Job Market Profiles

Jun Fang
Northwestern University
Dissertation Title:
When China Meets Hollywood: Global Collaboration and State Intervention in a Creative Industry
As a sociologist of culture, markets, and globalization studying China’s engagement with the West,
Fang broadly addresses how the contrasting forces of nationalism and globalization shape processes of
creative production. His dissertation is an ethnography of how Chinese conglomerates and Hollywood
studios co-produce films and navigate state censorship. It argues that the intertwined relationship
between culture, markets, and the state has led to a new model of global production of culture, shaping
both what gets made in the global film industry and how they are made. Combining data from two-year
ethnographic fieldwork within film studios in Beijing and Los Angeles and interviews with rarely
accessed industry insiders, it offers a micro-sociological account of how global cultural production
occurs at every stage within specific national contexts, set against a background of difficult geopolitics.
His research has been published in Poetics, Qualitative Sociology, and SAGE Research Methods
Foundations, and has been supported by the Mellon Foundation and the American Council of Learned

Prabhdeep Singh Kehal
Brown University
Dissertation title:
Racializing Meritocracy: Ideas of Excellence and Exclusion in Faculty Diversity
Prabhdeep is a Sociology PhD Candidate and a Graduate Fellow in Community Engaged Scholarship at
Brown University, and will receive their degree in May 2021. Their work bridges the fields of culture,
education, and Du Boisian sociology, situating inequality as linked to historic, global, and relational
processes of domination. Using ethnographic and archival methodologies, with relevant quantitative
methods, prabhdeep explores how academic workers, such as faculty and staff, make cultural meanings
of merit, diversity, and racism when distributing resources within an elite organizational field.
prabhdeep’s dissertation is an institutional ethnographic study of how 88 faculty at four elite institutions
define and use ideas of merit for faculty hiring and promotion. Their future research considers how
universities are sites for maintaining structural racism and colonialism, with a focus on
university-neighborhood relations (libraries, mutual aid, gentrification) and desegregating sociology.

Marta Soligo
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Dissertation title:
From the Renaissance to Postmodernity: Representations of Italian Culture in Las Vegas
Marta Soligo is a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), where
she teaches Sociology of Leisure. Her areas of specialization are cultural studies, sociology of tourism,
urban sociology, and environmental sociology. Soligo’s most recent research interests center around two
main topics: immigrant workers’ labor in hospitality and sustainable tourism in cultural landscapes. A
research assistant at the UNLV International Gaming Institute, she received her Master’s in Planning
and Management of Tourism Systems from the Università di Bergamo (Italy) in 2012, where she now
(remotely) teaches Film Studies and Visual Communication. In 2013, she was a visiting scholar for the
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), conducting a critical study on tourism phenomena
related to the Hollywood industry. She has presented her works at several conferences by professional
associations and international institutions, such as the American Sociological Association (ASA) and the
World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Luis Antonio Vila-Henninger
University of Louvain (UCLouvain)
Dissertation title:
Social Justification and Political Legitimacy: How Voters Rationalize Direct Democratic Economic
Policy in America
Luis’ research focuses on socialization, political legitimacy, and the connection between the two. In
particular, Luis studies political, economic, and cultural socialization—with an emphasis on American
political values and neoliberal ideology. First, to understand socialization, he contributes to work on the
“sociological dual-process model” from the sociology of culture by using findings from neuroscience.
Second, drawing upon the Weberian conceptualization of legitimate power as power that is accepted on
a normative basis, Luis investigates the norms and values upon which political legitimacy is based by
studying voters’ political legitimations and the factors that affect these legitimations. Specifically, he
studies American political values, neoliberal ideology, and norms of self-interest. Third, Luis uses the
sociological dual-process model to theorize how the norms and values that voters use in their political
legitimations are learned through political, economic, and cultural socialization. Finally, Luis has
expertise in both primary and secondary qualitative analysis.

Kristopher Velasco
University of Texas at Austin
My present dissertation project examines how the interaction between organizations and culture within
the international arena determines LGBT policy adoption. Instead of focusing primarily on processes of
conformity through the expansion of LGBT rights, however, my dissertation places a greater emphasis
on defiance to normative pressures by understanding policy restrictions, or backlash. Since the 1990s, a
new, understudied actor has risen in the international arena: transnational anti-LGBT networks anchored
within organizations like World Congress of Families, Focus on the Family, the Vatican, and the
Russian Orthodox Church. Therefore, I theorize that to understand how a country will respond to
international pressure, we must consider how a country is simultaneously embedded within both proand
anti-LGBT transnational networks as these actors will differ in how they frame calls for expanding
LGBT rights. For example, using text analysis on an original dataset of over 200,000 newspaper articles
from 161 countries and across multiple languages, I find that greater embeddedness within one network
over the other, using network analysis, predicts how LGBT issues are presented to local populations
(i.e., a positive call for equality and human rights or a negative threat to the “natural” family and
national sovereignty). The resulting valence of discourse directly affects government policy responses
and moderates the influence of international norms by changing the cultural meaning such norms carry
to domestic audiences. My research has been published in American Sociological Review, Social
Forces, International Studies Quarterly, among others. See for more information.