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Research Collaboratives

Local Arts Agency Research Group

The Local Arts Agency Research Group project – “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Policies and Practices in Local Arts Agencies in the United States” addresses organizational and contextual determinants of variations in DEI grant-making policies and practices across more than 500 U.S. local arts agencies. The project is conducted in collaboration with Americans for the Arts and the Vanderbilt University Curb Center for Art, Enterprise and Public Policy, with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, Dan Cornfield (PI) and Alexandre Frenette (co-PI). Vanderbilt undergraduate Tulasi Iyengar, Brown University alum Rachel McKane (VU Sociology Ph.D., 2020), and the following Vanderbilt sociology doctoral students serve as research collaborators and co-authors on this project: Savannah Bastian, Chancey Herbolsheimer, Hannah Ingersoll, and Meagan Rainock.

Nashville Civil Rights Movement Research Group

During the late 1950s and early 1960s, Nashville became a pulsating hub of nonviolent activism to dismantle Jim Crow not only in Nashville, but nationally as the core cadre of Nashville activists went on to play a key role in spearheading the southern movement, culminating, as some argue, in the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  Based primarily on original interviews with former Nashville activists, our project examines pathways to activism and the origins and impact of the Nashville movement.  The project is a collaboration among movement leader the Reverend James M. Lawson, Jr., Vanderbilt Professors Dan Cornfield, Dennis Dickerson (history department) and Larry Isaac, Oklahoma State sociologist Jonathan Coley (VU sociology Ph.D., 2016) and Vanderbilt undergraduate Logan Cromeens and supported by the Vanderbilt Center for Nashville Studies, Vanderbilt University College of Arts and Science, the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt endowment, and Vanderbilt Commons.

Population Health and Inequality Group (PHIG)

PHIG, led by Rachel Donnelly and Lucie Kalousova, is a community of graduate students and faculty interested in population health research. Our group comprises scholars who aim to understand and document the processes contributing to health inequities by race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and socioeconomic status. The goals of PHIG are to advance student and faculty research, foster research collaborations, build connections within and outside Vanderbilt, discuss cutting-edge population health research, and share resources related to the profession.

Pipeline Project

Communities, Environment, and Justice Project

This project examines conflicts over justice and local environments. Recent projects include graduate students and undergraduates who have assembled data and case studies of opposition to energy infrastructure such as pipelines, powerlines, and solar and wind farms.

Research on Women, Protest, and Law

Research on Women, Protest, and Law is a research collaborative led by Professor Holly McCammon in the Department of Sociology. The goal of the collaborative is to examine U.S. women’s protest and women’s interactions with law, both the ways in which women have influenced law and how the law shapes women’s lives.  Both graduate students and undergraduates at Vanderbilt are involved in research projects associated with the collaborative. Professor McCammon regularly teaches both a Women & the Law course (Soc 3611) and a Research on Women, Protest, and the Law course (Soc 4981), the latter which allows undergraduates to pursue their own research projects in this area. Current collaborative participants are:

Graduate Research Assistants: Amanda Konet, Sarah Torrence, Rachel Underwood

Undergraduate Research Assistant: Kathryn Gripenstraw

Social Networks and Inequalities Lab (SNAIL)

The SNAIL, led by Lijun Song, focuses on social networks, social relationships, and inequalities. Social networks refer to the webs of social ties linking individuals, directly and indirectly. Social relationships include romantic relationships, family relationships, friendships, work relationships, neighbor relationships, online relationships, and other types of relationships. The SNAIL has three major research themes: how social networks and social relationships produce health and well-being inequalities, how social networks and social relationships generate social inequalities, and how social forces create social network inequalities and social relationship inequalities.

We boldly propose theories, hypotheses, and research questions but examine them carefully, just like snails that move forward courageously, determinedly, and patiently.

Sociology Lab

The Sociology Lab, led by Bianca Manago, is dedicated to understanding social psychological phenomena using experimental and quasi-experimental methods. We conduct research on a wide variety of topics, including small group processes and cognitive bias. Our studies take place both in our on-campus laboratory (Garland Hall) and online through various platforms such as Prolific Academic. To conduct our research, we have received funding from the American Sociological Association and National Science Foundation’s Fund for Advancement of the Discipline.


The Sociology Department’s Socio-Technical Inequality, Change, Knowledge, Environment, and Resilience Lab (STICKER group) is an environmental sociology research group that includes Professors Joe Bandy, Patrick Greiner, David Hess, and Zdravka Tzankova. Faculty and student research in the STICKER Lab spans a wide range of topics.

Current research areas include:

  • social movements and energy infrastructure
  • opposition to pipelines
  • the politics of science and scientific disinformation
  • the social dimensions of environmental change
  • education and the environment
  • environmental and climate justice
  • business and civil society roles in environmental and climate governance
  • public-private governance interactions

Sociology faculty and undergraduate students are also at the center of actionable research and social innovation at the Climate, Health, and Energy Equity Lab (CHEEL Lab) at the Wondr’y. Work in the CHEEL Lab is focused on designing climate mitigation projects that deliver tangible economic, environmental and health co-benefits for marginalized communities in the U.S. In the sociology graduate program, graduate student Kaelee Belletto is working on her dissertation on environmental justice in Appalachia, and graduate student Yu-Ri Kim has worked on an analysis of pipeline opposition in the U.S.  Recent Ph.D. graduates include Kate Pride Brown (Georgia Tech), Dasom Lee (KAIST), and Rachel McKane (Brown University). Undergraduates participate in various research projects either as part of their Immersion requirements or for pay, and environmental sociology majors also have written a variety of senior theses. Professors Sana and McCammon also include environmental topics in their undergraduate courses, and Professor Bandy co-directs the Cumberland Project, which assists with curricular and instructional development for environmental education.

Work and Occupations Journal

Work and Occupations

Dan Cornfield, Editor-in-Chief

Vanderbilt faculty members of the 31-member international editorial board: 

Bruce Barry

Alexandre Frenette

Larry Isaac

Joshua Murray

Lijun Song

Vanderbilt sociology doctoral student team members: 

Meagan Rainock, Deputy Editor

Matthew Tarizzo, Book Review Editor

Savannah Bastian, Associate Editor

Kaelee Belletto, Associate Editor

Chancey Herbolsheimer, Associate Editor

Adam Schoenbachler, Associate Editor

Workshop on Organizations, Work, and Labor

The Workshop on Organizations, Work, and Labor (OWL), led by Dan Cornfield, is a space for faculty and students to discuss their work-in-progress on organizations, work, and labor.