Dr. Alia Tyner-Mullings Applies Sociological Method to Studying Disney Films



August 3, 2020 | Academics, Conference Presentation, Faculty, Humanities and Social Sciences, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Publication, Research

Dr. Alia Tyner-Mullings

Dr. Alia Tyner-Mullings

In February 2020, Guttman Associate Professor of Sociology Dr. Alia Tyner-Mullings presented “More Than the Renaissance: Revisiting the Periodization of Disney Animated Feature Films” at the Eastern Sociological Society Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, PA. The presentation posits that, “if examining changes in popular culture,” the way a cultural artifact “is understood” must be contextually “defined [and] situated in a longitudinal analysis.” When the particular work “intersects with multiple social institutions, careful examination of the elements and their place in time is especially relevant.” Dr. Tyner-Mullings argues that “one example of this is the movies created by the Walt Disney Company. …They are not only a product of a media conglomerate and serve an entertainment function, but they, like other forms of media, also contribute to the education and socialization of children.” Furthermore, the “particular characteristics” and “what is emphasized in these movies changes over time, creating distinct periods with different cultural impacts. Understanding this will allow for a more complete analysis of these movies.” According to Dr. Tyner-Mullings, “this presentation emphasized the scientific nature of sociology through the creation of a framework for the analysis of these and other cultural elements.”

Dr. Alia R. Tyner-Mullings earned a doctorate in sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center, where she researched alternative educational models. Subsequently, she was a post-doctoral fellow in the Sociology and Education Program at Teachers College, Columbia University and Assistant Professor at Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD. She has taught graduate and undergraduate courses on sociology, deviance, statistics, gender, research methods, and education. A former high school math teacher, Dr. Tyner-Mullings has served on assessment committees for three small high schools and has also worked as a statistical and academic consultant for several colleges and universities. Her research interests include the sociology of education, communities, sports, and cultural studies. Dr. Tyner-Mullings authored Enter the Alternative School: Critical Answers to Questions in Urban Education (Paradigm Publishers, 2014), an in-depth examination of public school alternatives to traditional educational models. She is also the co-editor of Critical Small Schools: Beyond Privatization in New York City Urban Educational Reform (Information Age, 2012) and co-author of Writing for Emerging Sociologists (Sage Publications, Inc., 2013) and The Sociology Student’s Guide to Writing (Sage Publications, Inc., 2016).