Shaun Golding began teaching at Kenyon in 2016, after four years at Bowdoin College, his alma mater. He earned his masters of science and doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Departments of Community and Environmental Sociology and Sociology, respectively.

In his research, Golding uses mixed methods to examine intersections of inequality and the environment with emphases on North America, natural resource-based economic development and public policy. His recent work on northern New England's backlash to renewable energy generated his 2021 book, "Electric Mountains," published by Rutgers University Press.

Golding has published articles and book chapters related to community sense of place, public planning, rural gentrification and natural resource-driven migration patterns.

Golding was awarded a Fulbright fellowship in 2019-2020 to study environmental dimensions of labor migration in Norway. He is currently working to see this project to fruition.

Areas of Expertise

Communities, the Environment, Social Demography and Migration


2012 — Doctor of Philosophy from Univ of Wisconsin-Madison

2006 — Master of Science from Univ of Wisconsin-Madison

2001 — Bachelor of Arts from Bowdoin College

Courses Recently Taught

This course introduces students to the field of sociology through the study of energy and power in several of their conceptual forms: as social levers of oppression and inequities, as the physical capacity behind economic development and material accumulation, and as complicated and contested cultural symbols of tremendous consequence for the natural and social worlds. The course looks at human labor and energy as interwoven dimensions of western society and uses theories of power as lenses for understanding five case studies: The production and consumption of sugar; The contemporary cotton apparel industry; Mass incarceration in the United States; Appalachian coal and Global Climate Change. Students may take only one introductory-level course. This counts toward the foundation requirement for the major. Offered every year.

In contemporary American society we are surrounded by imagery that reflects and reinforces hierarchical divisions between us. This course applies sociological theories of class in examining artifacts of popular culture that emphasize these social divisions. Drawing from popular television and film, the course pursues an academic understanding of how social class is portrayed in and projected upon society, as well contemplates explanations and repercussions of those processes. The course establishes basic contemporary understandings of social class and popular culture before looking in greater depth at intersections of race, gender and stereotypes built around place and occupation. Prerequisite: 100-level sociology course or permission of instructor.

Our world is a blend of things that humans have shaped directly and things we define by our perceived lack of direct involvement with them. Over time we have depended on our ecological surroundings in myriad changing ways, but we have demonstrated inconsistent acknowledgment of our complex relationships with nature. Environmental sociology embodies a broad, thoughtful application of sociological insights to investigating the ways we shape and are shaped by our surroundings. This course explores through a sociological lens how Western society and more specifically contemporary American society interacts with nature. It frames central questions with regard to differentiating between humans and nature and explaining how interactions between the two vary, and it engages with current debates over conservation, sustainability, development and social justice. Prerequisite: 100-level sociology course.

Knowing how to answer a question, including what constitutes good evidence and how to collect it, is a necessary ability for any sociologist, or for any student reading the sociological research of others. Our goal will be to learn to understand when and how to use research strategies such as survey questionnaires, interviews, fieldwork and analysis of historical documents. Students will conduct small-scale research projects using these techniques. This course is not intended for seniors, although it is required for all sociology majors. Students are advised to enroll in this class as soon as they begin to consider majoring in sociology. This counts toward the methods requirement for the major. Prerequisite: 100-level sociology course. Offered every year.

This course enlists community partners to join Kenyon students in collaboratively designing and executing sociological research projects of clear benefit to their organization. Students will collaborate in groups to make substantive contributions to problems or issues in the greater Knox County community. The range of partner organizations may include those addressing public and environmental health, natural resources management and sustainability, social welfare and services, community infrastructure and planning and local economic development. Class meetings will take diverse formats, including occasional field trips (campus transport provided), guest speakers, group planning sessions, short lectures and lab/ group work sessions. This counts toward the methods requirement for the major. Prerequisite: 100-level sociology course and SOCY 271 and sophomore standing. Offered every year.

This course is for advanced students. See online searchable schedule for further description. Prerequisites: permission of instructor and department chair.