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The Department publishes a newsletter twice a year - one during the Fall semester, and again in the Spring.  The purpose of our newsletter is to deliver department news, to call your attention to important activities, and to encourage you to take advantage of all that Villanova has to offer!

NEW!  Spring 2020 Interactions

Beginning this semester, we have swtiched to an electronic version of the newsletter. View the spring 2020 edition of Interactions here.

Welcome to our new faculty member

Ken Chih-Yan Sun!

Moving across the Pacific Ocean, I truly appreciate colleagues, friends, and students for making the transition to Villanova University easier than I expected. It is an honor to join the faculty of the Department of Sociology and Criminology, and I am ready to contribute to teaching and research here.

I am a firm believer in diversity, which Villanova University also highly values. In my view, a genuine respect for social justice can only be accomplished through deep reflection on our personal biographies, our roles in neighboring communities, and our relationships within this increasingly globalized world. I am deeply committed to enhancing students’ understanding of the common good and facilitating their ability to apply the knowledge that they learn to help those who are less privileged.  

Trained as a qualitative sociologist, I adopt a comparative and transnational approach to studying how migrant families navigate race/ethnicity, class, and gender across borders and life stages. My work, rooted at the intersection of inequalities, migration, and life course, examines how these forces shape the lives of globally dispersed populations in North America and Greater China. I also collaborate with colleagues to explore how institutional factors, such as the market and social policies in the U.S. and Canada, shape parenting beliefs and practices.

To date, I am working on three different but related studies. My book project examines how aging long-term migrants address their needs across transnational social spaces. This project analyzes the experiences of older migrants grappling with social norms and family intimacies. Focusing on older migrants – all of whom have spent decades pursuing education, establishing careers, and raising families in the U. S. – this book offers the concept of a “temporalities of migration” to explain how older migrants remake connections to children, grandchildren, spouses, communities, and nation-states. For these long-term immigrants, length of stay in the U.S. coupled with the transformation of the homeland, creates a cultural disconnect that informs later-life decisions. In retirement, these migrants reconsider social and cultural norms as they secure various forms of support for themselves and their loved ones. Considering the rights and responsibilities of dual citizenship, they reconstruct relationships with family and community in both their home and host societies.

I am also exploring the changing connections between Chinese migrants who settle in the United States, their aging parents who remain in mainland China and Taiwan, and the caregivers whom these parents rely on back home. This project builds on my prior work on transnational aging but shifts the attention from aging immigrants who are long-term residents in the U.S. to older generations who either stay or are left behind. I examine how transnational families negotiate caregiving responsibility in the context of parental health crisis. This project asks how the deteriorating health of stay-behind aging populations shapes the (re)configuration of transnational networks for the elderly. In doing so, we situate the study of cross-border elder care within a complex web of familial and social relations.  

To deepen and broaden my research on migration, I am co-authoring a book with Peggy Levitt (Wellesley College and Harvard University), Erica Dobbs (Pomona College), and Ruxandra Paul (Amherst College). This book project synthesizes current studies of the construction, variation, and consequences of cross-border safety nets. It explores why social support – from nation-states, market forces, third sector, and interpersonal networks – is made available for some newcomer groups and not others. As this book demonstrates, the interplay between structural inequalities, cultural assumptions, group characteristics, and institutional responses not only affects how migrants are received but also profoundly shapes their life journeys. By comparing insights from cases across the globe, we seek to assess patterns of inclusion and exclusion among different groups of migrants.  

Prior to joining Villanova, I worked at the College of William and Mary (Williamsburg, VA), Nanyang Technological University (Singapore), and Hong Kong Baptist University (Hong Kong). I am teaching Introduction to Sociology in Spring, 2020 and look forward to offering courses in migration, culture, and care in the future.

2019 Student Award Winners

Medallion Winners 2018

Congratulations to our student award winners! The medallion of excellence award winners are Sarah Knowles (sociology) and Sarah Rizos (criminology). The McGarry award winners are Noelle Gambale (sociology and criminology), Kaitlyn Murray (sociology), Bethany Ho (sociology), and Avery Takaha (sociology). Pictured from left to right: Noelle Gambale, Kaitlyn Murray, Bethany Ho, Sarah Knowles, Sarah Rizos, and Avery Takaha.

View previous award winners on our About Us page.

2019 Criminology Debate Team

Debate Team

Congratulations to our criminology majors (Ryan Bowman, Christopher Beute, Lailany Viera, and Caroline Rini), led by Dr. Kelly Welch, who participated in the 6th Annual Intercollegiate Criminal Justice Debate hosted by Drexel University.

Next year's debate will be hosted by Rowan University in the Spring of 2020. Any interested criminology majors or minors can reach out to Dr. Kelly Welch for more information.