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K-State Today

April 11, 2019

Sociology faculty and graduate students win national awards

Submitted by Gerad Middendorf

Several sociology faculty and graduate students have won national awards from the Rural Sociological Society.

Joseph Jakubek, doctoral candidate, and Spencer Wood, associate professor, have been awarded the 2019 Fred Buttel Outstanding Scholarly Achievement Award from the Rural Sociological Society for their article "Emancipatory Empiricism: The Rural Sociology of W.E.B. DuBois."

The article was recently published in the Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, the American Sociological Association's primary journal focused on publishing cutting-edge work on race and ethnicity. In the article, they establish that Du Bois engaged in substantial rural sociological work approximately 20 years earlier than those who are normally given credit for the founding of rural sociology. His work engaged core themes of the field including modernization, land tenure, the structure of agriculture, and community. Moreover, he demonstrated his mastery by applying sound qualitative and quantitative methodologies that are typically only recognized in his later work.

Stephen Lauer, doctoral student in sociology, was awarded the Rural Sociological Society Dissertation Award for his project, "Sustaining Civic Engagement in Groundwater Conservation."

Lauer's dissertation focuses on understanding the role of values, beliefs and norms in Kansas producers' groundwater management decisions. The award supports a case study of the Wichita County Water Conservation Area, currently the only community-led, countywide, voluntary initiative to reduce groundwater consumption and ease the community's transition to a future without abundant groundwater reserves. It is anticipated that an understanding of how and why the Wichita County Water Conservation Area achieved success will be a source of inspiration and learning for other rural communities struggling to manage the declining Ogallala Aquifer.

The sociology program is part of the College of Arts and Sciences' sociology, anthropology, and social work department. To learn more, visit k-state.edu/sasw