UCF Sociology Team Presents in South Africa

Jay Corzine, Jolene Vincent and Lin Huff-Corzine

Jay Corzine, Jolene Vincent and Lin Huff-Corzine

Three sociology researchers from the University of Central Florida presented at an international conference on violence prevention in South Africa.

The conference titled Preventing Violence: From Scientific Excellence to Effective Practice was held September 8-9, 2016 in Cape Town.

The conference presents an opportunity for researchers from all relevant academic disciplines working on violence and violence prevention to share their current research. Practitioners involved in violence prevention initiatives, like the team of UCF researchers, are encouraged to present.

Sociology Professors Jay Corzine, Ph.D., and Lin Huff-Corzine, Ph.D., attended with sociology doctoral candidate Jolene Vincent. The team presented its research paper titled “Mass Murder in the United States: The Effects of Weapons, Offender Demographics, and Situational Characteristics on the Number of Deaths.”

“This paper is part of a larger collaborative venture examining mass murder events,” Jolene explained. In this paper, the team described that the number of victims increases when fire or explosives are used by offenders.

Jolene, a second year doctoral student in the Department of Sociology, has traveled to many cities to present at conferences. But this international conference in Africa was the furthest she has journeyed.

“Sharing our research that was conducted in the U.S. to an international audience was extremely beneficial,” Jolene said. “Not only did we inform other scholars about what is occurring across the globe, we were able to get insight from outsiders looking in.”

Sociology Professor Jay Corzine explained the United States and South Africa may have very different histories, but share other parts of their national identities, including troubled race relations and a current volume of violent crime that surpasses most developed countries.

“Interacting with South African scholars and those from other nations gave us new ways of looking at violence, including human trafficking in the United States,” he said. “One take away from our trip was that violence in South Africa shares many characteristics with that in the United States; it is concentrated at particular locations and times.”

Sociology Professor Lin Huff-Corzine explained she began studying mass murder, not because it is a sensational topic, but because the department’s contacts within the FBI explained that more research was needed.

In response to this need, Corzine and Huff-Corzine have worked with several students to present and publish research on mass murder in the U.S. The team decided to take their research overseas to share information about the U.S., make contacts and improve their understanding of mass murder in other countries.

“It is my experience that with improvements in communication and travel accommodations the world is becoming smaller,” Huff-Corzine said.  “As a result, what happens halfway around the globe is more likely to influence events in the U.S., and vice-versa, more than ever before.”

Huff-Corzine explained this improvement calls for researchers to develop international working groups aimed at understanding mass murder events.

“We can inform policy by exploring patterns related to the offenders, victims, and context in which mass murders occur,” she said.

The team collectively agreed the conference improved their understanding of violence around the world and opened up future opportunities for collaboration.

In addition to attending the conference in Cape Town, the team toured the prison where Nelson Mandela was held, went sightseeing, took a helicopter ride around the peninsula, visited an ostrich farm, and even experienced a safari through Africa.

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