Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice

Spring 2010 Newsletter

In This Newsletter

Faculty News

Professor Myra Bluebond-Langner, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, will be taking a five-year leave from the department to accept 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. This is the first research chair in pediatric palliative care in the world. Professor Bluebond-Langner will encourage and foster the development of excellence in children’s palliative care throughout the UK and seek to influence national and international services and policy. Professor Bluebond-Langner will continue to serve as editor of the Rutgers University Press Series in Childhood Studies while she is abroad.

Professor Bluebond-Langner’s research career has focused on childhood illness, both chronic and terminal. Her accomplishments in medical anthropology, childhood studies and bioethics have had considerable impact within various academic disciplines as well as in the practice of medicine and research with children and have been recognized both here and abroad. Her latest recognition was from the University of Illinois, her graduate school alma mater, which conferred upon her the University of Illinois College of Arts and Sciences Achievement Award. She was also named distinguished alum of the University of Illinois Department of Anthropology.

Professor Bluebond-Langner has been a valued member of the department, serving as chair for several years and as an active participant in all of the department’s activities throughout her tenure here. She will be missed while she is gone, but we look forward to her return in 2015 and wish her much success as she takes on the challenge of establishing a new program in palliative care in London. 

Although the department will be temporarily losing one faculty member, we will be gaining another. Joan Maya Mazelis is joining the department as an Assistant Professor of Sociology. Professor Mazelis received her B.A. from Binghamton University, and earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania, with a graduate certificate in urban studies. Before coming to Rutgers-Camden, Dr. Mazelis was an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Yeshiva University in New York City, and also taught at Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania. Her areas of specialty are urban sociology and social stratification; her research and teaching interests are in urban poverty and inequality, social policy, race and ethnicity, identity, reciprocity, social capital, stigma, qualitative methods, and the daily lives of low-income families. She considers how ideas about poverty change over time and space and how those ideas affect poor people. She will be teaching Introduction to Sociology, Sociological Theory, Urban Sociology, and Social Stratification. We are delighted to welcome Professor Mazelis to the department.


For those wondering what will happen to the courses Professor Bluebond-Langner customarily teaches, we are happy to announce that Cindy Dell Clark will be joining the department as a Visiting Associate Professor of Anthropology for the next two years. In that position, she will offer many of the courses Professor Bluebond-Langner has taught, including Childhood and Culture and Child Health and Illness this fall.  Dr Clark has over 25 years experience doing qualitative research with children, both as an applied researcher and in scholarly work. She holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in Human Development from the University of Chicago, as well as a B.A. in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania. During the past decade, she was a faculty member in Human Development and Family Studies at Penn State Brandywine, where she taught courses touching on children, families and culture. Dr. Clark conducts research that privileges the vantage points of children.  Adding to her three prior books and many chapters and articles, Oxford University Press will soon publish her fourth book, a methodological guidebook, “In A Younger Voice:  Doing Child-centered Qualitative Research.” 

Dr. Jane Siegel chaired a panel and presented a paper entitled “Child Maltreatment and Delinquency in an At-Risk Population of Youth” at the American Society of Criminology conference in Philadelphia. She also delivered a lecture about children of incarcerated mothers to a group of criminal court judges in Philadelphia as part of a presentation about women in the criminal justice system entitled “Standing at the Bar of Court, Your Honor, is Ms. ______________.”

Dr. Drew Humphries presented three papers at the 2009 annual meetings of the American Society of Criminology held in Philadelphia. Her research paper “Constructing Gender: Masculinity/Femininity in Law and Order” focused on NBC’s long-running crime drama. Dr. Humphries was also an invited discussant for an author meets critic session that offered scholars reactions Walter Dekeseredy’s book, “Dangerous Exits: Escaping Relationships in Rural America.” As an active member of the Division on Women and Crime, Dr. Humphries discussed “how to survive the tenure years” in a workshop designed for young scholars who are faced with negotiating their careers from point of being hire to tenure.

Dr. Michelle Meloy traveled to Philadelphia to present a paper at the annual American Society of Criminology conference. The talk was titled “The More is More Approach to Sex Offender Legislation.” The research involved undergraduate students Ben Zieman, Jessica Boatwright, and Kristen Foy.

Dr. Cati Coe presented the following papers at four different conferences here and in Europe:

  • “Educating across Borders: How Transnational Ghanaian Migrants Compare Educational Systems,” at the Comparative and International Education Society conference in Chicago. She also served as a discussant for “Representing the Past and Determining the Future: Issues in Heritage and Citizenship Education” at the conference.  

  • “What is the Impact of Transnational Migration on Mothers who Stay? A Comparison with Internal Migrants in a Small Town in Ghana,” at the American Anthropological Association meetings in Philadelphia.

  • “Growing Up to Care for Another: Reciprocities between Children and the Elderly in Southern Ghana,” at the New Orleans conference of the African Studies Association. 

  • “Social Class, Family Ideology, and the Separation of Siblings in Ghanaian Transnational Families,” which was an invited paper for a conference on Brother- and Sisterhood in Bayreuth, Germany.

Between all her conferences, Dr. Coe managed to revise a book manuscript titled “Everyday Ruptures: Children, Youth, and Migration in Global Perspective, which she is co-editing with Rachel R. Reynolds, Deborah A. Boehm, Julia Meredith Hess, and Heather Rae-Espinoza.  The book is scheduled to be published by Vanderbilt University Press.

Dr. Sheila Cosminsky presented a paper titled “Midwives and Reproductive Risk: A Case Study from Guatemala,” in a session on Responsibility and Blame: Social and Biomedical Constructions of Reproductive Risk, at the 50th Anniversary meeting of the Society for Medical Anthropology, Yale University. She also delivered a paper with Diane Markowitz titled “Child Obesity, Cultural Models of Diabetes, Dietary Change and Risk in Children of Hispanic Migrant Workers in Southern New Jersey,” in a session on Critical Anthropological Perspectives on Obesity, at the American Anthropological Association conference in Philadelphia.

Dr. Gail Caputo presented research from her book “Out in the Storm: Drug-Addicted Women Living as Shoplifters and Sex Workers” in an author meets critic session at the American Society of Criminology conference in Philadelphia.

Kevin Murphy was an invited speaker on “Interviewing Reluctant Witnesses” at the National Defenders Investigators Association in Las Vegas.

Andre Zanetic, who spent a semester with our department as a visiting scholar has completed a new book. “The Question of Public Security,” has just been released by Livraria Cultura, a leading Brazilian publisher. Much of it was written while he was a visiting scholar in our department. The publisher describes it as “a significant contribution about the way security is organized in Brazil, with a focus on how to regulate private security services.”


Summer Courses

The department is offering more than 19 courses this summer. Here is a sample of those offerings for undergraduate and graduate students. For all summer offerings, visit Rutgers-Camden Summer Session.

For Undergraduates

Special Topics in Criminal Justice: Jail and Prison Violence(50:202:354) is a new summer offering taught by Dr. Caputo during the second summer session. This course 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.

Special Topics in Sociology: Singularity Studies (50:920:445 INTERNET), the first course on The Singularity ever offered by an accredited university, will be coming to Rutgers Camden this summer co-taught by Dr. Goertzel. “The Singularity” is technospeak for the time when computers will be smarter than the humans who created them and social change will be much faster than anything experienced up to now. This course explores the ideas of futurists who believe that the exponential growth of the speed of computer chips and other technologies will lead to self-improving artificial general intelligence and an unprecedented rate of social change known as “the singularity”. The course will feature online interviews with leading futurists and technologists around the world exploring the social implications of these anticipated developments. Topics include future studies and forecasting, finance and entrepreneurship, networks, and computing systems, biotechnology and informatics, nanotechnology, neuroscience and human enhancement, artificial intelligence and robotics, energy and ecological systems and space and physical sciences. No technical background is assumed. The course is especially recommended for entrepreneurs and innovators or for anyone who anticipates working in a high technology industry or profession. The class meets online on  Monday and Wednesday evenings, 8 to 9:30, from June 2 to August 10, with a break in July. For more, visit

Service/Internship in Criminal Justice (50:202:404) is taught by Dr. Meloy. Currently, students are completing internships at New Jersey State Police, the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, the federal Public Defender’s Office, the Center for Family Services, and Gloucester County Probation Department. An internship is a great way to learn about careers in the field and to become involved in the community.

For Graduate Students

Criminology will be taught by Dr. Caputo in the first summer session. The course explores explanation of crime and delinquency in American society with a focus on neoclassical, positivist, and critical perspectives.

Special Topics in Criminal Justice: Attitudes to Crime and Punishment will be taught by Dr. King in the third summer session. The course explores issues in the study of public opinion on issues of crime and justice from a social psychological framework

Notes about Fall Courses

Registration for fall 2010 classes is underway. Click here for the complete schedule of courses. The department will be offering two new special topics undergraduate courses this fall, both taught by instructors with extensive criminal justice system experience:

Terrorism Investigation (50:202:354) examines the history, philosophy and components of terror networks operating throughout the world, as well as recent developments among them. Important and controversial issues related to our contemporary counter U.S. terrorism posture, such as enhanced interrogation techniques, government eavesdropping and venues for terrorist prosecution will be discussed.  Students will participate in a practical journey where they will act as investigators taking a case from initial lead through prosecution, led by the course instructor, Professor Frederick Fife. Professor Fife is a detective with the New Jersey State Police and is currently assigned to the FBI Philadelphia Joint Terrorism Task Force.  He holds a B.S. in administration of justice from Pennsylvania State University and a M.S. in criminal justice from St. Joseph’s University. He has particular expertise in counter-terrorism.  The course will meet Wednesdays at 6pm.

Topics in Corrections:  Identification and Treatment of Special Needs Offenders (50:202:362) will focus on how the correctional system deals with inmates with special needs, including medical, intellectual or mental health disabilities.  Each of these inmates present unique challenges for correctional professionals from a programming and security perspective.  The historical treatment of these offenders as well as US Supreme Court decisions and laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act will be studied to provide a context for current correctional practices. Best practices to properly identify, program and house these men and women so as to best meet their needs while maintaining the safety and security of the facility will be reviewed.  The course will be taught by Professor James O’Connell, who has extensive experience in the classification and needs of prisoners.  He spent more than thirty years working in the New York State Department of Corrections system, beginning as a correction counselor and rising to become first Deputy Superintendent for Reception and Classification and then Superintendent of the Ulster Correctional Facility.  The course is held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:00 – 4:20.

Dr. Humphries’ graduate course Issues and Trends in Criminal Justice(56:202:510) is now one of the approved electives in criminal justice. In this course, students define an area of investigation, an issue or trend, and spend the semester engaged in conducting and then writing up a systematic review of the literature. Knowing how to do a literature review will put you head and shoulders above others when it comes to writing graduate level papers. The course meets Wednesdays at 6pm.

Dr. King will be teaching Attitudes Toward Crime and Punishment, a special topics graduate course (56:202:673) offered Thursdays at 6pm.



Graduate Program in Criminal justice

Urban Research Series

The Masters program in Criminal Justice is starting an 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 kick-off event in the series took place on April 5 when Jeffery Draine and Liat Kriegel, both of the University of Pennsylvania, came to campus to speak about an experimental intervention, called Critical Time Intervention (CTI), that they are implementing in Camden. CTI is designed for men with mental illness, substance abuse issues, and other challenges moving out of New Jersey prisons and into Camden. This is among the first tests of the effectiveness of CTI for reentry of people leaving prison. Among other questions, the researchers are interested in knowing whether the timing of interventions make a difference for successful outcomes.  

Dr. Draine is an experienced researcher with a particular interest in the intersection of criminal justice and mental health. Liat Kriegel, M.S.W. is a Senior Research Coordinator who oversees this NIMH funded study. The CTI program was initiated under the auspices of the Center for Behavioral Health Services and Criminal Justice Research in the Institute for Health of Rutgers University.

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



Off Campus Programs

This spring marked the start of a new off-campus program in criminal justice that is being offered on the campus of Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC). Like the off-campus program offered on the campus of Atlantic Cape Community College in Mays Landing, the program at Raritan Valley is aimed at students who have completed their first two years of college study at the community college and who would now like to complete their Bachelor’s degree. The first course offered there was a special topics course entitled Prisons and Prisoners, taught by Professor Matthew Sheridan. We welcome the students enrolled in the program at RVCC and look forward to the same kind of growth in that program as we have seen in Mays Landing, where 20 students are now enrolled as criminal justice majors.



Students News

Undergraduates . . .

Criminal Justice Students Ben ZiemanBianca HawkinsKristen Foy, andJessica Boatwright are working on research with Dr. Meloy that involves national surveys interviewing policymakers and criminal justice practitioners regarding their views on sex offender laws.

Alexandra Spiro is conducting research with Dr. Meloy on the experiences of underserved rape victims.

Congratulations to Jessica Boatwright, a senior criminal justice major who has been admitted into the Rutgers Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. Phi Beta Kappa is the oldest honor society for undergraduates in the United States.

Congratulations to Andrea Layton, a senior sociology major who has been accepted to several graduate programs, including the University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania, and Rutgers.

Graduate Students . . .

Katie Ferrara was appointed Graduate Teaching Instructor in the History department this semester and is working with Dr. Howard Gilette coordinating and supervising undergraduates conducting research on public safety in Camden for the course Camden History, Politics and Development.

Ah Lyun Choi has received an internship at the Korean Institute of Criminology and will be working as an Assistant Researcher.

Mike Drumm attended a law enforcement information-sharing and training conference in April as the liaison for the Barrington Police Department.

Congratulations to Katie FerraraMike Verderame, Matt AndersonSarah Daly, and Alison Tyler who each received Graduate Fellowships for the 2009-2010 academic year.

Congratulations to our January Master of Arts recipients Kristin Curtis,Francesca Criniti, Stephen Moore, and Joseph Pagliaccetti and our May 2010 Master of Art recipients Ah Lyun Choi and Katie Onitiri.



Masterton Awardees 2010

Congratulations to Dana Simone (left) and Ben Zieman (center) who have been chosen to receive the 2010 Masterton Awards in Criminal Justice and to LindaZekovitch (right) chosen to receive the Masterton Award in Sociology and Anthropology. Named after the department’s first chair, the George Masterton Award is given annually to graduating seniors for outstanding academic achievement, significant contributions to the department and campus, and for intellectual promise. The awards will be presented at the Honors Convocation in May.

Dana Simone is a criminal justice major. During her undergraduate career at Rutgers University, Dana has worked as a research and teaching assistant for Dr. Jane Siegel, and has also aided in the defense of juveniles as an investigator for the Rutgers Law School Children’s Justice Clinic. In addition, she was also awarded a Summer Undergraduate Research Grant during the summer of 2009. This grant allowed her to examine a community-based alternative to incarceration called New Directions for Women. This research compared successful and unsuccessful program participants to uncover key factors that predict successful completion. She will be pursuing her Master’s Degree at Rutgers Camden in the fall and hopes to achieve her PhD in Criminology.

Ben Zieman is a criminal justice major and psychology minor. He has already started to apply his classroom experiences to real life with his internship at the Federal Public Defender’s Office in Camden, his volunteer work with the Rutgers Law School Domestic Violence Project, and his investigation work that aids in the defense of juveniles represented by the Rutgers Law School Children’s Justice Clinic. Ben will be attending the Rutgers Camden School of Law beginning this fall. He is also an avid guitar player whose biggest inspirations include Slash, Van Halen, and Kirk Hammett. 

Linda Zekovitch completed a student-designed major in Sociocultural anthropology major. She is also a McNair Scholar and MAC Undergraduate Research Fellow. She has worked as a research assistant and teaching assistant for Dr. Sheila Cosminsky. She plans to pursue her doctoral studies in Medical Anthropology and Global Health in the future and will begin her graduate studies in NY this summer. She will continue collaborating with Dr. Cosminsky on research dealing with dietary patterns and ethnic identity.



Save the Dates

Annual Undergraduate Research Poster Session. The poster session is onApril 21th. All students in criminal justice, sociology and anthropology are invited to attend and participate in this annual event. For further details, including how to register if you plan to make a presentation, click here.

The university has complete information about graduation for graduating students. Rutgers–Camden will hold its commencement ceremony for Arts and Sciences at the Susquehanna Bank Center, located in the heart of the exciting Camden Waterfront, on Monday, May 24 at 6pm.



In Memoriam

The department was saddened by the loss of two current students and one of our recent graduates this semester.

Crystal Buehl, a graduate of our criminal justice undergraduate program who was actively working on her graduate studies in our graduate program, died suddenly in her home on January 4. Many may remember Crystal and her faithful guide dog, Ohio, who accompanied her for several years to her undergraduate classes and on into graduate school.

Jeremy Kane, an undergraduate criminal justice major, died from injuries sustained while on patrol in Afghanistan. A lance corporal in the United States Marine Corps. Jeremy was killed by a suicide bomb attack while serving our nation. He was 22. To honor his memory, the student-led group Veterans for Education, has organized the Jeremy Kane Benefit Run at Cherry Hill High School East on Kresson Road, which will take place at 10 a.m. Sunday, April 25.

Luis Perez was a 2007 graduate of Rutgers-Camden, where he was a criminal justice major.  He died suddenly at his home on February 23. He will be remembered by all who knew him as an active member of his community and our program.

The department extends sincere condolences to the families and friends of Crystal, Jeremy and Luis.

April 13, 2010 18:37 . Contact Gail Caputo with comments or questions.