Making Power Visible: Racialized Epistemologies, Knowledge (Re) Production and American Sociology

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Virginia Tech

This dissertation methodologically analyzes triangulated qualitative data from a critical race and feminist standpoint theoretical approach in order to explore American Sociology's contemporary process of institutionalized knowledge reproduction, as well as how race structures that process. American Sociology is institutionalized knowledge that is structured into academic departments or an "institutional-structure"(Wallerstein 2007). Prestige structures the discipline, where the top-20 departments enact social closure through hiring practices and as such represent an element of elite power within the institutional-structure (Burris 2004; Lenski 1966). To be sure, institutional-structures are sites of collective memory, knowledge reproduction, professionalization and cognitive socialization processes. Therefore this dissertation data includes PhD-level required theory course syllabi, interviews with faculty that study race, Ph.D. candidates that study sociology, and defended dissertations from the year 2011, from the top-20 U.S. sociology departments that read as cultural representations of how race structures the reproduction of American Sociology's institutionalized knowledge. This study has implications for the teaching, learning, and practice of American Sociology, as well as future scholarly research on the reproduction of knowledge and the sociology of sociology.

race, U.S. American Sociology, knowledge reproduction, power, epistemology