Soko Cheng '19 has been awarded a competitive Gilman International Scholarship, which she will use this sprin...
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Associate Professor of Anthropology-Sociology
2 East South Street
Galesburg, IL 61401-4999
Associate Professor of Anthropology-Sociology
"Overall, I am interested in connecting the big stuff of social life-markets, power, price, beauty, and love-with the smallest moments of everyday meaning-making and interpretation. In my current research, I am pursuing this analytic agenda in the case of commercial art. I analyze how "market" and "art" are worked out in daily practice by the graphic artists I studied, who must make visual products that are artistic (but not too artistic, lest they fail to appeal to the general public) and marketable (but not too marketable, lest the work become derivative and uninspired).
I center my teaching on the similar aim of linking macrostructural realities with micro experience. Students in my classes grapple, for example, with the ways in which talk and face-to-face interaction complicate institutional processes, or with the ways in which our accepted understandings of race/ethnicity, gender, and sexuality lead to (and often disguise) the large-scale social inequities we see in our country and around the world. There are no easy answers to such questions, but I love seeing how deeply my students dig into the possible answers and complications in pursuing them."
Years at Knox: 2010 to present
Ph.D., Sociology, 2010, University of California-Los Angeles.
M.A., Sociology, 2002, University of California-Los Angeles.
B.A., Interdisciplinary Social Science, 1995, Evergreen State College.
Sociology of culture, sociology of art, work and occupations, social theory, inequality, qualitative methods.
"Review of Creative Labour: Media Work in Three Cultural Industries, by David Hesmondhalgh and Sarah Baker," Contemporary Sociology, 41.1 (2012): 87-88.
"Avenue to Adulthood: Teenage Pregnancy and the Meaning of Motherhood in Poor Communities," in American Families: A Multicultural Reader, 2nd Edition, Stephanie Coontz with Maya Parson and Gabrielle Raley, eds. New York: Routledge. 2007. Reprinted in Sociology: Exploring the Architecture of Everyday Life Readings, 8th Edition, Newman, David M. and Jodi O'Brien, eds. Thousand Oaks, California, Pine Forge Press, 2010.
"No Good Choices: Teenage Childbearing, Concentrated Poverty, and Welfare Reform," in American Families: A Multicultural Reader, Stephanie Coontz with Maya Parson and Gabrielle Raley, eds. New York: Routledge, 1999.
Discussant, Microsociologies Session, American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Seattle, WA. August 20-23, 2016.
"Be an Apprentice, Not a Worker: Navigating the Organizational Culture of Commercial Art." American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA, August 2014.
"Between Art and Advertising: The Paradox of Making Commercial Art." 40th Annual Conference on Social Theory, Politics, and the Arts, Louisiana State University, October 2012.
"Working Vacations: Time and the Assessment of Engagement in Creative Professional Work." The Hidden Abode of Culture and Care Work Session, American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Denver, Colorado, August 2012.
"Not Art, Exactly": The Paradox of Making Commercial Art." New Research on Cultural Industries Session, American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Atlanta, Georgia, August 2010.
"Private Selves and Public Work: Negotiating Space and Visibility in an Office Setting." Microsociologies Session, American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, San Francisco, California, August 2009.
"The Accidental Organization: Power and Bureaucracy in a 'New Culture' Firm." Sociology of Work Session, American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Boston, Massachusetts, August 2008.
"New Culture/Traditional Society: Bases of Power at an Anti-Bureaucratic Firm." How Class Works Annual Conference, University of Stony Brook, June 2006.
"Qualitative Quality: Criteria for Evaluating Ethnographic Accounts." Qualitative Methodology Session, American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, August 2005.
"Making It vs. Faking It: Emotional Labor in White-Collar Business Books." Sociobehavioral Processes and the Economy Session, American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, San Francisco, August 2004.
Campus & Community Involvement
What Students Say
"What makes Gabe a great professor is her ability to compare abstract texts with concrete social circumstances to illustrate that conceptual ideas have real and lasting meaning in our lives. What's more, she brings an incredible energy to class discussions that stems from the infatuation she has with her discipline-something she's always willing to share with anyone who wants to learn."
-Josh Tatro, Anthropology and Sociology Major
"Gabe's passion for what she teaches is one of the best aspects of taking class with her. She challenges students to look at things through a sociological lens and encourages them to discuss class material beyond the classroom--this knowledge sticks with you long after the course has ended. Gabe's enthusiasm, her approachable demeanor, and her sincere interest in helping students pursue a better understanding of the social world around them make learning exciting and meaningful."
-Aleah Meyer, Anthropology and Sociology Major