Media and Public Relations

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Media Sources Guide

CATEGORY: Society and CultureClear

Society and Culture: Sub-Categories:

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Amy Best

Associate Professor of Sociology

Expertise: Youth culture, proms, car culture, teens, social identity

Best is interested in the study of youth, culture and social inequalities.

She earned her PhD in Sociology in 1998 from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. She is author of "Prom Night: Youth, Schools and Popular Culture" (2000 Routledge), which was selected for the 2002 American Educational Studies Association Critics' Choice Award and "Fast Cars: Cool Rides: The Accelerating World of Youth and Their Cars" (NYU Press 2005) in addition to several articles and book chapters.

Media Contact: Michele McDonald, 703-993-8781,

Shannon Davis

Assistant Professor of Sociology

Expertise: Families, Adolescents, Division of household labor, Gender inequality

Davis' research focuses on the creation of families and the negotiation of family life.  Specifically, she is interested in how adolescents create and maintain relationships, how family members negotiate the intersection of paid and unpaid work in their daily lives, and how gender inequality is reproduced in families.

She also looks at the construction and maintenance of beliefs about gender, or gender ideologies.

Recent research has focused on testing the predictive power of theories on divorce, the division of household labor, and perceptions of fairness of the division of household labor using cross-national samples. 

Davis received her BA in Sociology in 1997 from the University of North Carolina at Asheville and her PhD in Sociology in 2004 from the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at North Carolina State University.

Media Contact: Michele McDonald, 703-993-8781,

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Mark Goodale

Associate Professor of Conflict Analysis and Anthropology

Expertise: Bolivia, Latin America

Goodale is an anthropologist who specializes in international law, human rights and culture, morality across cultures, and different types of conflict.

He has been conducting research in Bolivia since 1996 and as a Fulbright scholar he studied Romania’s efforts to reform their political and legal institutions in preparation for accession to the European Union in 2007.
He is the author of two books: Surrendering to Utopia: An Anthropology of Human Rights (Stanford University Press, 2009) and Dilemmas of Modernity: Bolivian Encounters with Law and Liberalism (Stanford University Press, 2008).

He is currently writing two new books, one a volume of essays on human rights and moral creativity, the other a study of revolution and counterrevolution in contemporary Bolivia. In 2007 he became the series editor of Stanford Studies in Human Rights, a book series with Stanford University Press.

Media Contact: Buzz McClain, (703) 993-8782,

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Angela Hattery

Associate Director, Women and Gender Studies

Expertise: Domestic Violence, Intimate Partner Violence, Contemporary Families, Women and Gender Studies, African-American Families, Post-Obama America, Mass Incarceration, Exoneration

Angela J. Hattery earned her PhD in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her BA from Carleton College.  She has published eight books, including her newest, "The Social Dynamics of Family Violence" (Westview, Spring 2012). She can speak about all areas of domestic and intimate partner violence, including violence within same-sex couples, immigrants and Native Americans.

Hattery is also interested in examining the state of the African American community and African American Families in "post-racial," post-Obama America. She developed and co-taught an off-campus course, Social Stratification in the Deep South, which involves taking students on a three-week journey through Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi, exploring the continued effects of racism, classism, and sexism.  The course incorporates community experts and a service learning project. She has led students on Alternative Spring Break (Stephens, Arkansas) and International Service Trips (Calcutta, India).  



Media Contact: Michele McDonald, 703-993-8781,

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Todd Kashdan

Associate Professor, Department of Psychology

Web Site

Expertise: Science of Happiness, Relationships, Strengths, Social Anxiety, Curiosity, Mindfulness, Emotions, Personality

Dr. Kashdan is the author of the book, "Curious?" (Harper Collins 2009). He has published more than 80 original publications in peer-reviewed journals or edited volumes that mostly focus on anxiety disorders, self-regulation, positive emotions, how personal strengths operate in everyday life, interpersonal relationships, and the assessment and cultivation of well-being, curiosity, gratitude, and meaning and purpose in life. His research has been funded by grants from the National Institute of Health, Veterans Integrated Service Network, Anxiety Disorder Association of America, Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology, and the Positive Psychology Network.

He has been active in the positive psychology movement since 2000, when he taught one of the first college courses on the science of happiness. He is an associate editor of the Journal of Positive Psychology and on the editorial boards of the Journal of Anxiety Disorders, Behavior Therapy, Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, Journal of Research in Personality, and Self and Identity. He is on the Advisory Board for the Centre for Applied Positive Psychology in the United Kingdom.

His research has been featured in several popular media outlets including a feature article in the New York Times, The Washington Post, National Public Radio, The Tavis Smiley Show, Oprah Magazine, Montel Williams Radio Show, Reader’s Digest, Psychology Today, Prevention Magazine, Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, Parenting Magazine, Talking with America, and Green America Radio,,, and The Guardian among others.

Listen to Dr. Kashdan on NPR's Kojo Nnamdi show.


Media Contact: Michele McDonald, 703-993-8781,

John Nauright

Professor of Sport Management and History; Director of the Academy of International Sport; CoDirector of the Center for the Study of Sport and Leisure

Expertise: Political Economy of Sports Events, Alternative Models of Social and Economic Development, Sports and International Development, History, Social, Economic, Political and Environmental Impacts of Golf, the Relationship between Sports Fandom, Social Identities and Marketing, Globalization, International Geographic and Cultural Literacy

John Nauright is a professor of sport management and history in the College of Education and Human Development. He is also a visiting professor of cultural studies at the University of the West Indies in Barbados.

He is an expert on contemporary and historical issues in sports around the world. He has published 15 books on sport including Sports Around the World (4 volumes); The Political Economy of Sport; and Long Run to Freedom: Sport, Cultures and Identities in South Africa. His journal articles and blogs have discussed a wide range of issues from the Olympics and soccer World Cup; international soccer; sport and popular music; sport and youth development; politics and economics of sports events; gender issues in sport; and golf among others. He was program consultant and talking head for the BBC Wales series The Union Game, which examined the global history of rugby.

Professor Nauright has been interviewed by media outlets around the world including the British Broadcasting Corporation; the Australian Broadcasting Corporation; Caribbean Television; New York Times; Washington Times; Wall Street Journal; Time; ESPN: The Magazine; The Smithsonian Magazine; Semana (Columbia); La Vie (France); The Age (Melbourne, Australia); Sydney Morning Herald; The Australian; The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Australia); and numerous radio networks around the world. 

Media Contact: Preston Williams, 703-993-9376,

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Linda J. Seligmann

Professor of Anthropology

Expertise: Adoption (International and Transracial), Andean Region of Latin America, Agrarian Issues, Shining Path Movement, Informal Economies, Quechua People

Seligmann is the author of the forthcoming book “Broken Links, Enduring Ties: American Adoption across Race, Class, and Nation” (Stanford University Press July 2013). She has done first-hand research and extensive interviews on families who have adopted children from China and Russia, and who have adopted African American children transracially. She can discuss the changing faces of American families, which constitutes a particular kind of immigration. In addition, she can also discuss women and work, specifically the participation of women in the informal economy.

Seligmann has worked in the Andean region of Latin America for more than twenty years.  She specializes in agrarian issues, Quechua culture and the dynamics of the informal economy. 

She received her PhD from the University of Illinois-Urbana in 1987.  She was associate director of the Center for Latin American and Iberian Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a faculty fellow in the Program in Agrarian Studies at Yale University before coming to George Mason. 

Seligmann is fluent in Spanish and Quechua. 

She has published political analyses in local and national newspapers and journals, including The Washington Post and the Latin American Studies Association Forum. 

Media Contact: Michele McDonald, 703-993-8781,

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Suzanne Smith

Associate Professor, Department of History and Art History

Expertise: History of Motown, American Popular Music, Blues, Jazz, Bluegrass, Country Music, Civil Rights Movement, African-American History and Culture, Urban History and Film, History of Death in America, Black Entrepreneurship

Smith is the author of "Dancing in the Street: Motown and the Cultural Politics of Detroit"(Harvard University Press, January 2000), which explores Motown and its relationship to the black community of Detroit and the civil rights movement. The book was awarded third place in the 11th annual Gleason Music Book Awards, sponsored by NYU, Rolling Stone, and BMI.

Her new book, "To Serve the Living: Funeral Directors and the African American Way of Death" (The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, February 2010), explores the role of funeral directors in African American life and their participation in the national civil rights movement.

She completed her Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University in 1996. She has also contributed to various public history projects including the film Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring for the American Experience series on PBS, and the series, I’ll Make Me A World: African American Arts in the Twentieth Century, from Blackside Productions.

Smith can talk about the relationship of popular culture, music, and art to social protest; the study of film and collective memory; and the history of death in America.


Media Contact: Michele McDonald, 703-993-8781,

James Witte

Research Director, Institute for Immigration Research and Professor of Sociology

Expertise: Research methods especially survey research and the analysis of large longitudinal data sets, identifying the economic contributions of immigrant workers

Witte currently leads research for the newly created Institute for Immigration Research (IIR), which focuses on the economic contributions of immigrants in the U.S. workforce. Current projects include the mapping of immigrant entrepreneurs by geography and industry as well as the unique contributions of immigrants as Nobel Laureates or Major League Baseball All-Stars. Witte teaches graduate classes in research methods and survey research.