Dr. Karen Douglas
My introduction to sociology came about as a result of the urgings of a boss of mine (anthropologist, Carlos Arce) when he learned of my contemplations to go to graduate school. As a business undergraduate major, I had little familiarity with Sociology but upon my admittance to the Sociology program at the University of Texas at Austin, I recognized the significant overlaps between the two fields – particularly regarding my professional work at the time (market research) and social science research. With continued exposure to sociological thinking and the broad range of topics studied within the discipline, I made the decision to leave business behind and pursue an academic career instead.
Since making the transition, I have pursued a dual-research track: one that stems from my doctoral research on the social dimensions of water resources (including the Edwards Aquifer region in Texas and most recently, the Texas-Mexico-New Mexico border region); and a second track that opened to me as a result of my involvement on a research grant assessing the effects of welfare reform on the welfare population in Texas. Further, my personal biography which includes an ambiguous racial identity has also provided me with ample material to contribute to the race/ethnic identity and social constructions debates.
My teaching experiences have been fairly broad although since joining the faculty at Sam Houston State University, I have concentrated on teaching classes in Race and Race Stratification, Social Inequality, and Environmental Sociology.