some of us are brave

BIO and CV

Berkman Talk 2015; Click for playback

Berkman Talk 2015; Click for playback

In Brief:

I am an assistant professor of sociology at Virginia Commonwealth University.

I am a faculty associate at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard.

I am the author of “Lower Ed: How For-Profit Colleges Deepen Inequality”, forthcoming from The New Press in fall 2016.

I am co-editor (with Karen Gregory and Jessie Daniels) of “Digital Sociologies”, forthcoming from UK Policy Press in winter 2016.

I am also co-editor of “For-Profit U”, with Sandy Darity, currently under review.

I have two current projects, in various stages of proposal, data collection, and analysis. First is a project on technological change, classification situations (Fourcade and Healy, 2014), and racialization. A second project examines entrepreneurial ideologies in poor, black communities.

I serve in various leadership capacities: board member of DocNow (Mellon funded social media archival project focused on examining inequality); co-chair of the Sociologists for Women in Society academic justice committee, contributor at The Society Pages, and co-organizer of the American Sociological Association’s social media preconference.

I am a contributing writer at The Atlantic and contributing editor at Dissent.

I teach undergraduate and graduate courses in race, and digital sociology.

You can email me at tressiemc at gmail dot com.

My CV is here.

Say More:

Tressie McMillan Cottom is an assistant professor of sociology at Virginia Commonwealth University (Fall 2015). She is a faculty associate at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society. She earned her Ph.D. in Sociology from Emory University in Atlanta, GA with a case study of the political economy of for-profit colleges in the era of financialized U.S. higher education.

Tressie’s current research examines how we learn for work in the new economy. That includes thinking about academic capitalism, labor market correspondence, for-profit and online credentials, and media interactions. You can find her with FemBot, SSS, ASA, and SWS.

Tressie lectures and publishes widely.  Currently, she is a contributing editor with Dissent and a contributing writer with The Atlantic. She has been invited to speak on issues of education, race, gender, social movements and inequality at the White House, MIT, the Carter G. Woodson Institute at the University of Virginia, Duke, UGA, GSU, UC-Irvine as well as national and international public policy agencies in Canada, New Zealand and across the U.S.  Her public writing has appeared in Inside Higher Education, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Slate, Dissent Magazine, and The New York Times. Additionally, she has appeared on NPR and Dan Rather Reports.

In 2014, she was selected as a PhD Intern at the Microsoft Research Network’s Social Media Collective  in Cambridge, MA.  She is also a former research fellow at the Center for Poverty Research at UC-Davis. As a fellow, she wrote a public policy brief (forthcoming) that examines the link between 1996 changes that purported to “end welfare as we know it” and the rise in for-profit workforce credentials among poor women.  She is honored to join the Barnard Center for Research on Women as an organizing consultant for their 40th anniversary Scholar & Feminist conference on gender and education. She will be co-editing a special journal issue based on conference papers. With colleagues Jessie Daniels and Karen Gregory, she is currently working on a published volume of emerging discussions in Digital Sociology

Tressie considers teaching a foundational research activity. She teaches introductory sociology courses and has developed seminars in contemporary stratification (post-Great Recession), critical university studies, and technology and inequality. Her students seem to enjoy her pedagogical enthusiasm. To be fair, students do occasionally complain that she threatens to incorporate interpretative dance into lectures. Tressie thinks they doth protest too much.

20 comments on “BIO and CV

  1. talkwithcarolyn
    January 7, 2016

    Dr. Cottom, I love you! Now that I found your blog, I need to read everything you have ever written. Even your grocery list. You blow me away. Thank you for what you do and how you say it. It gives me such pride.

    • tressiemc22
      January 7, 2016

      Thank you, Carolyn. Have to warn you that my grocery list is boring. :)

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  6. Peter Freedman-Doan
    September 5, 2014

    I’ve been reading for about 6 months now. I got here by way of Elijah Anderson, Alice Goffman, and trying to think about the hows and whys and consequences of incarceration. I love the blog. I’m an old fella. I don’t Twitter. Sometimes I can follow neither the social science references to authors and ideas nor the social networking twitter stuff. Nevertheless, still love what I read here. Thanks much. I’m an old dog (soon to be 60) who loves to at least see new tricks.

  7. Pingback: Inequality Regimes and Student Experience in Online Learning: Tressie McMillan Cottom at Berkman | Grabber

  8. nikkiskies
    June 8, 2014

    This is my new favorite site! A critical mind, a beautiful mind…and I thank you.

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  11. pennynewell
    February 19, 2014

    Dear Tressie,

    Thanks for these blog posts – I love the stuff about engaging as academics by working in lateral ways and across lots of platforms, and having versatile ideas.

    I am getting in touch with a question. Basically, I am co-creating an event at King’s College London, entitled, ‘Research with Reach: Valuing ideas beyond the academe’. The project has been devised to look at what we think of as a ‘third space’ between academia and mainstream arts writing – that is, exactly the space you examine here.

    Myself and my co-convenor Ella Parry-Davies have just read your blog, and wondered if you might have contacts for the UK who are thinking/blogging/working in similar ways? We unfortunately don’t have a huge budget from our funders, otherwise we’d be contacting you offering to fly you across!

    The conference will be an opportunity for a cohort of some of the brightest emerging arts and humanities thinkers in London to benefit from the perspective and expertise of professionals such as yourself.

    We’d love your input and ideas! And thanks again for this fascinating read! You can find links to me through twitter, wordpress etc etc here:


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  13. lindaleea
    February 9, 2014

    Look at Full Sail… great example of marketing to and accepting students (with loans) .

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  15. Nisha Vida
    November 7, 2013

    you are amazing!!!

  16. Kaethe
    October 30, 2013

    I got here from John Scalzi. I’m just loving all your posts. Thanks for introducing me to “swirling”.

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  18. Walter Hamilton
    May 1, 2012

    I’m a reporter at the LA Times writing about student loans. I loved your tweet. I want to interview you for my story. Please get in touch at

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