Rutgers-Camden 
Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice

Fall 2010 Newsletter 

In This Newsletter


Faculty News


Congratulations to Board of Governors Professor Myra Bluebond-Langner

The Board of Governors named Dr. Myra Bluebond-Langner as a Board of Governors Professor of Anthropology.

Dr. Bluebond-Langner’s research on dying children has helped to promote the study of children and the Center for Children and Childhood Studies. Widely cited, her books include: The Private Worlds of Dying Children and In the Shadow of Illness:  Parents and Siblings of the Chronically Ill Child (both with Princeton University Press). Dr. Bluebond-Langner is on a five-year leave from the department for an appointment as Professor and True Colours Chair in Palliative Care for Children and Young People at the University College London’s Institute of Child Health and Great Ormond Street Hospital. Professor Bluebond-Langner will continue to serve as editor of the Rutgers University Press Series in Childhood Studies while she is abroad. The department is proud to offer our best congratulations to Dr. Bluebond-Langner.

Dr. Drew Humphries’ presentations at the 2010 American Society of Criminology meetings in San Francisco focus on the social construction of female killers in Law and Order, Dexter, and The Wire. For those of you familiar with The Wire, Dr. Humphries’ paper includes Snoop, the “scariest woman on television.”

Dr. Joan Mazelis has a paper forthcoming in the Journal of Marriage and Family.  It’s called: “Relationship Status and Activated Kin Support: The Role of Need and Norms” and was coauthored with Laryssa Mykyta. The study examined financial support from kin among parents who recently had a child, investigating whether their relationship status influenced their access of financial support from relatives over time. From 4,898 births in 75 hospitals across 20 large cities, parents completed a survey after the birth of their child, and were re-interviewed over three time periods until the child reached 5 years old.  


Course Notes

In Winterim

Dr. Caputo’s course – Special Topics in Criminal Justice: Prison and Jail Violence – takes a close look at violence in correctional institutions with a focus on causes and control. Topics include prison and jail rape, gang violence, prison riots, the social world of jails and prisons, and methods to prevent and control violence. Course information is diverse and drawn from various sources, including documentary film, inmate writing, federal and state agencies, and academic literature.

Click here for the full schedule of winterim courses.

In the Spring

Dr. Drew Humphries teaches two courses in the Spring, Deviance and Violent Crime. In Deviance, students spent 12 hours in a deviant identity. And in Violent Crime, students read novels and view documentaries to flesh out their understandings of violence.

Dr. Sheila Cosminsky  is teaching a new course – Health & Healing in Guatemala. The course will focus on the historical, sociopolitical, economic and cultural influences on health and health care delivery in Guatemala.  The course consists of five 3 hour seminars and includes an 8 day trip to the Guatemalan highlands which will be both a service and a learning learning opportunity.

Dr. Cati Coe is teaching a new course – Research on Abandoned Housing in Camden. This course is primarily built around a research project, in which each student will tell the story of an abandoned house in Camden, pulling together interviews with people who live near abandoned housing, archival documents, and visual documentation through photos and maps of the house and surrounding neighborhoods.  In the process, we will learn something about the process of doing qualitative research and about the issues surrounding housing in urban areas in the contemporary United States.


Spring 2011 Registration

Registration for spring courses begins November 7th. Click here for the complete schedule of courses.

For more written guidance about course selections, please see the Sociology Advising Page and Criminal Justice Advising Page.

The department recommends that students see their faculty advisor before registering for courses. Check the list of advising assignments. If your name is not listed, contact Sherry Pisacano in the departmental office (405-7 Cooper street; 856 225-6470).


Graduate Program in Criminal justice

Urban Research Series

The Masters program in Criminal Justice is continuing the Urban Research Speaker Series, intended to bring graduate students, advanced undergraduate students, faculty, and researchers together in a collegial forum to discuss ideas and issues relevant to conducting criminal justice and related urban research in Camden. It is designed to make connections among researchers and to engage our students in urban research.

The spring event in the series will feature Dr. Johnna Christian, Assistant Professor at the School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers – Newark. Her talk is titled “Secondary Narratives in the Aftermath of Crime: Family Members’ Relationships with Prisoners and the Implications for Prisoner Reentry”. The research applies the storyline framework of the criminal event to the secondary narrative of prisoners’ relationships with family members before and during incarceration, and their plans for life upon release from prison. Analyzing 29 in-depth interviews from thirteen inmate/family dyads and one inmate/family triad, she examines multiple views of the impact of incarceration and its consequences for the incarcerated individual, the family member, and their connections to each other. Dr Christian’s work demonstrates that these relationships follow three distinct yet intersecting secondary narratives —disrupted, transforming, and precarious—characterized by different qualities of pre-incarceration relationships, impacts on family members’ lives and plans for the future. Defining the characteristics of these narratives is important because each narrative has specific implications for the family member’s willingness and capacity to support the offender both during the incarceration period and upon release from prison.  

Johnna Christian received her Ph.D. in Criminal Justice from the University at Albany and is currently an Assistant Professor in the School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University, Newark. Her research focuses on the impact of incarceration on prisoners’ families and communities.  In 2005 she received the National Institute of Justice W.E.B. DuBois Fellowship to support a research project examining family members’ connections to incarcerated individuals. Some of her work has been published in the Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, Journal of Criminal Justice, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography and Journal of Offender Rehabilitation. She is co-editor of the book, How Offenders Transform Their Lives, published by Willan Publishing.

Thanks to Dr. Humphries and Dr. King for arranging this exciting event.


Students News

Undergraduates . . .

Ryan Daly is working on research with Dr. Mazelis. It s a qualitative interview study considering relationship status and other forms of support to new mothers and fathers in the hopes that results will identify reasons parents do not activate the support they need.

Graduate Students . . .

Congratulations to Jessica Boatwright, Kristin Foy, Tony Hubbard, Dana Simome, and Joe Williams who each received Graduate Fellowships for the 2010-2011 academic year.

Congratulations to our October Master of Arts recipients Carlo Aragoncillo and Allison Tyler.


Save the Dates

Graduate Programs Open House. The Graduate School Camden is holding an open house on November 10th from 4-7 p.m. in the Campus Center. All graduate programs are represented. Students can learn about the programs, get information about application, and meet faculy from the graduate programs. For further details, including how to register if you plan to attend, click here.

Graduate Program in Criminal Justice Comprehensive Examination. The spring comprehensive examination will take place on Friday January 28, 2011. Students should contact Dr. Caputo for registration.


November 1, 2010 18:40. Contact Gail Caputo with comments or questions.