Junior Fellows

Vanessa Bittner

Vanessa received her BA in Sociology and Gender Studies from the University of Konstanz, Germany, with her main interest lying in the intersection between cultural sociology and criminology. She aims to research the relationship between Celebrity & Crime, specifically how those narratives of criminality are constructed in the media and evaluated by the general public regarding ideas of morality and celebrities’ function as role models contributing to personal and national identity. Further interests include concepts of beauty, evil and charisma, as well as competitiveness and deviance.

Anne Marie Champagne

Research interests: Cultural Sociology (visual and material culture, iconicity, performativity and symbolic interaction); Sociology of Gender, Medicine and the Body; Sociology of Conscience, Moral Development and Social Solidarity; Social Theory. Anne Marie Champagne’s current research projects include an investigation of the relationship between breast surgery and gender wellness (meaning-making, affirmation, and performance) among breast cancer survivors and female-to-male transgender persons as well as an historical examination of the civil sphere’s influence in the social construction and (re)interpretation of masculinity. Education: B.A. Multidisciplinary Studies (Social Science, Communications and Educational Psychology), University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

Dana Hayward

Dana’s research explores the culture-shifting potential of law - in other words, the power of the law to alter social norms and values, rather than simply setting and enforcing rules. However, it can be difficult to study the cultural impact of legislation empirically, as laws both shape and are shaped by their cultural contexts. In her work, Dana suggests that a comparative analysis of close votes offers a promising solution to this dilemma. Drawing on insights from quasi-experimental research design, she argues that legislative decisions that pass or fail by narrow margins allow for comparisons in which levels of cultural support are held constant. Dana looks for cases in which the passage of legislation can essentially be considered an experimental “treatment”, and studies the cultural implications of these laws. She has used this approach to study the decriminalization of sex work in New Zealand, state-level ballot measures about the right to die in Oregon and Washington, and laws pertaining to parental notification of abortion in Washington and Colorado. For the 2019/20 academic year, Dana is a Visiting Scholar at the Center for the Study of Law and Society at Berkeley Law. More information about her research can be found at www.danahayward.com.

Till Hilmar

Till’s research interests at Yale include the social meaning of visuality and iconography, historical sociology and social memory studies. With a background in political science, he is interested in researching political culture and the political meaning of the link between social structures and conceptions of individuality. His research interests also cover transformation processes in East-Central Europe after 1989. Prior to his graduate studies at Yale, he has worked at memorial sites in East-Central Europe and has published on educational and sociological aspects of visits to sites commemorating the victims of National Socialism.

James Hurlbert

James graduated from Boston College summa cum laude in 2012 with a dual major in English and Sociology. His senior thesis was about how people found fulfillment in online multiplayer videogames.Following graduation, he did a Fulbright in Germany and worked outside academia. His current interests center around the sociology of work and the American Dream. He is most interested in how notions of excellence and meaning in work interact with organizational structures and talent pools in different fields. Other interests include the culture of technological production, the role of perceived artificiality in actors’ responses to social situations, the construction of fairness as a moral as well as an economic category, and “irrational” behaviors in forecasting.

Adam Valen Levinson

Adam Valen Levinson is deeply interested in understanding cultural boundaries, and meaningful ways to discuss and (re)categorize social groups. He sees humor as a key to cultural understanding, and researches how different communities define what is offensive, what is shocking, what is funny — most recently by embedding himself (and performing) in the stand-up comedy scenes in Shanghai and Tel Aviv. Adam speaks French and Arabic, and majored in Political Science and Linguistics at Columbia University (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa). His first book is called The Abu Dhabi Bar Mitzvah.

Todd Madigan

Todd Madigan is studying the various meanings of voluntary human suffering, particularly when this suffering is adopted in response to the misery of others. He is also developing the concept of ambiguous social performance and inquiring after its place within the framework of cultural pragmatics. In both these research areas, he is interested in deploying the interpretive insights of philosophical hermeneutics, narratology, and performativity. For the decade prior to his arrival at Yale, Todd worked closely with the homeless young people of Boston, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Moscow, Russia. Education: B.A. philosophy, summa cum laude, San Jose State University; M.A. English, San Francisco State University

Anne Taylor

Anne blends cultural sociology and comparative-historical methods to study charisma, religion, and power, specifically interactions between charismatic Christian communities and political structures in society. Currently, she is researching the world of early modern Britain and British North America, with a particular emphasis on the Puritan project in Massachusetts Bay colony in the 17th century. She is also interested in cultural trauma during and following imperial projects, which work with their own infusions of charisma, as well as contemporary American evangelicalism, the 2007 U.S. financial crisis, and the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. Anne is originally from Boulder, Colorado, and holds a B.A. in History from Gordon College (2010; Wenham, Massachusetts), as well as a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she graduated ‘summa cum laude,’ with distinction in 2016.

Yuqing ‘Dorothy’ Wu Yuqing ‘Dorothy’ Wu

Dorothy (Yuqing) Wu is from Changsha, China and received her B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with triple-majors in philosophy, psychology, and sociology. For senior thesis, she did an ethnography on how Chinese international students negotiate between assimilation into American culture and staying within the Chinese social circle. Currently, she is looking at the making and effect of popular culture, including its relationship with national branding. Another stream of interest is the effect of increased smart-phone use in our contemporary life. In general, She loves discussions in material culture, iconicity, and media.

Dicky Yangzom

Dicky Yangzom is a doctoral student in Sociology at Yale University and a Junior Research Fellow at the Center for Cultural Sociology. Her research interests focus on the Sociology of Fashion, Consumer Culture, Material Culture, Visual Sociology, Public Sociology of Labor, Social Movements, Legal Sociology, and Social Theory. Previously she conducted fieldwork through visual ethnography on Pashmina producing nomadic tribes on the border of Tibet, China, Pakistan, and India. Dicky holds a M.A. in Fashion Studies from the City University of New York, Graduate Center; a B.S. in International Trade & Marketing with a concentration in Asia Studies; and Fashion Design from the Fashion Institution of Technology. Her most recent paper, “Clothing and Social Movements: Tibet and the Politics of Dress” is currently under review at the Journal of Social Movement Studies.