Sociology Ph.D. student wins Graduate School’s Shaheen Award

Author: Josh Weinhold

Marshall Taylor

The Graduate School at Notre Dame honored four graduating doctoral students with Shaheen Awards at its commencement ceremony — including two from the College of Arts and Letters.

The awards are given annually to students who represent distinction in their respective divisions — engineering, the humanities, science, and social science.

Marshall Taylor, who received his Ph.D. from the Department of Sociology, is the Shaheen Award winner in the social sciences. A productive scholar whose dissertation focuses on white nationalist movements in the United States, Taylor is a recognized expert in computational text analysis and cognitive social science.

Taylor, who will begin as an assistant professor of sociology at New Mexico State University this fall, has had his work appear in 11 publications in leading journals in his field.

With a focus on cultural cognition, he examines how material conditions, community contexts, and elements of personal culture shape what people and organizations perceive, attend to, and see as worthy of valuation in various social situations. 

In his dissertation, Taylor seeks explanations for why some white nationalist organizations become leading voices, and why organizations in that area adopt particular grievances. He works both substantively, in analysis of the content, dissemination, and influence of racist literature, and methodologically, in his engagement with big data and techniques for natural language processing. 

The other Shaheen winner from Arts and Letters was Luis Bravo, one of the first graduates of Notre Dame's doctoral program in Spanish.