Vanessa Adel

Lecturer in Sociology

Vanessa Adel

Contact & Office Hours

Spring 2022

On leave


Ph.D., M.A., University of Massachusetts Amherst

M.A., Lesley College

B.A., Long Island University


Vanessa Adel holds a bachelor's degree from Friends World Program of Long Island University, a master's in intercultural relations from Lesley University, and a doctorate from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Adel's research focuses on race, education, activism and climate change. In her dissertation research, she sought to understand the barriers and opportunities for successful activism in communities responding to climate change. This research focused on the role of knowledge production, the contradictions of discursive frameworks, and race and class stratification in climate-change organizing.

She has also researched discursive frameworks in dismantling white privilege and engaged in ethnographic fieldwork that examined JROTC programming in public schools. She has been an evaluation researcher at the Donahue Institute, researching the effectiveness of specific programming in local schools, and she has worked as a researcher for the Social and Demographic Research Institute (now ISSR) to develop research for a local planning commission in order to understand the mismatch in local technology labor skills and labor force demands.

Adel is a committed teacher with more than two decades of teaching experience in a range of educational settings, including the college classroom, art workshops with children and diversity trainings in organizations. Her teaching is informed by social justice theorists such as Paolo Freire and bell hooks, as well as by creative approaches from her experience with theater improvisation, poetry, spoken word and storytelling. She enjoys making sociological theory relevant to understanding contemporary life, and to empowering students to make informed and inspired individual and collective choices for social change.

Adel has taught Introduction to Sociology, Perspectives in Social Justice and Advocacy, Family and Society, Sociology of Race and National Identity, Sociology of Education and Writing in Sociology. She is currently working on publishing articles based on her dissertation. She is also writing a memoir on trauma parenting. She lives in Northampton with her partner and their four children.

Selected Publications

Adel, Vanessa. (2013). “Four Kids and a Dissertation: Queering the Balance Between Family and Academia.” Mothers in Academia. Eds. Mari Castaneda and Kirsten Isgro. New York: University of Columbia Press.