Fall 2018 Newsletter

The Sociology faculty, Char Kunkel and Ron Ferguson, presented at the National Women’s Studies Association annual meeting in November 2017 in Baltimore, commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Combahee River Collective.  We presented on the gendered aspects of our research in Olmsted County, MN, basically how racialized attitudes are gendered.  Wylie Cook ’18 also attended the conference.  We had a good time and learned a lot!  Also in November, Char presented a paper on the racialized history of the criminal justice system at the Overcoming Racism conference at Metro State in St. Paul.

Ron Ferguson taught Native American Experiences in January, while Char Kunkel taught Visual Sociology.   

In Spring semester, Char went to Dunedin, New Zealand, to present at an international migrations conference on the representations of Somali-Americans in the Minnesota news press.  It was entitled, "Land of the Free: (Re)Visioning Narratives of Race in Contemporary America. "  It was a fascinating trip and I am thankful for learning about the “hongee” form of greeting.

Kunkel also had a chapter published in Teaching Economic Inequality and Capitalism in Contemporary America, entitled "Capitalism in the Classroom: Confronting the Invisibility of Class Inequality," pgs. 125-130, 2018, edited by Krissy Haltinner ’03 and Leontina Hormel, published by Springer.

In March 2018, Ron and Char went to the Midwest Sociological Society conference in Minneapolis.  They presented a critique of individualizing tools of diversity and offered up the alternative of institutional analysis, entitled, "Broadening the Lens: Moving from Individual to Institutional Understandings."  They met alums Kirke Bidne ‘14, Cade Bolen ‘17, Jorge Lopez ‘17, and Jacqueline Congello ‘17 in the evening.  Sociology majors are the best! 

We also attended the Iowa Sociological Association meetings in April at Cornell College in Mount Vernon with eight Luther students. We had several students working on their senior projects and another, Melissa Young ‘18, worked on a collaborative research project with Ron Ferguson.  

The “Constructs of Race and Racialization” class that took another Urban Plunge in early May.  Thanks Karen Johnson for hosting us once again!  

Unfortunately Dr. Ron Ferguson resigned effective the end of the 2018 school year.  He left to support his partner, Stephanie, in her new role as executive director of a re-entry program in St. Cloud.  He was very sad to leave Luther! 

Joining us this Fall 2018 is Dr. Linda Silber.  She moved to Decorah with her boyfriend Allen, and her dog, Eva.  Linda received her PhD from the University of Minnesota but has most recently been teaching in New Mexico.  She is a generalist with specializations in criminology and family.  She is teaching Crime and Deviance this Fall and will teach Soc of Family in the Spring. 

Both our sections of 101 are full this Fall.  This is a very good sign of things to come.  Char will travel to Cambodia in January 2019 with 16 students in a 450 course, and we will host the Iowa Soc meetings here at Luther in the Spring! 

One other exciting bit of news is that we will be making a super announcement of a new scholarship in Sociology at Homecoming.  We are thrilled to be working with this anonymous donor to support our students in Sociology.  Please contact me or the development office if you want to donate or need more information!     

We are so thankful you've decided to stay in touch with the Luther community and specifically, our program. We'd love to see you at this year's Homecoming or "Christmas at Luther" performances!


Charlotte Kunkel

Program Chair, Sociology