Hello, My Name is…

I’ve always hated name tags, sometimes going so far as to cover them up. At the same time, I keep all of my conference name tags and the little plastic cases they come in, clipping them all together to create a hanging office “mobile” that’s continually under construction. Anyway, welcome to the over-informative name tag section of this web site.

As the name of the site indicates, my name is Jeff Langstraat. I’m an Associate Professor of Sociology at the Community College of Allegheny County. Prior to arriving here, I taught, on both full-time and part-time bases, at the University of North Dakota, Bridgewater State University, Suffolk University, Tufts University, Boston College, Minnesota State University-Mankato, Gustavus Adolphus College, the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, and Curry College.

I received my PhD in sociology from Boston College in 2009. My dissertation research focused on changing news representations of same-sex couples, and the role of couples selected by movement organizations in presenting a particular image for public consumption. In many ways, my graduate research, including my MA thesis studying the right-wing framing of sex education in Minnesota, was an extension of my social movement activism coming out of college. My first job was co-coordinating an LGBT anti-violence organization in southern Minnesota. Housed in a local domestic violence program, we worked on transforming criminal justice system practices regarding LGBT crime victims, publishing a community newsletter and working to create a more visible and active community, simultaneously working with statewide organizations to create greater movement capacity. While financial problems eventually led to a layoff, it got me interested not only in how organizing operates, but also how social change takes place within institutional settings. I headed off to graduate school, eventually finding myself majoring in sociology and working with the campus health education program. Then, it was off to Boston and my Ph.D. Lots of life along the way, and now I find myself in Pittsburgh.

While my graduate degrees are in sociology, my bachelor’s degree, from Iowa State University, is in music. At one point in my life, I wanted to sing. But, I simply wasn’t willing to spend the amount of time in a practice room that would have been necessary to make a career with my minimal talent. I remain an avid fan, however, and subscribe to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (if you stick around, you will hear about them; I’ll definitely be writing about music).

I’m also a foodie. While I love fancy-schmancy food, I’m also a sucker for good junk food, and I have a real weakness for greasy-spoon diners. I also cook. Indeed, I LOVE to cook. If I’m feeling particularly stressed or anxious, odds are that I will end up in the kitchen…and that will likely mean recipes.

That’s probably enough for now. The digital name tag has run out of room.