Faculty Members


Debbie Becher

Assistant Professor

Milbank 329, 212-851-9480

Debbie Becher's research about property connects economic, legal and urban sociology. Her book, Private Property and Public Power: Eminent Domain in Philadelphia, was published with Oxford University Press in 2014. She is now researching transfers of surface and mineral rights for oil and natural-gas production in the American northwest. Professor Becher came to Barnard with a decade of professional experience in social work and neighborhood development. She received her BA in Mathematics from the University of Virginia, and her MA and PhD in Sociology from Princeton University. Professor Becher teaches classes on law, urban studies, and social theory.


Elizabeth Bernstein


Barnard 208, 212-854-3039

Elizabeth Bernstein’s research and teaching focus upon the sociology of the body, gender and sexuality; the sociology of law; and contemporary social theory.  She is co-editor of Regulating Sex: the Politics of Intimacy and Identity (Routledge 2005), and author of the award-winning book Temporarily Yours: Intimacy, Authenticity, and the Commerce of Sex (University of Chicago Press 2007).  Professor Bernstein's current research explores the convergence of feminist, neoliberal, and evangelical Christian interests in the shaping of contemporary U.S. policies around the traffic in women.



Marnie Brady

Term Assistant Professor

Milbank 332A, 212-854-3663 

Marnie Brady's main topics of research include social policy, inequality, and social movements; and financialization, labor, and housing. She is author of articles and book chapters published by Cornell University Press and University of Georgia Press, and in Cities: The International Journal of Urban Policy and Planning, Progressive Planning, Poverty & Race. Her current research focuses on the contemporary relationship between labor and housing and stems from many years of professional work in public policy, community organizing, and adult and youth-based participatory research. Marnie received her BA from American University, and her MPhil and PhD in Sociology from The Graduate Center, City University of New York. Professor Brady teaches courses on social movement, sex and gender, and methods.

Debra C. Minkoff

Miriam Scharfman Zadek Family Professor and Chair

Dean for Faculty Diversity and Development

Milbank 332D, 212-854-2279

Debra Minkoff's general areas of interest include social movements, political sociology, and organizational theory and research.  She is most directly concerned with the relationship between the development of contemporary citizens' organizations and social movement dynamics at the national level in the U.S. Professor Minkoff teaches courses on social movement, political sociology, and general methods of social research.



Mignon R. Moore

Associate Professor

Milbank 332B, 212-854-5910

Mignon R. Moore has research and teaching interests in the sociology of family, race, gender, sexuality, qualitative methods, aging, and adolescence. Her first book, Invisible Families: Gay Identities, Relationships and Motherhood among Black Women (2011 California Press) examined the intersection of race with sexual orientation for family-building and lesbian identity among African-American women. Her current research includes a new book project on the social histories of LGBT seniors in New York and Los Angeles, the negotiation of religious and community life for lesbians and gay men of faith, and the promotion of healthy aging for racial and ethnic minority elders. Professor Moore regularly teaches “Sociology of African-American Life,” “Gender & Inequality in Families,” “Advanced Topics in Race and Ethnicity,” and “Sociology of Gender.” She received her BA from Columbia College and her PhD from the University of Chicago.


Jonathan Rieder



Milbank 332C, 212-854-4359

Jonathan Rieder joined the faculty of Barnard College in 1990 and chaired the department from 1990-2003. He previously taught at Yale University and Swarthmore College. In addition to his teaching in the Sociology Department, Professor Rieder is affiliated with Barnard's programs in American Studies, Jewish Studies, and Human Rights. A member of the graduate faculty of Columbia University's Sociology Department, he is also affiliated with Columbia's American Studies Department. Professor Rieder teaches courses on contemporary American culture and politics; unity and division in the United States; the sociology of culture; and race, ethnicity, and American pluralism. He has regularly taught "The Shapes and Shadows of Identity" for Barnard's First-Year Seminar program. His latest course is "From Rhythm and Blues to Soul and Rock: The Sociology of Crossover Culture."

Adjunct and Affiliated Faculty

Heather McKee Hurwitz

Post-Doctoral Fellow, Athena Center for Leadership Studies and the Department of Sociology

Vagelos Alumnae Center

Heather McKee Hurwitz's goals are to research and change how gender processes and social inequalities matter to the development of contemporary mixed-gender social movements, tactics, strategies, organizations, culture, and women’s advancement. She teaches Women and Leadership (ACLS 3450) and seminars on Gender and Organizations and Global Activism. Currently, she is writing an article about women and leadership in Occupy. She is revising her dissertation project for publication as a book to be entitled, The 51%: Gender Conflict and Feminist Mobilization in the Occupy Wall Street Movement. In June 2015, Heather completed the Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB). She also holds a M.A. in Sociology from UCSB and a B.A. in Sociology from The George Washington University. She was the first American to earn a M.A. in Women and Development Studies from the University of the Philippines Diliman.