Alissa Cordner

Alissa Cordner

Alissa Cordner, Assistant Professor of Sociology
B.A. Bowdoin College, 2004; M.A. Brown University 2010; Ph.D. Brown University 2013

Areas of Interest:

  • Environmental Sociology
  • Environmental and Social Justice
  • Environmental Health
  • Sociology of Risk
  • Qualitative Methods
  • Science and Knowledge
  • Urban Sociology
  • Civic Engagement and Participation
  • Medical Sociology
  • Social Movements


Alissa Cordner joined the Whitman faculty in 2013. At Whitman, she teaches courses in Sociology and Environmental Studies, including Social Problems, Environmental Sociology, Environmental Health, and Environmental Justice.

Alissa received her PhD in sociology from Brown University. Her broad research interests include environmental sociology, sociology of science, environmental health and policy, social movements, medical sociology, urban sociology, and political participation. Her under-contract book manuscript, “Risk, Power and Uncertainty in Environmental Health Controversies: The Case of Flame Retardant Chemicals,” examines the sociological aspects of risk assessment in industry, regulation, research, and activism. She has published articles on the environment, health, risk, research ethics, and social movements in journals including Social Movement Studies, Environmental Science & Technology, and Social Science & Medicine. She has also worked with an interdisciplinary research team on a multi-sited collective ethnography. That project led to a book on civic engagement, The Civic Imagination: Making a Difference in American Political Life, which was published in 2014 by Paradigm Publishers, and an article on the disavowal of the political in the American Journal of Sociology.

Alissa grew up in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. She attended Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME, and majored in Sociology and French. After graduating, she spent a year teaching English and history courses at a university in France, worked as an environmental organizer in Oregon, and led youth wilderness programs in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.

Curriculum Vitae