The centerpiece of my research is women's experiences of the Holocaust and World War II in Eastern Europe. My research has produced several articles and presentations in the past several years. In 2017, I published a co-authored work (with a Didzis Berzins, a colleague at the University of Latvia), “Mortal Threat: Latvian Jews at the Dawn of Nazi Occupation,” in the journal Nationalities Papers. In late 2018, I published another co-authored work (with my colleague at GW, Michelle Kelso), “Ghost Heroes: Forgetting and Remembering in National Narratives of the Past,” in Acta Sociologica. In 2020, my co-authored article (with Vita Zelce of the University of Latvia) “An Unlikely Refuge: Latvia’s Women Volunteers in the Red Army in World War II” came out in the journal, East European Politics & Societies & Cultures. I am currently working on a manuscript, "Into the Void: Liberator Violence in the East at the End of World War II," which I developed from my summer 2019 research in Latvia, Poland, and Israel. I hope to bring together these diverse pieces of work into a full book manuscript on women's experiences in World War II and the Holocaust in Eastern Europe. While my research and writing have been slowed considerably by the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, I will be working on my manuscript during my Spring 2022 sabbatical.
I take an active interest in writing sociological materials for teaching, and in writing about teaching and learning in my discipline. My co-authored (with my late GW colleague Bill Chambliss) introductory textbook, Discover Sociology, continues to be published by SAGE and actively used in institutions of higher education. In 2021, I completed the fifth edition of Discover Sociology, which adds a new co-author, Susan Wortmann, and was published in September 2021. The book is broadly successful, having found audiences across the spectrum of community colleges to mid-size private universities to large state universities. The book has won several awards, including SAGE's Book of the Year in its first edition (2013), SAGE’s Breakout Book of the Year in its second edition (2015), and the Textbook and Academic Authors Association’s (TAAA) 2018 Textbook Excellence Award for quality in pedagogy, content/scholarship, writing, and appearance/design. I take pride in the continued success of the book and consider it part of my effort to contribute to effective teaching at the introductory level.
In 2021, I also completed the fifth edition of the text, East European Politics and Societies (Rowman + Littlefield), which is an academic volume intended for use in area studies courses. I am one of the co-editors of this book (together with Zsuzsa Csergo and Paula Pickering). I am also the co-author of the chapters "Turbulent Histories, Dramatic Transformations, and Twenty-First-Century Challenge" and "Three Questions: Changes and Challenges" (with Csergo and Pickering) and the co-author of the chapter, "Demography and Migration" (with Michelle Kelso). The book, East European Politics and Societies, fifth edition, was published in July 2021.
In the period covered by this annual report, I taught four courses, two in the spring and two in the fall of 2021. I continue to regularly offer Writing in the Disciplines (WID) courses in our department: In the spring, I taught our introductory course, The Sociological Imagination to 60 students and also taught the WID course Class and Inequality in the U.S. (SOC 2170W) to 43 students. In fall, I taught Contemporary Sociological Theory (SOC 2104W) as a WID to 40 students. I also instructed a 109-person section of Introduction to Sociology (SOC 1001). In the spring, Although I regularly earn strong evaluation scores from students and good reviews from peers, I continue to work on sharpening course content and delivery. This year, which was partly virtual and partly in-person, was challenging. It did, however, afford me the opportunity to develop a new organizational approach, which I have continued to use for my in-person classes. Specifically, I reorganized my online courses into learning units (or modules) that match up mixed-media content (readings, podcasts, videos, etc.), class lectures, and specifically linked assessment activities like social indicator assignments, writing tasks, mini-essays, or essays. I have found that the learning units work well for instruction and assessment and that students respond positively to them as organizational and pedagogical tools.
I have continued to contribute to the university, college, and my department through service. This year I served on the Undergraduate Studies Committee (chair) in my department. Until the end of 2021, I was a member of the Columbian College Undergraduate Studies Committee. Until January 2022, I was also the Elliott School of International Affairs representative on the Office of Human Research (OHR) Advisory Committee. I am the undergraduate program director in Sociology and Criminal Justice and I advise students in these majors and minors, support the development of semester schedules, and work on program assessment and development.