Alicia Smith-Tran ’10

  • Assistant Professor of Sociology


  • PhD, sociology, Case Western Reserve University, 2018
  • MA, sociology, Case Western Reserve University, 2015
  • MA, journalism, Syracuse University, 2011
  • BA, sociology, Oberlin College, 2010


Smith-Tran’s research focuses on Black women’s health, age and the life course, narrative methods, sociology of sport, and the Black middle class. 

Her work is published in Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, Teaching Sociology, Critical Sociology, Journal of Sport and Social Issues, Sociological Spectrum, Sociological Focus, Humanity & Society, and other academic journals and books.

Smith-Tran’s most recent project draws on semi-structured interviews with Black professionals who are perceived as youthful to learn more about the intersections of ageism and racism at work. She was named a 2021 Career Enhancement Fellow by the Institute for Citizens and Scholars in support of this work.

Smith-Tran is a proud alumna of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program, and she is a former member of the Oberlin College women’s basketball team. 

  • medical sociology
  • narrative methods
  • aging and the life course 
  • race, class, and gender
  • sociology of sport

  • Smith-Tran, Alicia. 2022. “Expecting in Unexpected Times: Navigating a Pandemic Pregnancy.” Journal of Autoethnography. Forthcoming.
  • Slone, Michael R., Timothy Black, and Alicia Smith-Tran. 2022. “On the Job, Off the Books: Organizing Against Worker Misclassification in the Neoliberal Era.” Critical Sociology. Forthcoming.
  • Smith-Tran, Alicia, and Tiffany Tien Hang. 2021. “Professor-Student Interaction in the Midst of Illness: A Collaborative Autoethnography.” Humanity & Society. In Press.
  • Smith-Tran, Alicia. 2021. “‘Finally Something for Us’: Black Girls Run! and Racialized Space-Making in Recreational Running.” Journal of Sport and Social Issues 45(3): 235-250.
  • Smith-Tran, Alicia. 2020. “A Life Course Perspective on the Start of Black Middle-Class Women’s Recreational Running Careers.” Sociological Spectrum 40(3): 289-302.
  • Smith-Tran, Alicia. 2020. “Exploring the Benefits and Drawbacks of Age Disclosure among Women Faculty of Color.” Teaching Sociology 48(1): 3-12.
  • Smith-Tran, Alicia. 2019. “The ‘Black Middle-Class Toolkit’ as a Framework for Understanding the Cultural Implications of Recreational Running.” Sociological Focus 52(3): 231-245.
  • Smith-Tran, Alicia. 2018. “Muscle as Medicine: An Autoethnographic Study of Coping with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome through Strength Training.” Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health 10(4): 476-492.

Spring 2024

Medical Sociology — SOCI 216
Race and Racism in the U.S. — SOCI 219


Alicia Smith-Tran and Students Present at North Central Sociological Association's Annual Meeting

April 3, 2024

Two fourth-year sociology majors and one faculty member presented at the annual meeting of the North Central Sociological Association in Columbus, OH on March 30. Maggie Balderstone ’24 presented research on experiences of transgender athletes at Oberlin, and Luca Johnson ’24 delivered a talk about public transportation in Los Angeles. Assistant Professor of Sociology Alicia Smith-Tran ’10 spoke on teaching photovoice methodologies to undergraduate students.

Alicia Smith-Tran Article Published in "Contexts"

February 21, 2024

Assistant Professor of Sociology Alicia Smith-Tran published an article in Contexts titled, "Pushing Back On 'Black Don’t Crack.'" In it, she draws on her interview-based research to describe how racism, sexism, and ageism intersect in ways that uniquely harm Black women as they seek professional respect in white spaces.

Alicia Smith-Tran Presented Research Paper with Coauthor Jackie Oh

April 6, 2023

Jackie Oh, fourth-year sociology and biology double-major, presented a research paper with coauthor Alicia Smith-Tran, assistant professor of sociology, at the North Central Sociological Association Annual Meeting in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The paper is titled, "The Physician Biography Video: A Tool for Shaping a Personal and Institutional Public Image."

Alicia Smith-Tran Delivers Lecture at Case Western Reserve University

April 29, 2022

On April 22, Assistant Professsor of Sociology Alicia Smith-Tran delivered The Gene S. Uyeki Memorial Lecture at an event hosted by Case Western Reserve University's Department of Sociology. The lecture was titled "Private Troubles, Peer-Reviewed: On Personal Growth and Writing Sociologically."

Alicia Smith-Tran Coauthors Article

December 20, 2021

Assistant Professor of Sociology Alicia Smith-Tran coauthored an article about worker misclassification with two researchers at Case Western Reserve University. The article was published in Critical Sociology.