Katherine Chen

Prof. Katherine K. Chen is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at The City College of New York and the Graduate Center, CUNY.  Using organizational ethnography, she researched collectivist-democratic and bureaucratic practices in the Burning Man organization.  Her book Enabling Creative Chaos: The Organization Behind the Burning Man Event (University of Chicago) received the Best Book Prize for Outstanding Book in Nonprofit and Voluntary Action Research by the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) and Honorable Mention for the Max Weber Award of the Organizations, Occupations, and Work (OOW) Section of the American Sociological Association (ASA) in 2011. Her articles have been published in American Behavioral Scientist, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Qualitative Sociology, The Sociological Quarterly, and other journals.  

Prof. Chen has also researched how organizations use advocacy and relational work to help older adults “age in place.”  Recently, Prof. Chen started an organizational ethnography of how an organization that incorporates democratic practices communicates its distinctive efforts to potential and current stakeholders.  She is also a regular contributor to the orgtheory blog and a mentor for the Faculty Fellowship Publication Program (FFPP), which helps CUNY junior faculty navigate the peer-reviewed publication process.  During spring 2018, she will co-teach with Prof. Ruth Milkman “Change and Crisis in Universities: Research, Education, and Equity in Uncertain Times,” a new course at the Graduate Center’s Future Initiatives program.

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