Sociology Graduate Students Present at MSSA

The Mid South Sociological Association annual meetings provide sessions on the cutting edge of research interests. In addition, each meeting includes round tables and panels focusing on professional growth in the areas of teaching, tenure, and applications to graduate schools. The MSSA is one of the most diverse organizations around in terms of the demographic make-up of members and the types of colleges and universities where they are employed. To encourage and facilitate a diverse demographic membership, there are formal caucuses, whose Chairs are on the executive council, that are designed to address the particular needs of women (The Women’s Caucus) and minority groups (The Minority Caucus). Indeed, over the past years, the MSSA has had an impressive representation of diversity in MSSA leadership positions as well as in its general membership.

UCF Sociology graduate students had a strong showing at the October 2020 virtual meeting. Descriptions of the research students presented include the following:


Shameika Daye: Black Women, Cultural Aesthetics and the Construction of Space.  The aim of this study is to describe the construction of space and use of cultural aesthetics by Black women in private and public spaces.  The presentation covered Research Aim and Questions, Proposed Methodology and Data Collection Methods, Theoretical Framework Potential Findings and concluded with discussion and dialog to receive feedback from session participants.


Deborah Griffith: The lived reality for Blacks is that most will face the effects of social inequality, resulting in discrimination and disparity of treatment at some point in their lives.  The need to prepare Black children to survive the effects of racism is a necessary part of the Black family dynamic (Keaton 2018). The research aims at interpreting the behaviors and attitudes of awareness on the cultural significance of “The Talk” (Snell & Whitaker 2016) within the Black community and its use as a tool for racial socialization within Black families on how to address the effects of systemic racism within law enforcement, specifically interactions with police.  Through the lens of Critical Race Theory and Colorblind Ideology, the research examines the need felt by Black parents to socialize racism in preparing their children on how to navigate the disparity in treatment by police during a traffic stop.  The research also examines the effects of social standing, race, and how exposure to racism influences these interpretations.


Sonya Spence: At the 2020 MSSA conference, Sonya was a tech subcommittee member and a gendered violence panelist. She and other panelists from Middle Tennessee State University, Dr. Dye and Dr. Mckinzie, discussed the importance of gendered violence research and our specialty areas.  During the panel, she discussed her research on Florida’s Pregnancy-associated Intimate Partner Homicides (PAIPHs), Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) signs, risks associated with leaving an abuser, and prevention/policy recommendations. Overall, she states that enjoyed the experience, and is looking forward to attending the 2021 MSSA annual meeting, hopefully in person.



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