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Gretchen Purser

Assistant Professor, Sociology

Gretchen Pursar

Contact Information
gwpurser@maxwell.syr.edu

400H Eggers Hall
(315) 443-5848

Director of Undergraduate Studies, Sociology

Degree

Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 2009

Specialties

Work and labor, urban poverty, law and punishment, housing and homelessness, precarity, social theory, ethnography, community-based action research

Courses

Fall 2017:

SOC 406    Sociological Theory    Tues/Thurs 11:00am - 12:20pm 

SOC 495    Senior Thesis                  Tues 2:00 - 3:20pm

Biography

Gretchen Purser is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and co-coordinator of the PARCC Labor Studies working group at the Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs at Syracuse University. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California at Berkeley and her B.A. in Sociology from Smith College. Prior to joining the faculty at Syracuse, she was a University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Sociology at UC-Davis. Her research focuses upon precarious work and the low-wage labor market and the reproduction and lived experience of urban poverty in the U.S. She is the recipient of numerous awards for her research and teaching, including the 2016 Daniel Patrick Moynihan Award for Outstanding Contributions to Teaching and Research and the 2013 Meredith Teaching Recognition Award. She has been a visiting scholar at both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the School for Advanced Research and her research has been funded by the American Sociological Association, the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, and the Sociological Initiatives Foundation. Since 2012, she has served as Chair of the Board of the Workers’ Center of Central New York.

Publications

Purser, Gretchen. Labor On Demand: Dispatching the Urban Poor. Under contract with University of California Press. 

  • Winner of International Book Award from the California Series in Public Anthropology (Theme: “American Inequality”) 

Purser, Gretchen and Brian Hennigan. Forthcoming. “Disciples vs. Dreamers: Job-Readiness and the Making of the Working Class.” Dialectical Anthropology (Special issue on “The Making of the U.S. Working Class”). 

Purser, Gretchen. Forthcoming. “Day Labor Agencies, Back Door Hires, and the Spread of Unfree Labor.” Anthropology of Work Review.

Hennigan, Brian and Gretchen Purser. 2017. “Jobless and Godless: Religious Neoliberalism and the Project of Evangelizing Employability.” Ethnography. DOI: 10.1177/1466138117719094 [Online First: July 11, 2017] 

Purser, Gretchen and Brian Hennigan. 2017. “Cleaning Toilets for Jesus.” Jacobin (June 30).

Purser, Gretchen. 2017. “Day Labor Agencies and the Neoliberal-Parasitic Economy” in The City is the Factory: New Solidarities and Spatial Strategies in an Urban Age edited by Miriam Greenberg and Penny Lewis. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. 

Carly Fox, Rebecca Fuentes, Fabiola Ortiz Valdez, Gretchen Purser, and Kathleen Sexsmith. 2017. Milked: Immigrant Dairy Farmworkers in Upstate New York. A report prepared for the Workers’ Center of Central New York and the Worker Justice Center of New York. 

Purser, Gretchen. 2017. “Religious Neoliberalism: Evangelizing Employability in a Faith-Based Job- Readiness Program.” Work in Progress: Sociology on the Economy, Work and Inequality (February 23).

Purser, Gretchen and Brian Hennigan. 2017. “Work as Unto the Lord: Enhancing Employability in an Evangelical Job Readiness Program.” Qualitative Sociology 40(1): 111-133 [Online First: December 29, 2016].

Purser, Gretchen. 2016. “The Circle of Dispossession: Evicting the Urban Poor in Baltimore.” Critical Sociology 42(3): 393-415. [Online First: May 27, 2014].

Purser, Gretchen and Lindsay Bell. 2013. “Ethnographies of Uncertain Futures/Notes from the Field.” North American Dialogue: Journal of the Society for the Anthropology of North America 16(2): 79-85.

Purser, Gretchen. 2013. “Milk Cows, Not Workers.” Labor Notes (September 13).

Purser, Gretchen. 2013. “Day Labor.” Sociology of Work Encyclopedia, ed. Vicki Smith. Sage Publications. 

Purser, Gretchen. 2012. “The Labour of Liminality.” Labour, Capital & Society 45 (1): 10-35.

  • Winner of the 2013 John Russo and Sherry Linkon Award for Best Published Article, Working Class Studies Association

Purser, Gretchen. 2012. “‘Still Doin’ Time:’ Clamoring for Work in the Day Labor Industry.”  WorkingUSA: The Journal of Labor and Society 15: 397-415.

Purser, Gretchen. 2009. “The Dignity of Job-Seeking Men: Boundary Work among Immigrant  Day Laborers.” Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 38(1): 117-39.

Purser, Gretchen. 2006. “‘Que du sale boulot:’ risques et accidents corporels chez les travailleurs journaliers aux États-Unis” [‘Nothing But Hard Ass Labor:’ Risk and Injury among Day Laborers in the US]. Actes de la Recherche en Sciences Sociales 165 (November): 52-70.

Purser, Gretchen, Amy Schalet and Ofer Sharone. 2004. “Public Sociology—Sociology Translates to Public Action: Wages and Working Conditions at Berkeley.” ASA Footnotes. December.

Purser, Gretchen, Amy Schalet and Ofer Sharone. 2004. Berkeley’s Betrayal: Wages and Working Conditions at UC Berkeley. Berkeley: University Research Labor Project. [with foreword by Barbara Ehrenreich].

BOOK REVIEWS AND REVIEW ESSAYS

Purser, Gretchen. 2016. Review of On the Line: Slaughterhouse Lives and the Making of the New South by Vanessa Ribas (University of California Press, 2015) in European Journal of Sociology 57(3): 546-549. 

Purser, Gretchen. 2015. Review of Consuming Work: Youth Labor in America (Temple University Press, 2014) in Contemporary Sociology 45: 20-21. 

Purser, Gretchen. 2014. Review of Conflicting Commitments: The Politics of Enforcing Immigrant Worker Rights in San Jose and Houston by Shannon Gleeson (ILR Press, 2013) in Contemporary Sociology 43: 535-537. 

Purser, Gretchen. 2014. Review of Immigrant Women Workers in the Neoliberal Age edited by Nilda Flores-Gonzalez, Anna Romina Guevarra, Maura Toro-Morn and Grace Chang (University of Illinois Press, 2013) in Labour/Le Travail 73 (Spring): 382-384. 

Purser, Gretchen. 2013. “Precarious Work.” Review essay on The Temp Economy by Erin Hatton (Temple University Press, 2011), Intern Nation by Ross Perlin (Verso Books, 2012), and The Precariat by Guy Standing (Bloomsbury Academic, 2011) in Contexts 12(4): 74-76. 

Purser, Gretchen. 2012. Review of Banished: The New Social Control in Urban America by Katherine Beckett and Steve Herbert (Oxford University Press, 2010) in International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 36(3): 631-633. 

Purser, Gretchen. 2010. Review of Bourdieu in Algeria: Colonial Politics, Ethnographic Practices, Theoretical Developments edited by Jane E. Goodman and Paul Silverstein (University of Nebraska Press, 2009) in H-France Review 10(77): 351-355. 

Purser, Gretchen. 2010. Review of Coal Mountain Elementary by Mark Nowak (Coffee House Press, 2009) in Labor Studies Journal 35: 275-276. 

Purser, Gretchen. 2010. Review of Transnational Tortillas: Race, Gender & Shop-Floor Politics in Mexico and the United States by Carolina Bank-Muñoz (ILR Press, 2008) in Contemporary Sociology 39(2): 144-145.

Research Grants and Awards

Selected Grants, Fellowships, and Awards

Curriculum Development Grant, Tenth Decade Project on “Work, Labor & Citizenship in the 21st Century,” Maxwell School of Syracuse University (2017) 

Carla B. Howery Teaching Enhancement Grant, American Sociological Association (Co-PI: Nazanin Shahrokni) (2017)

Daniel Patrick Moynihan Award for Outstanding Contributions to Teaching, Research and Service, Maxwell School of Syracuse University (2016)

PARCC Faculty Mini-Grant, Maxwell School of Syracuse University (2017 & 2012)

Appleby-Mosher Research Grant, Maxwell School of Syracuse University (2016, 2014, 2011, 2010) 

Summer Project Assistantship Award, Maxwell School of Syracuse University (2015) 

International Book Award, California Series in Public Anthropology, University of California Press (Theme: “American Inequality”) (2014)

Sociological Initiatives Foundation Grant (2014-2015) 

Visiting Scholar, American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2013-2014)

Ethel-Jane Westfeldt Bunting Summer Scholar, School for Advanced Research (2013)

John Russo & Sherry Linkon Award for Best Published Article, Working Class Studies Association (2013)

Early Career Research Grant, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research (2012-2014)

Spivack Community Action Research Initiative Grant, American Sociological Association (2012-2014) 

President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship, UC Office of the President (2009-2010)

Recent Invited Lectures

Recent Invited Talks and Conference Presentations

Panelist, “The Social Life of Housing Crisis.” To be presented at the annual conference of the American Anthropological Association, Washington D.C. (November 2017)

“Jobless and Godless: Religious Neoliberalism and the Project of Evangelizing Employability” (with Brian Hennigan). To be presented at the 2017 Salzburg Conference in Interdisciplinary Poverty Research (Focus Theme: Religion and Poverty), Salzburg, Austria (September 2017)

“Jobless and Godless: Religious Neoliberalism and the Project of Evangelizing Employability”    (with Brian Hennigan). To be presented at the Regular Session on Ethnography at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, Montreal (August 2017)

Presentation of Milked: Immigrant Dairy Farmworkers in New York State, SEIU 32BJ, New York, NY (June 2017) 

Presentation of Milked: Immigrant Dairy Farmworkers in New York State, Press conference, Syracuse, NY (June 2017) 

“Jobless and Godless: Religious Neoliberalism and the Project of Evangelizing Employability” (with Brian Hennigan). Presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers, Boston (April 2017)

“Immigrant Farmworker Organizing on Upstate New York Dairies” (with Carly Fox, Rebecca Fuentes, Fabiola Ortiz Valdez and Kathleen Sexsmith). Presented at Growing Food Worker Power: Creative forms of worker organizing across the food system. Vancouver (March 2017)

“Work as Unto the Lord: Enhancing Employability in an Evangelical Job- Readiness Program” (with Brian Hennigan). Presented at the RC-22 session on “Welfare and Civil Society: The Role of Religion” at the International Sociological Association’s Forum of Sociology, Vienna, Austria (July 2016)

“Work as Unto the Lord: Enhancing Employability in an Evangelical Job- Readiness Program” (with Brian Hennigan). Presented at the annual conference of the American Association of Geographers, San Francisco (March 2016)

Panelist, “Looking Forward.” NAACP Blacktivism Conference. Syracuse University (November 2015) 

“Work as Unto the Lord: Enhancing Employability in an Evangelical Job- Readiness Program”    (with Brian Hennigan). PARCC Conversations in Conflict and Collaboration Speaker Series, Maxwell School of Syracuse University (September 2015) 

“Labor Brokers in the Inner-City U.S.” Presented at the biannual conference of the Society for Cultural Anthropology, Detroit (May 2014)

“Day Labor Agencies and the Neoliberal-Parasitic Economy.” Department of Sociology, University of Massachusetts at Boston (April 2014)

“Day Labor Agencies and the Neoliberal-Parasitic Economy.” Department of Sociology, Brandeis University (February 2014)

“Day Labor as Dirty Work.” Presented at thematic panel on “Dirty Work” for the annual meetings of the Eastern Sociological Society, Baltimore (February 2014) 

“The Shifting Character of Work in the Neoliberal Economy.” Bowdoin College (November 2013) 

“Broke & Brokered in the Day Labor Business.” School for Advanced Research (July 2013) 

Invited Panelist, “Excluded Workers: Fighting Precarity,” organized by Eileen Boris for the annual meetings of the Labor and Working Class History Association, NYC (June 2013)

Invited Panelist, “Excluded and Precarious Workers in the U.S.,” organized by Veronica Martinez-Matsuda and Ileen DeVault for the annual meetings of the Labor and Working Class History Association, NYC (June 2013) 

Panelist, “Temporary Agency Workers in the U.S. and Canada,” annual meeting of the United Association of Labor Educators, Toronto (April 2013) 

“‘They Work You For Them:’ Dispatches from the Day Labor Hall.” Department of Sociology, Loyola University Chicago (January 2013)

SU Affiliations

PARCC

Labor Studies Working Group