Timothy J. Dowd


Department Chair

Office: 231 Tarbutton Hall

Phone: 404-727-6259

Fax: 404-727-7532

Email: tdowd@emory.edu


  • Ph.D. in Sociology, Princeton University, 1996
  • M.A. in Sociology, Arizona State University, 1988
  • B.A. in Sociology, Grand Canyon College, 1986


Chair, Sociology of Culture Section, American Sociological Association, 2015-2016

Editor-in-Chief, Poetics: Journal of Empirical Research on Culture, the Media and the Arts, 2010-2014 

Fulbright Specialist; University of Amsterdam, 2013 

Erasmus Chair of the Humanities; Erasmus University Rotterdam, 2007-2008


The First-Gen Experience: My Conversation with Dr. Marisela Martinez-Cola


I am fascinated with the processes by which classifications and practices become widely accepted. Thus, I have studied such things as (a) aesthetic classifications (e.g., the rise of the R&B genre in the early to mid 1900s; the evolving orchestral canon from the early 1800s to the present; the designation of "all time greats" in music and the arts); (b) business strategies (e.g., decentralized production of multinational record companies; post-antitrust merger strategies of railroad companies; the wholescale shift to online music); and (c) careers in creative industries (e.g., how musicians and artists make a living in settings where sustained employment is scarce and where racial and gender boundaries are commonplace).

My studies have taught me to emphasize the importance of historical context, to acknowledge how inequality gets built into that context (especially along racial and gendered lines), and to recognize the benefits of bringing multiple theories into dialogue.

While much of my current research addresses music and creative careers, my interests are much broader than that. As editor of Poetics, for example, I enjoyed featuring cultural sociology that runs the gamut in terms of methodologies, theories, and traditions. As a professor, I often remind my students that sociology is defined by a diversity of topics and approaches.

Research Topics: culture, categories and classification, inequality, media, music, work and industry


Here are some of my key publications:

Timothy J. Dowd, Trent Ryan, Vaughn Schmutz, Dionne Parris, Ashlee Bledsoe, and Dan Semenza. 2021.“Retrospective Consecration Beyond the Mainstream: The Creation of a Progressive Rock Canon.” American Behavioral Scientist 65(1): 116-139.

Timothy J. Dowd and Diogo L. Pinheiro. 2016. "The Ties Among the Notes: The Social Capital of Jazz Musicians in Three Metropolitan Areas." Work & Occupations 40: 341-464.

William G. Roy and Timothy J. Dowd. 2010. “What is Sociological about Music?Annual Review of Sociology 36: 183-203.

Cathryn Johnson, Timothy J. Dowd and Cecilia Ridgeway. 2006. "Legitimacy as a Social Process." Annual Review of Sociology 32: 53-78.

Timothy J. Dowd. 2003. “Structural Power and the Construction of Markets: The Case of Rhythm and Blues.” Comparative Social Research 21: 147-202.

Frank Dobbin and Timothy J. Dowd. 2000. "The Market That Antitrust Built: Public Policy, Private Coercion, and Railroad Acquisitions, 1825-1922." American Sociological Review 65: 631-657.

Here are some places to access my publications:

My Academia.edu Page

My ResearchGate.net Page