Keith Farrington, Professor of Sociology; Holder of the Laura and Carl Peterson Endowed Chair of Social Science.
Keith Farrington has been a member of the Department of Sociology at Whitman College since 1977. A transplanted New Englander who received his BA from Bates College and his Ph.D. from the University of New Hampshire, Keith long ago became a true Northwesterner in mannerism, mindset, and behavior. Keith's fields of specialization are Sociology of the Family, Criminology, the Sociology of Prisons and Punishment, Social Psychology, the Sociology of Popular Music, and Social Research Methods (both quantitative and qualitative). His recent professional work has been in the areas of (a) the impacts of prisons upon the host communities in which they are located; (b) the historical relationship of the Washington State Penitentiary to the community of Walla Walla (which is conveniently the home of both the penitentiary and Whitman College); (c) variations and trends in 20th century African-American popular musical forms, and the relationship of these to American music and popular culture more generally; (d) social and family stress over the course of the individual and family life cycles; and (e) the particular shape of crime in small, rurally-located communities. Keith has served two terms as Chair of the Whitman Faculty (1998-2000; 2000-2002) and two terms as the Director of the college's Center for Teaching and Learning (2003-2006; 2006-2008). He has received a number of college awards for teaching, advising, and scholarly activity, and, in 1992, he was fortunate enough to be named Washington State Professor of the Year by CASE (the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education).
An aficionado of virtually all kinds of modern music, Keith plays electric bass in whatever spare time he can muster (which typically isn’t much), and he is currently a member of the local musical groups R & R, Orange Fight, and Vintage. A previous musical group, The Walla Walla Rhythm Train, released a self-titled CD in 2002. Keith continues to be an avid New England sports fan, and has basked in particular in the recent successes experienced during the past decade by his beloved Patriots, Red Sox and Celtics. With the advent of around-the-clock cable television and 24/7 news cycles, Keith has become something of a politics junkie, and his mood and general outlook on life often hinge upon the content of the most recent Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes television programs. Keith's wife of 40 years, Nancy Tavelli, is the Associate Dean of Campus Life and the Director of Residence Life and Housing at the college, while his older daughter, Jane, is currently completing a Law Degree at Stanford University and a Public Policy Degree at Princeton University, and his younger daughter, Katharine, is an undergraduate student at Washington State University.
E-mail Keith Farrington.