Sociology Faculty Spotlight: Celeste Curington

As a way to get to know our faculty members within the department, I was asked to interview Dr. Celeste Curington, an assistant professor of sociology, who has been teaching at NC State since 2017. Dr. Curington currently teaches both undergraduate and graduate students in a variety of courses — including the undergraduate classes of SOC 204: Sociology of Family and SOC 495: Special Topics in Sociology in regard to Race, Gender, and Family, with the graduate courses of Critical Race Theory and Intersectional Theory.

Celeste Curington

Dr. Curington began her academic career at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, New Jersey where she obtained two bachelor’s degrees, one in sociology and one in Spanish language and literature. Upon completing her undergraduate education, Dr. Curington took some time off and went to the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where she worked as both a research assistant and a program assistant. When it came time to obtain her Doctor of Philosophy in sociology, Dr. Curington attended the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where she concentrated on intersectional inequality and race, racism, and racialization. In addition, she also obtained an advanced graduate certificate in advanced feminist studies.

When discussing the research she has done and is currently completing, I was extremely impressed with everything Dr. Curington is doing for the advancement of sociology as a whole. As stated by Dr. Curington, “My research broadly focuses on intersectional oppression and how micro-level interpersonal processes and relationships often reify larger structural forces of race, gender, class, and nation.” Currently, Dr. Curington is finishing up a book on West African Care workers located in Lisbon, Portugal. In her book, she discusses how Portugal is often a place where race isn’t seen to matter due to “anti-racial” ideologies, yet with her research, she prioritizes African-descendant women’s experiences to show how institutionalized gendered racism is pervasive in Portuguese society.

However, with COVID-19, Dr. Curington has not been able to travel to Lisbon and complete the follow-up research that she would like for other lines of inquiry she would like to pursue. In addition to this book, Dr. Curington has recently completed another book on online dating with colleagues Jennifer H. Lundquist and Ken-Hou Lin where they draw from a wealth of data to illustrate how racialized desirability hierarchies are pervasive in online dating. With this, Dr. Curington and her colleagues also argued that gendered anti-Black racism and sexism are part of the language of technology which normalizes sexual racism as a “personal preference.”

Asking Dr. Curington about what she believes is the biggest accomplishment of her career, she discussed completing and defending her dissertation after a difficult family crisis as well as the general accomplishment of seeing her students following their passions. As stated by Dr. Curington, “I care a lot about students, and I’m proud of the work that I’ve published, but I think when I see students follow their passions in their academic lives and their personal lives and knowing that I was able to help them in that small little way even if that goes unnoticed, I think that feels like an accomplishment.” Dr. Curington has earned the Faculty Mentor Award here at NC State and speaks highly of the several mentors of color throughout her academic career that have inspired her to get to where she is today.

In addition to interviewing Dr. Curington, I would like to share some of the sociology classes I have taken as registration is right around the corner. As a criminology student with a minor in forensic science, I would have to say that some of my favorite classes I have completed were SOC 306: Criminology with Stacey Decoster, SOC 300: Social Research Methods with Dr. Margaret Stiffler, and SOC 301: Human Behavior with DeAnn Judge. Currently, I am taking SOC 465: Social Aspects of Mental Health with Dr. Karen Wirth and SOC 404: Families & Work with Bo Hyeong Lee. These classes are upper level, so the class size is smaller which allows you to really connect with your classmates. In addition, being able to look at these topics in a more advanced light is something I really enjoy. I would definitely recommend all of the classes above if you are interested in diving deeper into their topics and truly want to understand the sociology behind them!

This post was written by Lindsey Fath, a junior studying criminology with a minor in forensic science and a Department of Sociology and Anthropology student ambassador.

Lindsey Fath standing on mountain

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