Congratulations to Professor Kim Pernell, Canada Research Chair in Economic Sociology

Kim PernellProfessor Kim Pernell was recently confirmed as the Sociology Department’s latest Canada Research Chair. This honour recognizes Professor Pernell’s academic achievements and her contributions to the emerging field of economic sociology. As a scholar early in her career, Professor Pernell received a Tier II Canada Research Chair which identifies her as an “exceptional emerging researcher” having the potential to lead in her field.

Professor Pernell came to the University of Toronto in the fall of 2016 after completing her doctorate in Sociology at Harvard University. Both her work at Harvard and the work that she is doing now speak directly to many of the most pressing questions and active debates in economic and organizational sociology. In particular, her research seeks to understand the organizational processes, cultural frameworks and institutional conditions that facilitate risky, ineffective, and harmful behavior, especially in financial markets.

Pernell currently has three lines of research. In one line, she examines the development of the regulatory systems that constrain or enable undesirable bank behavior. In another line of research, Pernell studies the rise and spread of risky financial instruments. In her third line, Pernell asks how recent changes in the structure of North American financial systems have contributed to trends in socioeconomic inequality. All of the strands of her research contribute to understanding the interaction between institutional and cultural frameworks, and the outcomes of such interactions for economic and social well-being.

Pernell has already been recognized for her excellence within the field. Remarkable for a scholar who has only recently completed her doctorate, Pernell has already published in two of the flagship journals of the discipline.  She has also presented her research on panels at some of the most prestigious academic conferences in the field, including the American Sociological Association and the Society for the Advancement of Socioeconomics.

Pernell is poised to be a leader in several fields. Her work cuts across sub-disciplines, including organizational sociology, economic sociology, law and regulation, political sociology, cultural sociology, and transnational sociology. She contributes to understandings of how modern regulatory regimes develop and change; how risky practices and activities come to rise and spread in financial markets; and how changes in banking and finance contribute to the reproduction of social inequality today. Beyond its academic importance, her work is also valuable for policymakers in Canada, the U.S., and for financial markets at a global level.  With the Canada Research Chair, Pernell will forge even more connections with Canadian and global actors in the world of finance and bring her insights to a wider range of stakeholders to influence policy and effect change.

Professor Pernell is the fifth faculty member in the Department of Sociology to receive a Canada Research Chair. She is preceded by Professor John Myles who was a Canada Research Chair in the Social Foundations of Public Policy and Professor Monica Boyd who held the Canada Research Chair in Immigration, Integration and Public Policy. Professor Scott Schieman currently holds a Canada Research Chair in the Social Contexts of Health and Professor Ito Peng holds a Canada Research Chair in Global Social Policy.

Congratulations to Kim Pernell, recipient of 2016 Richard J. Hernstein Prize

pernell-5x7portCongratulations to Professor Kim Pernell whose PhD dissertation was recently awarded the Richard J. Herrnstein Prize from Harvard University. Professor Pernell finished her dissertation in the spring of 2016 before joining us at the University of Toronto (St. George) this summer. The Richard J. Herrnstein Prize is awarded annually by the Graduate School of Arts and Science at Harvard to the dissertation produced that year that best exhibits “excellent scholarship, originality and breadth of thought, and a commitment to intellectual independence.” It honours the memory of Richard J. Hernstein and the academic values he espoused.

Professor Pernell’s dissertation is called The Causes of the Divergent Development of Banking Regulation in the U.S., Canada, and Spain. In it, she answers the question, “why did different countries develop different systems of banking regulation in the years leading up to the credit crisis of the late 2000s, despite adhering to a common transnational regulatory agreement (the 1988 Basel Capital Accord)?” American banks suffered massive losses, while Canadian banks emerged relatively unscathed. Spanish banks also experienced major losses, but the outcomes would have been much worse had Spanish regulators not imposed such strict prudential standards. Pernell’s research shows that banking regulators from different countries adopted different policies because they subscribed to fundamentally different conceptions of economic order, which can be traced back many decades. Her work highlights the ways in which cultural/cognitive institutions structure policymaking, even in the modern globalized and transnational era.

In addition to developing this research into a book, Professor Pernell is also currently conducting research that studies the impact of shareholder value management on risk-taking in the financial industry, the unintended consequences of the rise of a new professional (the chief risk officer), and how changes in banking systems have shaped trends in socioeconomic inequality. We are fortunate to have Professor Pernell in the Department and heartily congratulate her on this award.

Welcome New Faculty

This year the Department of Sociology welcomes ten new faculty members into our community of scholars. This is the largest cohort of new faculty members we have seen in decades. They cover research and teaching interests ranging from classical theory to criminology and immigration studies and will help shape the character of the department in the years to come. Though housed across the three campuses, all faculty join together in contributing to the tri-campus graduate department.

Professor Ellen Berrey joins the faculty at the University of Toronto, Mississauga teaching in the area of Law and Society. She graduated with a PhD in Sociology from Northwestern University in 2008 and has previously taught at the University at Buffalo, SUNY and at the University of Denver.

Professor Irene Boeckmann is a new faculty member in Family and Demography, teaching at the St. George campus. Professor Boeckmann completed her PhD at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in 2014 and spent 2015 as a post-doctoral fellow at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center in Germany.

Professor Emine Fidan Elcioglu brings her expertise in political sociology and immigration to the University of Toronto at Scarborough. Professor Elcioglu received her doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley in 2016.

Professor Steve G. Hoffman received his PhD at Northwestern University in 2009 and taught for several years at the University at Buffalo, SUNY before coming to the University of Toronto at Mississauga. Professor Hoffman teaches in the area of social theory and the sociology of disaster.

Professor Rachel La Touche comes to the University of Toronto at St George this year where she is teaching in the areas of research methods and inequality. She received her PhD from Indiana University-Bloomington in 2016 and has previously taught at the University of Mannheim-Germany and at the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research(ICPSR) Summer Program at the University ofMichigan.

Professor Yoonkyung Lee joins the faculty at the University of Toronto, St. George. Professor Lee received her PhD at Duke University in 2006 and has previously taught at Binghamton University. Professor Lee is a political sociologist with a focus on Korean studies.

Professor Sida Liu is a new faculty member at the University of Toronto, Mississauga. Professor Liu is a specialist in the sociology of law. He received his PhD from the University of Chicago in 2009. Before coming to Toronto, Professor Liu taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is also currently a Faculty Fellow at the American Bar Foundation and a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

Professor Akwasi Owusu-Bempah received his doctorate in 2014 from the Centre for Criminology and Socio-legal Studies here at the University of Toronto, Mississauga. Before coming back to Toronto, Professor Owusu-Bempah taught for a year at the Indiana University, Bloomington. Professor Owusu-Bempah is a specialist in policing and race.

Professor Kim Pernell comes to the University of Toronto, St. George with expertise in economic sociology, organizational sociology and social policy. Professor Pernell received a PhD in Sociology from Harvard in 2016.

Professor Ashley Rubin joins the faculty at the University of Toronto, Mississauga bringing expertise in the sociology of punishment and prisons. Professor Rubin received her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley in 2013 and previously taught at Florida State University.