The Russell Sage Foundation is pleased to announce the selection of four visiting researchers for the 2020-2021 academic year: Arielle Baskin-Sommers (Yale University), Gary Alan Fine (Northwestern University), Shamus Khan (Columbia University), and Sunita Sah (Cornell University). While in residence at RSF in New York City, they will pursue research and writing projects that reflect the foundation’s commitment to strengthening the social sciences and conducting research to “improve social and living conditions in the United States.” Their projects – working to transform criminal justice procedures, examining the engagement of older people in social justice activism, tracing the economic and political history of American elites, and investigating the psychological effects of conflict-of-interest disclosures – will provide fresh insights on important social issues in American life.
Arielle Baskin-Sommers is Associate Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at Yale University and Adjunct Professor of Law at Yale Law School. She received a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and completed her pre-doctoral internship and fellowship at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School. Her research focuses on understanding individual differences in cognitive and affective processes as they relate to psychopathology. Baskin-Sommers will spend the 2020-2021 academic year at the foundation working on a project that aims to change how incarcerated individuals are treated and diminish the marginalization and stigmatization they experience. She will focus on synthesizing extant literature and analyzing focus group data to design and begin implementation of an original procedural justice training program for correctional officers that will transform how they supervise incarcerated people.
Gary Alan Fine is the James E. Johnson Professor of Sociology at Northwestern University. Fine is the author of the RSF book, Tiny Publics: A Theory of Group Culture and Action (2012) and The Global Grapevine: Why Rumors of Terrorism, Immigration and Trade Matter (Oxford University Press, 2010). As an ethnographer, he published a book (Players and Pawns) on competitive chess. He currently has a book in press on how visual art students receive professional socialization. He received his PhD in social psychology from Harvard University and has received fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University.
Fine was an RSF visiting scholar during the 2005-2006 academic year. During his upcoming fellowship, Fine will draft a book and several articles exploring the mobilization of older citizens for social justice. Drawing on research on aging and gerontology and based on extensive ethnographic observations and in-depth interviews, Fine’s project argues that the structural and cultural position of the elderly produces a distinctive form of organizing, creating resistance based on identity and experience.
Shamus Khan is a professor of sociology at Columbia University, where he is the chair of the department. Khan is the author of Sexual Citizens: A Landmark Study of Sex, Power, and Assault on Campus (W.W. Norton, with Jennifer Hirsch, 2020), Approaches to Ethnography: Modes of Representation and Analysis in Participant Observation (Oxford University Press, with Colin Jerolmack, 2017), The Practice of Research (Oxford University Press, with Dana Fisher, 2013), and Privilege: The Making of an Adolescent Elite at St. Paul’s School (Princeton University Press, 2012). He was a co-Principal Investigator of SHIFT, a multi-year study of sexual health and sexual violence at Columbia University. He is the series editor of “The Middle Range” at Columbia University Press and served as the editor of the journal Public Culture. He writes regularly for the popular press, including the New Yorker, the New York Times, and the Washington Post.
Khan led an RSF working group on the political influence of economic elites from 2012-2015. This working group was key to the development of the foundation’s core program on Social, Political, and Economic Inequality. As a visiting researcher, Khan will write a book, Exceptional: The Astors, Elite New York, and the Story of American Equality, that traces the history of American inequality from the 1790s to 2006 by focusing on the position and experiences of the elite in New York City.
Sunita Sah was an RSF visiting scholar for the 2019-2020 academic year. While at the foundation, she wrote an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times on why people take bad advice and an article about the consequences of leaders flouting social and political norms for The Conversation. As a visiting researcher during the upcoming academic year, Sah will continue her study of conflicts of interest among advisors or leaders—such as physicians, financial advisors, and workplace managers—and the resulting psychological effects on both the advisors and those they supervise or advise.
Sah is the John and Norma Balen Sesquicentennial Fellow and Associate Professor of Management and Organizations at the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University. Her research is focused on ethics, influence and advice. Professor Sah's work has been published in leading academic journals and featured in the New York Times, the New Yorker, BBC News, Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, and National Public Radio. Prior to joining Cornell University, Professor Sah held academic positions at Georgetown, Duke, and Harvard universities. Before entering academia, Professor Sah worked as a medical doctor for the UK's National Health Service, subsequently becoming senior consultant and European marketing director at IMS Health Consulting and then managing director [CEO] of Organisational Dynamics Ltd.