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, and author of the award-winning book Temporarily Yours: Intimacy, Authenticity, and the Commerce of Sex. Professor Bernstein's most recent book, Brokered Subjects: Sex, Trafficking, and the Politics of Freedom (University of Chicago Press 2018) explores the convergence of feminist, neoliberal, and evangelical Christian interests in the shaping of contemporary global policies around the traffic in women.


Debra C. Minkoff

Miriam Scharfman Zadek Family Professor

Milbank 332D, 212-854-2279

Debra Minkoff joined the department in 2005 and chaired the department from 2005-2018. Her research and teaching interests center on contemporary social movements and political activism in the U.S. Her early work traces the civil rights and feminist movements, developing a new approach that emphasizes the ecology of national political and civic organizations. She has written on such topics as the structure of protest cycles in the U.S., organizational change and failure among national political organizations, and the role of national social movements in American civil society. More recently her research has investigated how people’s participation in civic and political associations influences their involvement in protest activities in the U.S. and other advanced democracies. She has also contributed to a study of local immigrant associations in Amsterdam. In addition to chairing the department, Prof. Minkoff served as Dean for Faculty Diversity and Development from 2013-18. She will be on sabbatical in 2018-19 and is looking forward to coming back to teaching in September 2019.


Mignon R. Moore


Professor and Chair

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