Professor of Sociology
Areas of expertiseThe Mississippi Civil Rights Movement, Social Movements, Activism, Race Relations, Gender Construction, Campus Climates in Higher Education
Professor of Sociology
August 01, 2009 - present
Professor of Sociology August 2009-present; Chair, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, 2002-2005
I am deeply committed to and passionate about being a teacher-scholar at a liberal arts university that seeks to "cultivate academic excellence" and "encourage activism in the pursuit of the common good." These two ideals exemplify my teaching philosophy and infuse all of my classes from the introductory sociology course to the Capstone class. As a liberal arts teacher, feminist, and civil rights scholar who views "education as the practice of freedom," I offer students intellectually stimulating and academically rigorous courses which build connections between experiential and classroom learning, activism and academics, and biography and community. In classes, I work closely with my students to explore ways in which race, class, and gender are interconnected, related to power structures, and embedded within the fabric of society. I also help students to hone their critical thinking abilities and research skills and I encourage them to see themselves and others as active and informed agents of social change. Through my enthusiasm and passion, I hope to convey to students how meaningful and enjoyable learning can be.
The Senior Capstone: Social Movements and Activism, Gender and Sexuality, and A Journey Through the Civil Rights Movement
The Mississippi Civil Rights Movement, Campus Climates in Higher Education, and the Construction of Femininity (particularly in non-traditional avocations)
Selected peer-reviewed publications:
Lowe, Maria R., Reginald A. Byron, Griffin Ferry and Melissa J. Garcia. forthcoming. "Food for Thought: Frequent Interracial Dining Experiences as a Predictor of Students' Racial Climate Perceptions." The Journal of Higher Education. (Lowe and Byron are co-lead authors).
Lowe, Maria R. 2009. "'Sowing the Seeds of Discontent:' Tougaloo College's Social Science Forums as a Prefigurative Movement Free Space, 1952-1964." Journal of Black Studies. 39: 865-887.
Lowe, Maria R. 2008. "An Unseen Hand: The Role of Sociology Professor Ernst Borinski in Mississippi's Struggle for Racial Integration in the 1950s and 1960s." Leadership. 4: 27-47.
Lowe, Maria R. 2007. "An Oasis of Freedom in a Closed Society: The Significance of Tougaloo College in Mississippi's Civil Rights Struggle, 1954 to 1965. The Journal of Historical Sociology. Vol. 20, #4: 486-520.
Lowe, Maria R. and J. Clint Morris. 2007. "Civil Rights Advocates in the Academy: White Pro-integrationist Faculty at Millsaps College. Journal of Mississippi History. Vol. 69, # 2: 121-45.
Lowe, Maria R. "The Intersection of Race and Place: The Importance of Tougaloo College in the Activist Trajectories of Black and White College Students into the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement”
Lowe, Maria R., Reginald Byron, and Susan Mennicke, "The Racialized Impact of Study Abroad on Students' Subsequent Interracial Interactions”
Research in the News:
"Breaking Bread." August 23, 2011. Inside Higher Education.
"Tracing the Origins of the Civil Rights Movement." January 21, 2011. Southwestern in the News.
Seminars & Presentations
Lowe, Maria R., Susan Mennicke, and Reginald A. Byron. "What Happens When the 'Global Citizen' Return? The Impact of Study Abroad on How Students View Racial Diversity at their Home Institution." Paper accepted for Presentation at the Southern Sociological Society meetings, New Orleans, LA. March 2012.Lowe, Maria R., Reginald A. Byron, Griffin Ferry and Melissa J. Garcia. "Food for Thought: The Impact of Race and Frequent Interracial Dining Experiences on Students' Perceptions of the Racial Climate on Campus." Paper presented at the "Race/Gender/Class Perspective on Navigating the Academy" paper session of the American Sociological Association meeting, Las Vegas, Nevada. August 2011.
Byron, Reginald A., Maria R. Lowe, Melissa J. Garcia and Griffin Ferry. "Racially Invisible Yet Invisibly Racial: White University Students' Conflicting Perspectives on Race and the Value of Racial/Ethnic Diversity." Paper presented at the American Sociological Association meetings in Las Vegas, Nevada, August, 2011.
Lowe, Maria. "Diversity Among Activists: Factors Affecting Faculty and Student Participation in Mississippi's Civil Rights Movement." Paper presented at the American Sociological Association meetings, Atlanta, Georgia, 2010.Lowe, Maria. "The Impact of Race, Gender, and Social Networks in Mississippi's Struggle for Racial Equality: An Analysis of Pro-Integrationist Tougaloo College and Millsaps College Students, 1954 to 1965." Paper presented at The Southern Sociological Society meetings, New Orleans, LA, 2009.
Honors & Awards
Andrew W. Mellon Integrated Scholarly Community Grant (Co-principal investigator w/ Sue Mennicke and Reggie Byron). "What Happens When the 'Global Citizen' Returns?' The Impact of Study Abroad on How Students View Racial Diversity at their Home Institution," 2011.
Andrew W. Mellon Integrated Scholarly Community Grant (Co-principal investigator w/ Reggie Byron). "Racing the Academy: A Baseline Assessment of How Students View the Racial Climate at Southwestern," 2010.
Sam Taylor Research Awards, 2001-2008
Participant in The National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute titled African American Freedom and Civil Rights Struggles. Harvard University. WEB Dubois Institute for African American Studies, 2003.
Recipient of the Funds for the Advancement of the Discipline Award (FAD) funded by The American Sociological Association and The National Science Foundation, 2000-2001.
New York University Press Author of the Month for Women of Steel: Female Bodybuilders and The Struggle for Self-definition, 1998.
Southwestern University Teaching Award, 2009.
Southwestern University Unity in Action Diversity Award, 2000.
Recipient of multiple Southwestern University Brown Fellowships, Cullen Grants, and Fleming Awards, 1998-2009.