My research revolves around understanding the intersection of race, place, and institutions in shaping the holistic life experiences of children and youth in the United States. I explore how institutions and the people within are molded by broader social, political, cultural, and historical elements at the intersection of place and race, with particular focus on punitive environments and experiences of Black children and youth.
Race and ethnicity, Education, Inequality, Rural Sociology, Ethnography
Prepare and Punish: Schooling and Discipline in the Black Belt
Drawing on two years of ethnographic fieldwork, Prepare and Punish explores the realities of schooling at Abundance Junior High School, a predominantly Black school of 150 students in the northeast Louisiana delta, examining what shapes the disciplinary climate and experiences of Black students in schools in the rural South and beyond.
First, I illustrate how and why punishment is used to socialize students into compliance in the context of the rural South, including by Black educators. In doing so, I show how punitive practices – such as suspension and corporal punishment – are influenced by religion and cultural norms about ‘a child’s place,’ while also viewed as a form of protection against racialized violence in the region.
Second, I demonstrate how historical and contemporary racial separation – through segregation, school choice and performance scores, and stigma – create enrollment pressures that inform disciplinary practices and encourage administrators to employ strategies like ‘off the books’ suspensions to ostensibly preserve instruction for higher performing students.
Third, I explore the use and impact of an extensive web of live audio and video surveillance, showing how students and adults perceive, navigate, and leverage them in an environment of distrust.
Throughout the dissertation, I illustrate how punitive practices (and their ties to anti-Blackness) substantially impact the wellbeing of Black students. I show that students begin to see themselves as a problem, disengage and withdraw in class, and experience real emotional and physical pain because of punishment they receive – most often simply for behaving like the children they are.
Anna Haskins (Chair), Laura Tach, Kendra Bischoff, Peter Rich
I served as a teaching assistant at Cornell for courses including Controversies about Inequality, Health in Social Context, and Sociology of Sex and Gender. Prior to Cornell, I served as a teaching assistant for Community-Based Prevention Principles & Practices at Drexel University School of Public Health.
Systems and Schools Study
In addition to my work on school punishment, I also conduct ongoing research related to the Systems and Schools Study with Anna Haskins (Andrew V. Tackes Associate Professor of Sociology and Associate Director of Notre Dame's Initiative on Race and Resilience), a multi-site qualitative research project exploring school engagement among families involved in the criminal legal, immigration enforcement, or child welfare system.
Peer Reviewed Publications
Mingo, Meaghan and Anna R. Haskins. 2020. “Mass Incarceration in the U.S. and Its Collateral Consequences.” In Oxford Bibliographies in Sociology. Ed. Lynette Spillman. New York: Oxford University Press.
Waller, Maureen, Lenna Nepomnyaschy, Daniel R. Miller, and Meaghan Mingo. 2021. “Using a Narrative Approach to Analyze Longitudinal Mixed Methods Data.” Journal of Mixed Methods Research.
Haskins, Anna, Mariana Amorim, and Meaghan Mingo. 2018. “Parental Incarceration and Child Outcomes: Those at Risk, Evidence of Impacts, Methodological Insights, and Areas of Future Work.” Sociology Compass 12(3).
Bowleg, Lisa, Meaghan Mingo, and Jenné S. Massie. 2013. “‘The Skill Is Using Your Big Head Over Your Little Head’: What Black Heterosexual Men Say They Know, Want, and Need to Prevent HIV.” American Journal of Men’s Health 7(4):31S–42S.
Manuscripts Under Review
Mingo, Meaghan. “Stay in a Child’s Place: Adult Authority and Schooling in the Black Belt.”
- Honorable Mention, David Lee Stevenson Paper Award, Education Section, American Sociological Association, 2023
- Robin M. Williams Jr. Best Paper Award on Race and Ethnicity, Department of Sociology, Cornell University, 2022
Mingo, Meaghan. “That Camera Sees Everything and Hears Everything: Surveilling Schools in the Rural South.”
- Robin M. Williams Jr. Best Paper Award on Race and Ethnicity, Department of Sociology, Cornell University, 2023