“I am working to promote social justice by giving students the tools to think critically in their day-to-day lives and professions.”
Assistant professor Miho Iwata isn’t just helping students become well-versed in sociological knowledge. Her goal is to foster citizens who will bring awareness and understanding of social inequalities to all aspects of their lives after graduation.
“I am working to promote social justice by giving students the tools to think critically in their day-to-day lives and professions,” says Iwata.
A native of Japan, Iwata approaches her teaching and research through an intersectional lens, seeking to explain social inequalities by considering how the multiple statuses people occupy impact the opportunities and resources available to them.
“We need to take into account power relations to — do the work of reversing inequalities,” she says, “so we can build coalitions beyond our differences for the common goal of bringing about social justice.”
One of Iwata’s favorite classes to teach is Sociology of Race, Class and Gender. She engages students in lively classroom discussions, enabling them to “get” the lesson not by lecturing at them, but by creating a safe environment where students can share their insights and knowledge openly and learn from one another.
Iwata, who earned her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Connecticut in 2014, also digs deep into issues of inequality in her research.
Her dissertation examined the Japanese concepts of race and racial hierarchy, and how they affect foreign migrants in Japan.
Iwata is also co-author of “As the Leaves Turn Gold: Asian Americans and Experiences
of Aging,” which documents the challenges and opportunities of aging for Asian Americans.
Other areas of expertise include human rights, racial and gender relations, and political sociology.