Admitted Students – Make Your Deposit Today!

Congratulations to all our Fall 2024 admitted students! We can’t wait to welcome you to NYC this fall. Be sure to make your deposit today to secure your spot.

Erin E. O’Connor


Associate Professor of Sociology
(2018-2023) Chair, Department of Politics and Human Rights


Department of Politics and Human Rights
Department of Natural Resources, Affiliated Faculty of Environmental Studies



Please request by email


Erin E. O’Connor is an Associate Professor of Sociology, an Affiliated Faculty of Environmental Studies, and contributes to the college’s BFA in Art. She is a 2024 recipient of the Marymount Manhattan College Faculty Scholarship Award and a 2023 recipient of the Rakow Grant for Glass Research at the Corning Museum of Glass. Dr. O’Connor is a world-recognized expert in craft studies, specializing in glass, art, craft, knowledge, work, materiality, the body, and the environment.

Dr. O’Connor is the author of Fire-Craft: Art, Body, and World Among Glassblowers, a sensuous ethnography of bodily knowledge, materiality, and the formation of self and community among glassblowers (In Contract, Columbia University Press). Her current book project, “The Middle Mineral & the Mine: An ethnomineraology of studio glassblowing” seeks to tell the story of American studio glassblowing from the vantage of glass batch. Her work draws from ethnography, archival research, and interviews, and is informed by phenomenology, material feminism, critical indigenous theory, and posthumanism.

In addition, Dr. O’Connor researches the work and life of American Magic Realist painter, Frederick Papsdorf (1887-1978).

Dr. O’Connor has published in the journals Thesis Eleven, Qualitative Sociology Review, Qualitative Sociology, Qualitative Research, and Ethnography as well as numerous edited volumes, including the following: Craftwork as Problem Solving: Ethnographic Studies of Design and MakingStudio Studies: Operations, topologies, and displacements; and Leaving the field? Methodological Insights from Ethnographic Exits. At MMC, Dr. O’Connor serves as a Co-Coordinator of the Social Justice Academy as well as Faculty Co-Advisor of the Bedford Hills Club, which supports the MMC college programs at both the Bedford Hills and Taconic Women’s Correctional Facilities.

Dr. O’Connor enjoys the outdoors, creating, and sharing her interests with her children (while learning a lot about superheroes and Legos along the way). 


Ph.D., New School for Social Research
M.A., New School for Social Research
Honors, B.A., Michigan State University

Recent Work

In Contract. Fire-Craft: art, body, and world among glassblowers. Columbia University Press.

2024, Forthcoming. “Becoming with Glass: Medium and Materiality in Embodied Knowledge”. In Craft and Design Practice from an Embodied Perspective, eds. Camilla Groth and Nithikul Nimkulrat. London: Routledge.

2024, Forthcoming. “From Furnace to Mine: An Ethnomineralogy of the Early Studio Glass Movement”. 86th Street: A Journal of Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture.

2023 “Materia Erotica: making-love among glassblowers”. In Leaving the field? Methodological Insights from Ethnographic Exits, eds. Robin Smith and Sara Delamont. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

2017 “Touching Tacit Knowledge: handwork as ethnographic method in a glassblowing studio”. Qualitative Research 17(2), 217-230.

2016 “The Prototype: Problem Work in the relationship between Designer, Artist, and Gaffer in Glassblowing” in Craftwork as Problem Solving: Ethnographic Studies of Design and Making, ed. Trevor Marchand. London: Ashgate. Co-Authored with Suzanne Peck.

2016 “Inter- to Intracorporeality: The haptic hotshop heat of a glassblowing studio” in Studio Studies: Operations, Topologies & Displacements, eds. Igancio Farias and Alex Wiley. London: Routledge.

2012 “Cross Disciplinary Literacy in the Age of Apps and Mobile Devices,” with Rebecca Mushtare and Millie Burns, in Emerging Pedagogies for the New Millennium. Network: A Journal of Faculty Development (

2012 “Saber hecho carne: la experiencia dl sentido y la busqueda de expertise en el soplado de vidrio”” in Hacia una nueva sociología cultural: Mapas, dramas y prácticas, ed. C. E. Benzecry. Buenos Aires: Quilmes University Press. 

2009 “The Act of Collaborative Creation and the Art of Integrative Creativity: Originality, Disciplinarity and Interdisciplinarity in Science.” Co-Authored with Diana Rhoten. Thesis Eleven (96(1).

2007 “The Centripetal Force of Expression: Drawing Embodied Histories into Glassblowing.” Qualitative Sociology Review, “Ethnographies of Artistic Work,” eds. Howard Becker and Marie Buscatto.

2007 “Hot Glass: The Calorific Imagination of Practice in Glassblowing.” In  Practicing Culture, eds. Craig Calhoun and Richard Sennett. London: Routledge.

2007 “Embodied Knowledge in Glassblowing: meaning and the struggle towards proficiency (modified reprint).” In Chris Shilling (ed.), Embodying Sociology: Retrospect, Progress and Prospects, The Sociological Review Monograph.

2006 “Glassblowing Tools: Extending the Body towards Practical Knowledge and Informing a Social World.” Qualitative Sociology 29(2).

2005 “Embodied Knowledge: Meaning and the Struggle Towards Proficiency in Glassblowing.” Ethnography 6(2).


Glass, Art, Craft, Work, Labor, Body, Knowledge, Ethnography, Culture, Social Theory, Environment, Elements, Ethno-Mineralogy, Settler Colonialism, Phenomenology, New Materialism, Material Feminism, Posthumanism


Anthropology at Museums in NYC

Art, Politics & Society (Art Activism)

Radical Labor and Artisan Movements

EcoCulture & Sustainability (Queer Ecologies)

Environmental Justice

Material Culture

Culture & Ideology

Foundations of Social and Political Inquiry

Introduction to Sociology


Great Social Thinkers

Graffiti & Garbage: a NYC Seminar

Professional Experience

Professor O’Connor developed and launched Marymount Manhattan College’s Social Justice Academy in 2020-2021. The academy, launched as the Sojourner Truth Suffrage Academy, runs annually in the Spring Semester. It has become an integral program at the College.

Fall 2020: PHR/IS Event Series, Racial Justice

PHR/IS Fall 2020 Event Series

PHR/IS Fall 2020 Event Series

PHR/IS Fall 2020 Event Series


Spring 2021: PHR/IS Sojourner Truth Suffrage Academy

PHR/IS Sojourner Truth Suffrage Academy Spring 2021


The Suffrage Academy 2021, Opening Week


Suffrage Academy February Suffrage Academy 2021, March Suffrage Academy 2021, April


Fall 2021 Course Offerings

Spring 2022 Course Offerings

Spring 2022 Course Offerings The Spring 2022 PHR Social Justice Academy: The “New” New York, Organized by Dr. Marnie Brady, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Department of Politics & Human Rights

New New York Academy 2022, February New New York Academy 2022, March Summer 2022 classes

Office Hours

Tuesday and Thursday 3:00 - 4:00


Carson Hall, Room 202