John Mohr Dissertation Improvement Grant

The John Mohr Dissertation Improvement Grant Award Winners

The John Mohr Dissertation Improvement Grant Award committee reviewed a truly excellent set of applications, using the helpful criteria provided to us by the Diversity & Inclusion committee. We have selected two award winners: Edwin Grimsley of CUNY and Maia Behrendt of the University of Nebraska. 

We were greatly impressed by the potential and scope of both of these dissertation projects, and felt that they would be particularly enriched by the award. I hope I speak for the committee when I say that I think John would be incredibly excited about both of these scholars and their important work.

Lauren Valentino, John Mohr Dissertation Award Committee chair

(Committee members:f Nino Bariola, Julia Cheng, Jun Fang, Jonathan Mijs, and Rachel Rinaldo)

Maia Behrendt, University of Nebrasksa

Dissertation title: Creating Community and Dismantling Settler Colonialism Through Art: Indigenous Women Artists.”

Edwin Grimsley, CUNY

Dissertation title: “The Differential Marijuana Effect: The (Uneven) Historical Development of National and State Marijuana Possession Laws.”

About the Grant

The John Mohr Dissertation Improvement Grant of $1000 will go to 1 racially or ethnically under-represented graduate student at a public institution studying any topic.  The recipient must be a member of the Sociology of Culture section. 

This grant recognizes that scholars of color, especially graduate students, have been historically, systematically disadvantaged in academia and uses a commitment of material resources to acknowledge this harm and offer a small means of redress going forward.

Criteria for the award will be based on graduate student standing, merit, and need. Application materials include a CV, a dissertation abstract, an explanation as to how the grant will be used to expand your research beyond existing resources, and a brief explanation of your identity as a member of a racially or ethnically underrepresented group. Please use the following form to submit your application. 

Applications are due March 15th every year.  The Application period will open on January 1. Notifications will be sent no later than May 1st and dispersal will take place shortly after.

How to make a donation

People interested in donating to the grant should send a check to the ASA accompanied by a cover letter identifying the section and purpose of the funds (i.e. it should clearly state that the funds are intended for the Sociology of Culture section’s John Mohr Dissertation Improvement Grant). Here you can find a template of a cover letter for making a donation. The ASA’s address for this purpose is the following:

American Sociological Association
 c/o Governance Department
1430 K Street NW
Washington DC 20005

Please simultaneously also email the section’s secretary/COO to alert them of the donation. Upon receiving the funds, the section’s secretary will then earmark them for the grant and coordinate with the John Mohr Grant Committee the allocation and distribution of the funds.

The current donors that fund the John Mohr Award donate yearly. Donors can, of course, choose to donate year by year or to do so just once. If you plan to donate yearly, we request that you communicate to the section’s secretary expressing your interest in this regard. The secretary would then reach out to you each year (in September) to remind you about your donation.

About John Mohr

John Mohr

John Mohr pioneered cultural research on meaning and measurement in sociology, focusing on institutional processes of meaning-making on topics ranging from poverty relief to institutional diversity initiatives. He spent his career at the University of California – Santa Barbara, and at different times served as Chair of the Culture Section and the Theory Section of the American Sociological Association (ASA). Behind the scenes, in a variety of roles, he dedicated his time and resources to diversity and equity initiatives. He died in 2019 of complications due to ALS.

As an incredibly supportive mentor and a brilliant scholar, John Mohr left a substantive mark on an entire generation of cultural sociologists. Testaments of his immense influence in the field are the collective book Measuring Culture (Columbia University Press) and the recently published special issue of Poetics co-edited by two of Mohr’s advisees.