Professor Erik Schneiderhan’s primary area of specialization is political sociology, with a particular focus on pragmatist social theory. In particular, his theoretical work engages with pragmatist understandings of creativity, habit, and social dilemmas. This theoretical work, which has been published in Theory and Society, Sociological Theory, and The Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, inform two main research projects. The first is an investigation of the contingent and ideological dimensions of genocide. The second uses the cases of Jane Addams and Barack Obama (with a particular focus on their community organizing in Chicago) to consider how individuals creatively move forward when faced with seemingly intractable situations resulting from contradictory cultural schemas. His focus on genocide has resulted in the creation of an undergraduate class on the Sociology of Genocide at UTM, and two papers. The first, “Genocide Reconsidered” was published this year. The second “Dangerous Durkheim” is currently under review. Professor Schneiderhan’s work on Addams and Obama is the focus of a book manuscript (under contract with Stanford) that is near completion.
A separate strand of his research activities, in collaboration with Professor Shamus Khan of Columbia University, involves examining the empirical foundations of deliberation in the public sphere. They have conducted field work in the United Kingdom and in Canada, and also conducted an experiment in lab space at UTM. They received SSHRC funding for their investigations and have published our findings in Sociological Theory, and Sociology. Their most recent work examines the intersection of deliberation and ethnicity and is currently expressed in two papers, one under review, and one under review as a revise and resubmit. They currently have a new SSHRC grant proposal under review, which would fund a series of deliberative assemblies in Canada. Across all of his research work, he has included both graduate and undergraduate students, taking them into the field, involving them in this important experimental work, and co-authoring with them.
Schneiderhan, Erik. 2013. “Genocide Reconsidered: A Pragmatist Approach.” Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 43(3):280-300. https://doi.org/10.1111/jtsb.12020
Schneiderhan, Erik. 2013. “Rorty, Addams, and Social Hope.” Humanities 2(3):421-438. https://doi.org/10.3390/h2030421
Schneiderhan, Erik. 2011. “Pragmatism and Empirical Sociology: The Case of Jane Addams and Hull-House, 1889-1895.” Theory and Society 40(6):589-617. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11186-011-9156-2
Schneiderhan, Erik and Shamus Khan. 2008. "Reasons and Inclusion: The Foundation of Deliberation." Sociological Theory 26(1):1-24.
Schneiderhan, Erik. 2007. "Jane Addams and Charity Organization." Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 100(4):299-327.