This annual graduate student conference is hosted on a rotating basis by one of several Chicago-area Sociology departments, including DePaul University, Illinois Institute of Technology, Loyola University, Northern Illinois University, Northwestern University, University of Notre Dame, the University of Chicago, and University of Illinois at Chicago. The conference provides an opportunity for graduate students to share their ethnographic scholarship with one another and get feedback from faculty and other graduate students based in the Chicago area and beyond.
2017 Conference Theme: On the Ground: Ethnography and Contemporary Social Crises
This year’s Keynote Speaker: Celeste Watkins-Hayes, Ph.D.
Celeste Watkins-Hayes is an Associate Professor of Sociology and African American Studies at Northwestern University and a Faculty Fellow at Northwestern’s Institute for Policy Research and Cells to Society (C2S): The Center on Social Disparities and Health. Her research focuses on urban poverty; social policy; HIV/AIDS; non-profit and government organizations; race, class, and gender. Her first book, The New Welfare Bureaucrats: Entanglements of Race, Class, and Policy Reform (University of Chicago Press, 2009), was a Finalist for the 2009 C. Wright Mills Book Award from the Society for the Study of Social Problems and the 2011 Max Weber Book Award from the American Sociological Association. Dr. Watkins-Hayes is currently Principal Investigator of the Health, Hardship, and Renewal Study, which explores the economic and social survival strategies of a racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse group of women living with HIV/AIDS in the Chicago area. Watkins-Hayes received a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Investigator Award and a National Science Foundation Early CAREER Award to conduct this research. Her book, Remaking a Life, Reversing an Epidemic: HIV/AIDS and the Politics of Transformation, will be published by the University of California Press. In addition to her academic articles and essays, Watkins-Hayes has published pieces in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Al Jazeera English, and Chicago Magazine. She holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Sociology from Harvard University and a B.A. from Spelman College, where she currently serves on the Board of Trustees. Dr. Watkins-Hayes’ intellectual commitments are motivated by a desire to offer analyses and prescriptions, based on empirically- and conceptually-rich research, that address the real-world issues that limit human potential. Her scholarship therefore speaks directly to current policy debates.