some of us are brave
Tressie McMillan Cottom is completing her PhD in the Sociology Department at Emory University in Atlanta, GA.
As a stratification scholar, Tressie considers what inequality means both experientially and empirically when corporations are people, supranational corporations like Facebook and Twitter shape the public square, and education is increasingly privatized. Her research primarily mines organizational arrangements and structural processes to better understand inequality across rapidly changing social domains. Her current work examines for-profit college credentials and inequality. She also has a developing research agenda that examines the political economy of emerging “new” media organizations. You can view her CV here.
Tressie lectures and publishes widely. She has been invited to speak on issues of education, race, gender, social movements and inequality at 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. Her academic work has appeared in Contexts, WestJEM, and a textbook from Oxford University Press. Four papers are in various stages of review: an organizational analysis of admissions at for-profit colleges (under review); an intersectional analysis of college choice among working class black and white women enrolled in for-profit colleges (submitted); inequality regimes and attention economies in academic engagement (submitted) and, the political economy of social media in identity movements (in preparation). Papers in progress include an examination of informal online learning and status groups on social media platforms and the post-racial ideology of Massive Open Online Courses.
In 2014, she was selected as a PhD Intern at the Microsoft Research Network’s Social Media Collective in Cambridge, MA. That research project will examine how students use informal online spaces to form status identities and groups. The paper will be submitted for review. 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.
With Sandy Darity of Duke University, she is the lead editor of “Profit U: The Rise of For-Profit Higher Education”, forthcoming from AERA books. A second book, a solo-authored manuscript on inequality and for-profit higher education, is under contract with The New Press. So far, her editors have not decided to kick her out of the fold.
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.
She can be found at www.tressiemc.com and @tressiemcphd.