maggie Penn, Professor
Department of Political Science

Maggie Penn is a formal political theorist whose work focuses on social choice theory and political institutions. She regularly teaches undergraduate courses on electoral systems and agent-based modeling as well as graduate courses on positive political theory. Her work has been published with Cambridge University Press and in the American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Journal of Theoretical Politics, Mathematical & Computer Modelling, Political Analysis, Political Science Research & Methods, PS: Political Science and Politics, Public Choice, Social Choice & Welfare, The Good Society, and Complexity. Penn received her PhD in Social Science from the California Institute of Technology in 2003 and her BA in Economics and Applied Mathematics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1999.

  • Research Foci: Formal theory/methodology (social choice theory)

Paul Poast, Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science

Paul Poast’s research on international relations and quantitative methodology has been funded by the National Science Foundation and has appeared in the American Journal of Political Science, International Organization, World Politics, Journal of Conflict Resolution, and Political Analysis, among others. Paul received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, where his dissertation won the Peace Science Society’s Walter Isard Award.

  • Research Foci: International relations (international alliance formation, the role of international organizations in assisting transitions to democracy)

Andrei Pop, Associate Professor
John U. Nef Committee on Social Thought

Andrei Pop has published a book on the Anglo-Swiss painter Henry Fuseli (1741-1825) and a translation of Karl Rosenkranz’s 1853 Aesthetics of Ugliness. His current work concerns pictures as logical objects linking fantasy and fiction to scientific activities like the formulation and testing of hypotheses. His proximate goal is to defend a politically engaged social history of art by emphasizing the truth-directedness of representations. Pop received his BA from Stanford (2003) and his MA (2007) and PhD from Harvard University in art history (2010).

  • Research Foci: Art history, social meaning of art, Platonism, classicism, Henry Fuseli, Karl Rosenkran, beauty and ugliness

Doron Ravid, Assistant Professor
Department of Economics

Doron Ravid’s research interests include microeconomics, game and choice theory, and behavioral economics. His current working papers are titled “Bargaining with Rational Inattention” and “Focus, Then Compare.” Ravid received his BA in Economics and Psychology in 2006 from Tel Aviv University, MA in Economics from Tel Aviv University, MA from Princeton University in 2011, and PhD in economics from Princeton University in 2015.

  • Research Foci: Microeconomic Theory, Game Theory, Choice Theory, Behavioral Economics, Econometrics

Lawrence Schmidt, Assistant Professor
Department of Economics

Lawrence Schmidt is an economist whose research is focused at the intersection of finance and macroeconomics, with a particular emphasis on asset pricing. He uses a unique combination of theory and applied econometrics to offer a richer picture of risks faced by financial market participants—households, institutional investors, and financial intermediaries—and to shed new light on underlying economic mechanisms linking financial markets with the real economy. A common thread in Schmidt’s research is the study of conditional distributions and higher moments, with an emphasis on the evolution of cross-sectional distributions over time in response to macroeconomic events. Schmidt received his PhD from the University of California, San Diego in 2015.

  • Research Foci: Financial economics (asset pricing, econometrics)

Alex Shaw, Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology

Alex Shaw is interested in how human beings navigate the complex social world by tracking each other’s reputations and by signaling to others. More specifically, he studies fairness, intellectual property, and reputation, and examines how these things develop throughout childhood. Previously, Shaw was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and received his Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology at Yale University.

  • Research Foci: Evolutionary psychology, fairness. Moral psychology, friendships (alliances, gossip and reputation)

Xi Song, Assistant Professor
Department of Sociology

Xi Song is interested in the origin of social inequality from a multigenerational perspective. Her recent work draws on genealogical data from as many as twelve generations of imperial and peasant families in historical China to explore how families maintain, change, and reproduce their social statuses. She is now extending her work to the context of the United States and several other societies, from a broader perspective that addresses macro-level social changes in fertility, mortality, and family structure, and micro-level patterns of families’ social mobility. Song received her PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2015.

  • Research Foci: Social demography (effects of education on multi-generational life chances and the correlation of social status to demographic outcomes in China)

Jenny Trinitapoli, Associate Professor
Department of Sociology

Jenny Trinitapoli’s training and background focuses on social demography and the sociology of religion. Bridging these two fields, her work features the demographer’s characteristic concern with data and denominators and an insistence on connecting demographic processes to questions of meaning. Trinitapoli has written extensively on the role of religion in the AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa; religion permeates her research, even when it isn’t present as a variable. Since 2008, she has been the PI of Tsogolo la Thanzi (TLT), an ongoing longitudinal study of young adults in Malawi. Trinitapoli earned her PhD from the University of Texas at Austin in 2007.

  • Research Foci: Demography and religious studies (social role of religious belief and practice in Malawi with focus on how beliefs and organized communities of worship shape both disease-related outcomes (AIDS) and reproductive behavior)

Ed Vogel, Professor
Department of Psychology

Ed Vogel is a neuroscientist whose research focuses on the cognitive neuroscience of human attention and memory, specifically how visual working memory functions in relation to selective attention processes. His primary approach to examining these processes is with both behavioral testing and neurophysiological measurements in his laboratory, with specific expertise in human electroencephalography (EEG) and functional neuroimaging (fMRI). This combination of approaches helps to provide both anatomical and temporal constraints for cognitive theories of visual memory and attention. He is a longtime collaborator of Ed Awh, also a Professor in the Department of Psychology, with whom he co-leads the Visual Working Memory and Attention Lab. Vogel received his PhD from the University of Iowa in 2000.

  • Research Foci: Cognitive neuropsychology (visual working memory–the capacity to actively hold information in mind in service of ongoing thought processes)

James Lindley Wilson, Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science

James Lindley Wilson has research interests that span political philosophy, ethics, and law. Most of his work has focused on normative democratic theory, including the moral evaluation of democracy and questions of what democratic ideals require of citizens and institutions. His manuscript, “Finding Time for Democracy: A Theory of Political Equality,” attempts to articulate the moral force of the democratic idea that all citizens are equal political authorities, and to explain how that abstract idea ought to regulate the design and operation of political institutions. Wilson also researches election law and the history of political thought, including the work of Aristotle, Hobbes, Kant, and the Federalists.

  • Research Foci: Political theory (institutional design and theories of democratic equality)


Benjamin Brooks, Assistant Professor
Department of Economics

  • Research Foci: Game theory (games of incomplete information, auction theory, mechanism design, repeated games)

Manasi Deshpande, Assistant Professor
Department of Economics

  • Research Foci: Public finance (welfare reform)

Adom Getachew, Neubauer Family Assistant Professor; Assistant Professor 
Department of Political Science

  • Research Foci: Political theory (anti-colonial/anti-racist political theorists and their influence on contemporary international political and economic order)

Darryl Li, Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology

  • Research Foci: Socio-cultural (politics of jihadi networks)
  • Ruth Bloch Rubin, Assistant Professor
    Department of Political Science

  • Research Foci: American politics (historical analysis on the development of intra-party groups and coalitions like Blue Dog Democrats and Tea Party)


For a PDF version of our new faculty list, please click here