Sarah Neitz is a doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of Notre Dame. She has an M.A. in Political Science from the University of Toronto and a B.S. from the University of Scranton. She spent two years in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, working with Spanish-speaking immigrants and people experiencing homelessness, and coordinating retreats and immersions for college students at the University of Detroit Mercy.
Her research explores the political and moral effects of engagement with cultural objects. She has a particular interest in social theories of aesthetics and action. Her dissertation examines how bluegrass communities use instruments, songs, and performances to negotiate political and class polarization, reopening questions of perennial interest to the culture of production, like the role of industry mediation and interaction between creators and audiences in the production of cultural objects, while developing a theory of art and political action. Other projects theorize how poetry and literature mobilize resistance under Central American authoritarian regimes, and investigate how styles of social media engagement affect offline political behavior in the United States (with Terry McDonnell and Marshall Taylor). Sarah also works with the Summer Service Learning Program at the Center for Social Concerns at the University of Notre Dame to evaluate when and how students use the cultural tools of Catholic Social Teaching to align their moral identity and actions.