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Maria-Carolina Cambre Named Sociologist of the Month by Current Sociology

February 5, 2020
By Faculty of Arts and Science

Maria-Carolina Cambre, associate professor in the Department of Education, has been named February's Sociologist of the Month by Current Sociology, the official journal of the International Sociological Association. It is a fully peer-reviewed, international journal that publishes original research on current issues and debates within sociology, and the contribution of sociologists to modern societies in a globalizing world. 

Cambre spoke to Current Sociology about how she came to the field of sociology:

My academic journey has been characterized by nomadic wanderings/wonderings and interdisciplinary experimentation: I am not sure what I was seeking. However, I learned at an early age what it was that I wanted to avoid.

In my middle school years, the cleaners of classrooms, locker areas and bathrooms were generally women, and while they seemed quite old to us, they were probably in their 30’s or 40’s. All the kids would snicker and mimic when these women spoke, and derisively called them “The Marias.” Their words, you see, would emerge thickly, and heavily accented by Spanish tongues. To me, though I would never have dreamed of admitting it, they sounded like my mom: We were Argentine immigrants.

From an early age, I became obsessed with having perfect English and even changed my name from ‘Carolina’ to ‘Carol’ so that it would ‘sound’ English, masking my otherness. Following an undergraduate degree in English Literature, where I took so many courses (+25!) that I earned an Honours Specialist degree, I jumped directly into a Masters in Interpretation of Texts where I went back to some middle English readings (like Chaucer) and experimented with Derridean deconstructivist analyses.

Shifting into Teacher’s College was my first taste of social science and I began to find concepts to express some of what I had only just begun to process about ‘stigma’ and ‘labelling.’ While a teacher, I pursued a Master’s in Education where I explored the hidden curriculum and developed an analysis through ideology critique of the status quo (and its maintenance of inequalities), and the illusions that we are completely free and sovereign over our decisions, including our personal choices of values and beliefs, because the hidden curriculum of all social organization is neither spoken of nor concretely considered in schools.

Seeking still, I entered a Social Justice and International Studies doctoral program in the department of Educational Policy Studies with a proposed project on examining processes of counter-marginalization through masking. Asking, what is masked? (Identity… tensions… faces… ideas), and what are the politics of masking? Here I encountered the notion of facelessness, and of the face, my separate lives of artistic practice and academic study merged into a focus on visual vernaculars and representation. Visual sociology was able to provide for me the lenses and lexicons that could knit together what I had learned in other visual studies, image studies and art history in productive ways.

Maria-Carolina Cambre’s article “Visual criminology and the social image/s of crime” which opens the Special Subsection on Visual Criminology she organized for Current Sociology Volume 67 Issue 5 (September 2019) is #FreeAccess this month. 


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