Shannon Malone Gonzalez joined the faculty of UNC Sociology in Fall 2021 after earning her Sociology PhD from The University of Texas at Austin. Shannon’s areas of Interest are Black Feminist Theory and Epistemologies, Criminology, Policing/Police Violence, Family, and Mixed Methods.
Recently, Dr. Ted Mouw met with Dr. Shannon Gonzalez to ask about her first year at UNC Chapel Hill.
Ted: What have you found the most challenging and rewarding about your transition to North Carolina?
Shannon: It was really difficult transitioning from Austin to North Carolina with small children during a pandemic. We moved last summer when so many things were still only being done online, like apartment and school tours, so a lot of the process had to be managed remotely. However, a lot of people were dealing with similar circumstances, and I was able to build close connections with those who were also managing a move to the area. So, in many ways, what was most challenging was also most rewarding as we were able to make close friends pretty quickly.
Ted: How are you liking Chapel Hill?
Shannon: I am from Mississippi, so in many ways, it has felt really great to be closer to family and friends and return to the south. For me, the area feels like the perfect balance between all the things I loved about Austin and Mississippi. So, it’s been really nice to visit all of the coffee shops and restaurants while being able to do a lot of outdoor activities with our kids.
Ted: How is your book project going and what else are you currently working on?
Shannon: Most of my dissertation was written during the 2020 protests against anti-black police violence, which shaped a lot of my thinking and writing at the time. Now, two years later, I am in the process of adapting my dissertation into a book manuscript. I hope the book sheds some light on to how black women from different social backgrounds were impacted by this moment and what it meant for them in terms of how they understand their own experiences with police.
My next project comes directly from many conversations I had with black men about the protests and murder of Breonna Taylor. So much work shows how black women’s activism around policing is not just focused on their own experiences, but the care and protection of others in their families and communities. This project, which is a collaboration with two graduate students at UT Austin, will explore how black men engage in care and protective work and activism around police violence against black women and girls.
Ted: When you are not conducting research, how do you like to spend your free time?
Shannon: I really enjoy being outdoors. So, in my free time, I love going on long hikes with my family and friends. My oldest daughter and I also share a love for photography and nature, and we walk the American Tobacco Trail and take pictures together.