Sociology and Anthropology
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Nancy W Hanrahan

Nancy W Hanrahan

Nancy W Hanrahan

Associate Professor

critical theory, cultural sociology, feminist theory, music and the arts

Nancy Weiss Hanrahan is a specialist in cultural sociology, sociology of music, critical theory and feminist theory.  Currently an Associate Professor of Sociology at George Mason University, she received her Ph.D. in 1994 from the Graduate Faculty of Political and Social Science of the New School for Social Research.  She served as Director of Women and Gender Studies at Mason from 2002-2009, and spent the spring, 2011 semester as a Fulbright Scholar in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as a specialist in feminist theory. 

Her current research focuses on the terms and possibilities of cultural critique in the age of the Internet.  She is working on a new book, Music Criticism: Aesthetic Value in the Age of Digital Reproduction, that explores the contradiction between the collapse of critical discourses about music and the proliferation of opportunities for cultural evaluation that are afforded by the new technologies.  She is particularly interested in evaluating the claims of cultural democracy that attend the new technologies, and in assessing the aesthetic consequences of their widespread utilization. 

Before embarking on an academic career, Dr. Hanrahan spent ten years in the music business, as a radio announcer in Boston, and as program director of New Jazz at the Public, at Joseph Papp’s Public Theater in New York City. 

Dr. Hanrahan teaches undergraduate courses in classical and contemporary sociological theory and graduate courses in critical theory, feminist social theory and the sociology of culture. She is the author of Difference in Time: A Critical Theory of Culture (Praeger, 2000) and co-editor of The Blackwell Companion to the Sociology of Culture (Blackwell Publishers, 2004).

Selected Publications

Dissertations Supervised

Nicole B. Hindert, The Jeito of the Brazilian Mulata: Race, Identity, and Distinction in a Racial Democracy (2016)