Cowan Bio Photo 2

I am an Assistant Professor in the Sociology Department at New York University. My office hours in the Fall 2017 are on Friday afternoons. You can sign up here. Of course, you are welcome even if you do not sign up but those that do get priority.

I study secrets. I am interested in when and why people conceal information about themselves and others and the effects of these acts of concealment on social influence, behavior and attitudes. My work has examined abortion and miscarriage secrets in the United States and Americans keeping their political attitudes secret. My next project examines the revelation and concealment of cancer diagnoses.

If you are interested in being interviewed regarding secrets, please head here.

The secrets work is a part of a broader research agenda on the relationship between knowledge, demographic processes and events and political outcomes such as attitudes, representation and advocacy success. As such, my work draws upon many different literatures.

I have a few other projects too — head on over to the research page to learn more.

I largely employ quantitative methods on large-scale datasets from surveys to vital records in the United States. I use both regression methods and formal demographic methods. I additionally have experience and expertise in survey design.

My work on secrets recently won the Robert K. Merton Prize for Analytical Sociology from the International Network of Analytical Sociologists and Honorable Mention for Best Paper from the Communication, Information Technologies and Media section of the American Sociological Association. My research has been featured in the New York Times, Salon, National Public Radio and among others.

My work on apportionment was featured in the New York Times has been cited to the Supreme Court of the United States.

My work and training has been funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, Face Value & the Tides Center at Harvard University and the University of California, Berkeley. I have also received support from the Helen P. Wolpert Foundation.

Thanks for your interest!