On the Market

This page features CRN doctoral student and postdoctoral fellows on the market this year. 


Michael Gibson-Light

PhD, University of Arizona, Sociology, expected
MA, University of Arizona, Sociology, 2013
BA, University of Missouri – St. Louis, Sociology, 2009

Michael is a scholar of punishment, work, inequality, and culture. His dissertation, entitled “Punishment & Capital: How Prison Labor Systems Reproduce Inequality,” draws on 18 months of ethnographic fieldwork within a men’s state prison and 82 in-depth interviews with prisoners and staff. It contends that the structure of the contemporary U.S. prison—and of penal labor in particular—acts to reflect and reify disparities along the lines of race, ethnicity, and class. The prison sorts the incarcerated into different labor tracks based on their skills, resources, and other valued characteristics. Racial and ethnic minorities, foreign nationals, and those lacking valued forms of cultural and social capital or marketable work skills face significant hurdles to securing meaningful, higher-paying prison work. This impacts their resources within prison and their prospects for release. Findings from this research have been covered in USA Today, Atlantic, BBC, The Guardian, Time, Washington Post, NPR, and over 100 other news outlets internationally. Michael has been awarded paper awards from the ASC Division on Critical Criminology and Social Justice, the ASC Division on Corrections and Sentencing, the ASC Division on International Criminology, and the ASA Section on Sociological Practice and Public Sociology.

Recent publications include “Ramen Politics: Informal Money and Logics of Resistance in the Contemporary American Prison,” published in Qualitative Sociology, and “Classification Struggles in Semi-Formal and Precarious Work: Lessons from Inmate Labor and Cultural Production,” published in Research in the Sociology of Work. A book project derived from Michael’s dissertation is currently under review at major scholarly presses.

An up-to-date CV can be located on Michael’s personal website at www.gibson-light.com/.


Veronica Horowitz

2019. Ph.D. (expected), Sociology, University of Minnesota 
Dissertation: “Towards a Sociology of Mercy: A Mixed Methods Analysis of Commutation Release in the United States.” Advisors: Christopher Uggen, & Michelle Phelps.

2017. M.A., Sociology, University of Minnesota
Advisors: Christopher Uggen, & Michelle Phelps.

2013. M.A., Sociology & Social Justice, Kean University
Thesis: “On the Measurement of Inmate Misconduct.” Advisor: Jose Sanchez.

2007. B.A., Sociology, University of Iowa
  
My research program focuses on three primary interconnected areas: mercy in American criminal justice; the operations of law, policy, and justice; and the social foundations of attitudes towards crime and punishment. In my dissertation, I investigate a neglected area of scholarship: commutation, a form of executive clemency. This study is the first mixed-methods analysis of this form of mercy; I develop and test theoretical predictions about both individual and state-level determinants of clemency. In addition, I use four state case studies to explain the rarity of clemency, identifying the necessary but insufficient conditions applicants must meet to have a chance at release. As described below, using a multimethod approach, my other projects make contributions to a diverse array of punishment arenas, including an intersectional analysis of treatment in drug court, prosecutorial discretion in adopting new domestic violence laws, and the religious underpinnings of punitive attitudes. My work adds an intersectional lens to the field of state interventions on those convicted of drug crimes, explains prosecutorial discretion in the imposition of a new domestic abuse law, and adds an analysis of different secular affiliations (i.e. atheist, agnostic) to scholarship on religion and punitive attitudes.

Uggen, C. Stewart, R., & Horowitz, V. (forthcoming). Why not Minnesota? Norway, justice reform, and 50-labs federalism. The Federal Sentencing Reporter.

Horowitz, V. & Uggen, C. (2018). Consistency and compensation in mercy: Commutation in the era of
mass incarceration. Social Forces. DOI: 10.1093/sf/soy065.

Tietjen, G., Garneau, C. Horowitz, V., & Noel, H. (2018). Showing up: The gendered effects of social engagement on educational participation in United States correctional facilities. The Prison Journal 98(3), 359-381.

Link to CV


Joshua Kaiser

PhD, Sociology (Northwestern University, 2017)
JD (Northwestern University, 2017)

Joshua Kaiser's research uses a critical, sociological lens to study state power, criminal law, and social inequality. Thus far, he has used interdisciplinary approaches and mixed methods to study this subject in three main projects. The first investigates a vast but unknown set of 35,000 U.S. penal laws that he calls "hidden sentences," meaning all state-imposed punishments inflicted upon criminalized people beyond their formally recognized, judge-issued sentences. He argues that these policies form a hidden aspect of the penal system that legitimizes and continually reinforces race, class, and other inequalities by reifying societal assumptions. Kaiser's second area of research on state power and inequality illuminates the social, multidimensional (racial, gendered, and criminal) process of genocide in Darfur and elsewhere. He is also the co-author of Iraq and the Crimes of Aggressive War and several articles on racialized segregation, criminal entrepreneurship, and legal cynicism in the U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq. 

·       Kaufman, Nicole, Joshua Kaiser, and Cesraea Rumpf. 2018. “Beyond Punishment: The Penal State’s Interventionist, Covert, and Negligent Modalities of Control.” Law & Social Inquiry 43(2):468-495.

·       Kaiser, Joshua. 2016. “Revealing the Hidden Sentence: How to Add Legitimacy, Purpose, and Transparency to ‘Collateral’ Punishment Policy.” Harvard Law & Policy Review 10(1):123-184.

·       Hagan, John, Joshua Kaiser, and Anna Hanson. 2015. Iraq and the Crimes of Aggressive War: The Legal Cynicism of Criminal Militarism. New York: Cambridge University Press.  



Holly Pelvin

Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Alberta, Department of Sociology and Visiting Scholar, Centre for the Study of Law and Society (2019).

·      Ph.D.: Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies, University of Toronto
·      MA:  Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies, University of Toronto
·      BA (Hons): University of Ontario, Institute of Technology

Holly Pelvin is a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Sociology at the University of Alberta. Holly completed her Ph.D. at the Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies at the University of Toronto in September 2017. Her dissertation was the first investigation of the lived experience and consequences of pre-trial imprisonment, based on field observations and in-depth interviews she conducted with 120 detainees and 40 correctional staff at four maximum-security provincial prisons in Ontario, Canada. This research is the subject of an ongoing book project. Her current research seeks to explore the issues of pre-trial imprisonment and barriers to bail release for Indigenous people in Alberta; investigating the links between the ‘helping’ and ‘harming’ arms of the state, and in particular, the legacies and continued practices of colonization. Holly is broadly interested in the ways the criminal justice system intervenes in people’s lives, and the consequences of that intervention, particularly before conviction. Her current and future research interests include arrest and police custody, pre-trial incarceration, bail/courts, race/inequality, and imprisonment and immigration detention, using qualitative and mixed-methods.

Forthcoming: Pelvin, H. Remand as a cross-institutional system: Understanding how the process is the punishment. In Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice.

Forthcoming: Pelvin, H. The “normal” woman who kills: Representations of female-perpetrated intimate partner homicide in Canada. Feminist Criminology. (advance online copy available at: https://doi.org/10.1177/1557085117744876).


For a copy of my CV, please contact me at pelvin@ualberta.ca


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