The SOAN department has been in the spotlight quite a bit recently for the teaching and research achievements of its faculty. As we shared on this blog earlier in September, Professor Monica Dehart won the 2014 President’s Excellence in Teaching Award, the most prestigious of the teaching awards on campus. Excellent teaching has been recognized for several years now, but this year Dean Kristine Bartanen started a new tradition of formally recognizing the research excellence of faculty under review in a given year. At this year’s annual fall faculty dinner, our own Jennifer Utrata, Associate Professor of Sociology, was one of two university-wide recipients of this inaugural Faculty Research Recognition.
Prof. Utrata is a sociologist of gender, family, and culture with expertise on how ordinary people navigate the transition from state socialism to neoliberal capitalism in the Former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Recently tenured and promoted, she came to Puget Sound (where she teaches courses in the sociology of gender and family, social theory, and more recently, men and masculinities) right after completing her Ph.D. in Sociology at U.C. Berkeley in 2008. Dean Bartanen noted that during her first five years at Puget Sound, Prof. Utrata completed a book, Women Without Men: Single Mothers and Family Change in the New Russia (forthcoming from Cornell University Press in March 2015), and was recognized nationally in 2012 with a Distinguished Article Award from the American Sociological Association’s Sex and Gender Section for a 2011 article in Gender and Society, entitled “Youth Privilege: Doing Age and Gender in Russia’s Single-Mother Families,” research recently reprinted in a Sage volume used in college courses. Prof. Utrata also wrote a feature article for a U.S.-based magazine of Russian culture and ideas, Russian Life; published a piece on masculinities and fatherhood in transition in the Journal of Marriage and Family; co-authored another piece on Russian fathers in a Routledge volume, Fathers in Cultural Context; and wrote a chapter about how Russian single mothers adapt to systemic changes and refashion the kind of selves newly capitalist workplaces demand of them, forthcoming Winter 2015 in an Oxford University Press volume about the broader effects of job insecurity in contemporary culture. Dean Bartanen concluded her remarks by noting that external reviewers found Prof. Utrata’s work exceptional, path-breaking, and theoretically innovative, bridging scholarly fields while using “her keen interpretive powers and a unique case – that of post-Soviet Russia – to challenge existing theoretical understandings for wider sociological audiences.”
Congratulations Professor Utrata!