I am a Professor of Sociology at Westminster College.
I have a B.A. degree in Sociology and Anthropology from Colgate University. I also have M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In addition, I earned a Master's Certificate in Latin American Studies from Chapel Hill.
My most recent published scholarship used indepth interviews to discover and analyze the perceptions and experiences that local non-Amish residents have of and with their Old Order Amish neighbors. I interpreted non-Amish criticisms of Amish cultural practices using a culturally relativist perspective that evaluated and offered tentative conclusions on whether such practices represent legitimate cultural variations or cause harm in ways that make them problematic. See Park, Kristin. 2018. "Interpreting Non-Amish Perceptions of the Old Order Amish Using Cultural Relativism and Human Rights Frameworks." Journal of Amish and Plain Anabaptist Studies (JAPAS) 6 (1): 117-43.
My current scholarship uses interviews with members of the local Old Order settlement, observations of public sites where Amish and non-Amish individuals interact and content analysis of Amish letters in Amish newspapers to elaborate and analyze Amish values, activities, concerns and needs in the local region. I also describe and analyze Amish perspectives on relations with the English population. Special attention is given to ethical and methodological issues in studying this population. This research will be presented at the 2019 Annual Conference of the Amish and Plain Anabaptist Studies Association (APASA), on Aug. 2, 2019 in Millersburg, OH.
Past publications include two peer-reviewed articles describing and analyzing findings from interview research of women and men choosing a voluntarily childless life. My dissertation research, involving participant observation, indepth interviews and document analysis of three congregations participating in the 1980s sanctuary movement for Central American immigrants, is also published in two peer-reviewed articles. Email me if you cannot find these articles online.
My areas of teaching interest include international studies, food, culture and society, indigenous cultures, women's lives in cross-cultural perspective (especially in the Global South), income inequality in the United States, the Amish community and "new religions" on the contemporary American landscape. I am committed to experiential and service learning, critical thinking and ethical evaluations of social phenomena in my classes.
Peer-reviewed teaching resources available at TRAILS (the American Sociological Association’s Teaching Resources and Innovations Library for Sociology)
2016. Assignment: “Role Plays on Female Genital Cutting: Understanding Multiple Perspectives and Evaluating Cultural Relativism”
2013. Syllabus: “Sociology 303: Religion and Society”
2011. Assignment: “Cultural Practice Paper”
Also: 2009. “Using Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy for Teaching about Income Inequality.” In Teaching/Learning Matters 38 (2) (Fall) (Newsletter of the American Sociological Association’s Section on Teaching and Learning in Sociology).
Spring, 2019. Sabbatical leave.
Spring, 2017. Hoon Faculty Development Award, Westminster College
2012. Nominated as a Westminster College Representative for Case Professor of the Year Award (Council for Advancement and Support of Education).
Spring, 2019. Co-organizer of "Theory and Practice in Amish-Focused Work." Annual conference of the Amish and Plain Anabaptist Studies Association, Millersburg, OH, Aug. 2, 2019.