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Joshua Woods, Ph.D. **

Associate Professor - Sociology


Dr. Woods received a Ph.D. in sociology from Michigan State University. Josh’s research has focused primarily on the social and psychological responses to terrorism and other perceived threats. He studies the social construction of terrorism, the political rhetoric and media coverage associated with the threat, the public’s elevated worries about the danger and the effect of these concerns on social attitudes, beliefs and behaviors.

His recent publications on this topic include a sole-authored book, Freaking Out: A Decade of Living with Terrorism, a co-edited book America: Sovereign Defender or Cowboy Nation? and journal articles in the Brown Journal of World Affairs, Critical Studies on Terrorism, Global Media Journal, Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics, Human Ecology Review, International Studies, and the Social Science Journal.

A second area of Josh’s research explores macrosociological theory. Drawing on a historically grounded, neo-Weberian approach, his work illustrates the similarities between certain aspects of contemporary American society and medieval European societies. Recent publications can be found in a co-authored book, Feudal America: Elements of the Middle Ages in Contemporary Society, a book in collaboration, Contemporary Russia as a Feudal Society: A New Perspective on the Post-Soviet Era, and journal articles in Space and Polity and the International Journal of Organization Theory and Behavior.

His latest study, which draws heavily on WVU student research and collaboration, investigates mass media portrayals of ethnic minorities in the context of the immigration debate in the United States. The aim is to show how the events of 9/11, economic downturns and racial stereotypes have affected the public discourse on immigration.

Josh has taught courses in social psychology, social research methods, media and society, complex organizations, and introduction to sociology.

Selected Publications

Clara Simmons and Joshua Woods. The Overrepresentation of White Missing Children in National Television News. Forthcoming in Communication Research Reports.

Joshua Woods and Damien Arthur. The Threat of Terrorism and the Changing Public Discourse on Immigration after September 11. Sociological Spectrum, 34(5): 421-441.

Damien Arthur and Joshua Woods. The Contextual Presidency: The Negative Shift in Presidential Immigration Rhetoric. Presidential Studies Quarterly, 43(3): 468-489.

Courses Taught