Sociology Faculty

David K. Brain
Professor of Sociology (941) 487-4338

M.A., Ph.D., Harvard University
B.A., University of California at Berkeley

Professor Brain's research and teaching interests focus on the connections between place-making, community-building and civic engagement, and on sociological issues related to the planning and design of good neighborhoods, humane cities and sustainable development at the regional scale.
In addition to research and theoretical writing on these topics, his work has led to practical involvements that include both independent consulting and neighborhood-oriented action research that engages students in collaboration with local community groups. Locally, he and his students have worked with city and county government as well as neighborhood and community groups. He has been recognized internationally as an expert on contemporary efforts to transform the way cities are built, and as a frequent contributor to educational programs for citizens and professional practitioners--- in collaboration with the Florida House Institute for Sustainable Development, the Seaside Institute, the Seaside Pienza Institute for Town Building and Land Stewardship, the Knight Program in Community Building and the Catanese Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions. He is also a partner in High Cove, a village in the mountains of western North Carolina designed as an experiment in ecologically responsible development practices. His published research has included work in the sociology of work, professions and work organizations; social theory; and the sociology of culture.

Professor Brain teaches courses in urban sociology; the sociology of space and place in contemporary cities and suburbs; sustainable communities; social theory; sociology of culture (including the arts, popular culture, material culture, science and technology); and social organization.

Emily Fairchild
Associate Professor of Sociology (941) 487-4484

Ph.D., M.A. Indiana University
B.A. Purdue University

Professor Fairchild’s primary research and teaching interests combine the sociology of culture and social psychology, with a focus on gender. She is currently analyzing original survey data on how collegiate women athletes manage the “feminine/athlete” paradox while competing. Additional on-going projects include an analysis of gendered rituals in weddings and commitment ceremonies, an examination of the role of the body in maintaining and challenging institutionalized understandings, and an application of “inhabited institutionalism” to the case of gender. Professor Fairchild regularly incorporates these topics in her courses on gender, culture, social psychology, and research methods. As Gender Studies Program Advisor, she is available to meet with students about the AOC and help plan their courses of study.

Professor Fairchild is also engaged with the sociology of teaching and learning, currently studying students’ consumerist attitudes toward higher education. She is happy to offer tutorials on these topics, as well as feminist methodology, micro-theory, sociology of sports, and animals and society.

Sarah Hernandez
Associate Professor of Sociology (941) 487-4434

M.A., Ph.D., University of Michigan
B.A. Earlham College

Dr. Hernandez’s academic interests involve the intersection of economic development, work organization and social movements. Her research explores the diverse ways workers seek a better distribution of wealth and greater say in their workplaces. In the context of worker cooperatives, she seeks to understand the tension between oligarchic and democratic tendencies and how workers manage to sustain democratic practice. Her current research explores whether and how the labor movement can respond to economic globalization through transnational labor collaboration. Her focus is the kinds of transnational relations Mexican unions have been developing and the challenges workers face both in the workplace as well as in their efforts to engage in transnational solidarity.

Dr. Hernandez’s commitment to linking academe and civic engagement have led her to develop various projects with students to conduct research that services local agencies. Through these projects she and her students have offered support to Habitat for Humanity, efforts to address improvement of services of the local Hispanic population, and the ESOL program of the Sarasota County School District.

In her teaching she opens the space for alternative approaches and opportunities in teaching and learning. For instance, she collaborates with a group of professors internationally, teaching a course on Globalization, Social Justice, and Human Rights that bring into conversation students from campuses across the USA and internationally. In one of her courses she began a collaboration with the Wikipedia Education Project, substituting the traditional research paper with Wikipedia entries. Her courses include Work Organization and Its Alternatives; Sociology of Development; Social Movements; Globalization, Social Justice, and Human Rights; Social Theory; Sociology of Race and Ethnicity; and Senior Seminar.

Queen Meccasia ("Mecca") Zabriskie
Assistant Professor of Sociology

M.A., Ph.D., Northwestern University 

B.A., Duke University

Professor Zabriskie’s primary teaching and research interests include race, class, and gender; social inequality; dance sociology/ sociology of dance; sociology of culture; performance theory and practice; black feminist thought; qualitative methodology; and culture, performance and politics in the African/Black Diaspora. She is currently working on a project that examines cultural power, embodied knowledge, and constructions of Africanity within Chicago’s West African Dance and Drum communities. Professor Zabriskie’s artistic and creative work explores issues of identity, community, healing, and empowerment.


At New College, 99% of our full-time professors hold the most advanced degree in their fields. All of them serve as advisors and mentors to students.

Office of the Provost
New College of Florida
5800 Bay Shore Road
Sarasota, Florida  34243

Phone: (941) 487-4200
Fax: (941) 487-4201