James Gramlich
Assistant Professor


Email: jgramlic@harpercollege.edu


I’m an Assistant Professor of Sociology and have been teaching at William Rainey Harper College since the fall of 2008. At Harper College I am the co-chair of the Sociology/Anthropology department. Before that I taught at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), Columbia College Chicago, and the College of Lake County. I’ve been teaching sociology courses since the summer of 1998.

I received my BA in sociology from Oklahoma State University in 1995 and attended graduate school at UIC where I received an MA in 1997 and a PhD in 2008. My graduate concentrations were in Race, Ethnicity, and Gender as well as International, Comparative, and Asian Sociology. I’m primarily a symbolic interactionist and ethnographer. I’ve done fieldwork in a number of settings including Chicago, London, and Beijing. My dissertation research was an international comparative case study of adaptation and interaction behaviors among homeless street people in Chicago and London. Mostly I’m interested in the ways public perception, policy, and the qualities of physical space impact how – and how well – the homeless are able to satisfy a shared set of basic needs.

The classes I most often teach are Introduction to Sociology (SOC101), Social Problems (SOC205), and Introduction to Social Psychology (SOC215). I also teach Sociology of Sex and Gender (SOC230). In each of these classes I emphasize the process of social construction and its relationship to larger structures, institutions, history, and power. All of them require multiple papers, extensive reading, and classroom participation.

My favorite sociologists and theorists are those who are broadly-focused, critical, and interdisciplinary in their leanings. I’m especially drawn to Erving Goffman, Georg Simmel, C Wright Mills, Antonio Gramsci, and Howie Becker.

Outside of the classroom, I’m an insatiable consumer of popular culture – especially animated television such as the Simpsons. I’m also a lifelong Cubs fan. (Needless to say, I’ve well adjusted to frustration and hopelessness.) My wife and I do not have any children, but we do have four cats. I love travelling and – although I don’t do them nearly as much as I used to – hiking, camping, and climbing.