CHASS Professors Receive an Unusual Honor

By Kathryn Webber, Managing Graduate Student Editor of CHASS College Computing
November 9, 2004

Dr. Scott Coltrane

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) recently announced the names of those who will be inducted as fellows at the Association’s Annual Meeting in February. Among those who have been selected to receive this particular honor are CHASS professors, Dr. Scott Coltrane and Dr. Peter Burke.

As colleagues in the Sociology Department, both Professor Coltrane and Professor Burke have been chosen for their contributions to the study of identity construction. Prof. Coltrane specializes in the development of gender identity and the way that gender identity has functioned within the family. His research has varied from such projects as understanding the multiple pathways taken to gender differentiation to studying local families and their potential for success despite economic hardship.

While Professor Burke has also studied gender identity, his research has focused on the role of individual or “person” identity. In contrast to gender identity, “person” identity describes the way that a particular individual characterizes herself aside from her role in society. Professor Burke feels that this research is significant in emphasizing the active agency of individuals in both playing out and defending their identities and the role of these processes in maintaining society. For this reason, he is concerned with the way that “people maintain and verify their identities” and is investigating “what it means to be who you are.”

Dr. Peter Burke

The induction of Professors Coltrane and Burke is significant not only in acknowledging their merit, but also in recognizing the importance of their work as social scientists. Fellows in the AAAS have historically been chosen from the fields of natural science. It is therefore an exceptional mark of distinction for two CHASS professors to be chosen for their research in the social sciences.

Professor Coltrane, also the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Research for the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, believes that these awards speak to the overall quality of research in CHASS. He sees this as one of the many attractions for top-rated researchers whom the College is recruiting. Moreover, Professor Coltrane sees his induction into the AAAS as evidence of “UCR’s commitment to interdisciplinary scholarship.”

For more specific information about either professor’s extensive research, please consult their faculty pages. Professor Burke is currently the Chair of the Department of Sociology. Professor Coltrane is an Associate Dean of CHASS and a Professor of Sociology.


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