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Johanna E. Foster, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Director, Sociology Program

Helen Bennett McMurray Endowed Chair in Social Ethics

Photo of Johanna E. Foster, Ph.D.

Ph.D., Rutgers University

Bey Hall 243
Office Hours
Fall 2021 - Thursday, 1:15 - 2:15 pm
Courses this Semester
SO 101: Introduction to Sociology
SO 272: Economic Inequality
Regularly Taught Courses
SO 101: Introduction to Sociology
FY101: End Racism in School First Year Seminar
SO/PS 107: Intro to Social Justice
SO/GS 225: Introduction to Gender Studies
SO 245: Classical Theory
SO 398: Investigating the School to Prison Pipeline
SO 490/491: Thesis/Proposal
SO 272: Economic Inequality

Dr. Johanna Foster is an Associate Professor of Sociology and the Helen Bennett McMurray Endowed Chair of Social Ethics in the Department of Political Science and Sociology. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Rutgers University (2000), and an MA in Applied Sociology/Social Policy from The American University (1994), where she also earned a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies/Women’s Studies (1992). Dr. Foster’s major areas of expertise are intersectional feminist theories of inequality; identity and social movements; and the ethics and politics of mass incarceration with an emphasis on women in confinement. Most recently, her research (with Sherizaan Minwalla) on media ethics and the coverage of Yazidi women survivors of the 2014 ISIS genocidal attacks has received international media attention, as well as recognition from UN agencies. Her previous research has appeared in Equal Opportunities International, Sociological Forum, Gender & Society, Women’s Studies International Forum, and Research in Political Sociology. For nearly 20 years, Professor Foster has combined her teaching and research efforts in social inequalities with work to restore higher education in prison communities in the United States, co-founding The College Bound Consortium for incarcerated women in New Jersey (now NJ-STEP at Rutgers-Newark and RISE at Raritan Valley Community College), and College Connections, the college program for incarcerated women at Taconic Correctional Facility in New York State (now with Hudson Link for Higher Education). She currently co-coordinates the Monmouth University Academic Exchange Program (with Dr. Eleanor Novek) where MU students and college students living in New Jersey state prisons study together in combined classes inside the facilities.

Research Interests

Intersections of race, class and gender inequalities, feminist theories of gender, identities, political consciousness, and social movements; critical analysis of mass incarceration with an emphasis on women and prisons; media ethics and reporting on sexual violence in conflict zones.


with Marina Vujnovic (forthcoming). Higher Education and Disaster Capitalism in the Era of COVID-19. Palgrave Press.

Scholarly Articles

Select Scholarly Articles

“Educating for organizing in U.S. sociology: A missing component of scholar-activist pedagogy.” Sociological Forum. (2020). DOI: 10.1111/socf.12652

with Minwalla, Sherizaan and Sarah McGrail. “Rape, Genocide and Careless Disregard: Media Ethics and the Problematic Reporting of Yazidi Survivors of ISIS Sexual Violence,” Feminist Media Studies. (2020) DOI: 10.1080/14680777.2020.1731699

with Sherizaan Minwalla. Voices of Yazidi Women: Perceptions of Journalistic Practices on the Reporting of ISIS Sexual Violence” Women’s Studies International Forum 67: 53-64. (2018).

“In Keeping With Family Tradition: American Second Wave Feminists and the Social Construction of Political Identity.” Qualitative Sociology Review 14(1): 6-28. (2018).

“Women of a Certain Age: Second Wave Feminists Reflect Back on 50 Years of Struggle in the United States,” Women’s Studies International Forum. 50, 68-79. (2015).

“Where is the Public Sociology in Public Social Movement History Sites? The Case of the Civil Rights Movement.” The Michigan Sociological Review, 28, 35-55. (2010).

“Conversations in Black and White: The Limitations of Binary Thinking About Race in America.” in Julius Adekunle and Hettie Williams, Eds., Color Struck: Essays on Race and Ethnicity in Global Perspective, University Press of America. (2006).

“Defining Racism to Achieve goals: The Multiracial and Black Reparations Movements” in David Brusma, Ed. Mixed Messages: Multiracialism in the “Colorblind Era”, Lynn Rienner Press. (2006)

(with Rebecca Sanford) “Does Gender Shape Women’s Access to College Programs in the U.S. State Prisons?” in Equal Opportunities International, Special Issue on Democratizing Access to Education for Marginalization Populations. Vol 25, pp. 577-598.  (2006)

“Invitation to Dialogue: Clarifying the Position on Feminist Gender Theory in Relation to Sexual Difference Theory”, in Gender and Society, Vol. 13, Number 4, pp. 431-456 (1999).