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.



Christel Kesler

Assistant Professor

Milbank 330, 212-851-9481

Christel Kesler's research focuses on cross-national comparisons of social inequality, and particularly on the experiences of international migrants in European societies. She has recently completed a project that compares immigrant socioeconomic incorporation and exclusion in Germany, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. In addition to ongoing research on immigrant incorporation in various countries, other recent projects examine immigration-driven diversity's effects on civic and political engagement, immigration and the dynamics of occupational segregation, ethnic entrepreneurship, and ethnic identification among immigrants' descendants. Professor Kesler teaches courses on methods for social research, social inequality, and international migration.


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."


J.C. Salyer

Term Assistant Professor of Practice

Milbank 331, 212-851-9481

J.C. Salyer is a lawyer and an anthropologist whose work focuses on law and society, immigration law, and social justice. He is also the staff attorney for the Arab-American Family Support Center, a community-based organization in Brooklyn, where he runs the organization’s immigration clinic. He is a co-organizer of Pacific Climate Circuits, a three-year symposium at the Columbia University Center for the Study of Social Difference, which considers issues relating to climate change in the Pacific through the lens of the social sciences and humanities. Professor Salyer's current research is on issues of migration, human rights, and sovereignty relating to the Australian government’s policy of placing asylum seekers in a detention center on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea.


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.