Dr. Eve Ewing Joins Sociology X-Block to Talk About Qualitative Sociology and Her Upcoming Research
by Natalie Wilczek
Starting off the 2018 new year, Ms. Marion McCreedy and Mr. Leo Park, Fine Arts department, organized an all school colloquium event called “Belief.” One of the presenters asked to speak about her experiences was Dr. Eve Ewing, NCP Class of 2004. Ewing presented her poems from her poetry book, “Electric Arches,” which expresses issues on race, gender, and identity. Ewing also joined an X-block to speak with students who take Sociology with Ms. Anna Park, Social Science department.
Ewing is an academic, scholar, writer, and visual artist from Chicago. After graduating from Northside, Ewing attended the University of Chicago. Realizing how much she loved being around young people and how fulfilling it felt to help the city, Ewing became a CPS teacher. During her third year of teaching, huge budget cuts occurred throughout CPS schools. Ewing noticed a cognitive dissonance because everyone throughout her school was working hard, but she did not understand why CPS was in so much trouble. Questioning every statement and decision that the CPS board made, Ewing stated, “So who is it that is making these decisions? Where are they? How could we hold them accountable? I sort of became obsessed with that question and I realized that to answer it, I had to leave the classroom.”
Ewing attended Harvard University’s graduate school of education where she experienced living in a city other than Chicago for the first time. Ewing studied inequality in public schools and got her doctorate degree. After becoming Dr. Ewing, she came back to Chicago to work at the University of Chicago as an assistant professor of sociology, but still continues to conduct her own research. The type of research Ewing focuses on are the issues within the city of Chicago and working as a qualitative researcher.
Later this year, Ewing is publishing a book about the 2013 CPS school closings. Then, about 50 public schools were closed in the city of Chicago, making it the largest mass school closing that has ever happened in the United States. Ewing stated that, “the book is about that event, the previous century, and how racism and segregation in Chicago built up the conditions that led to these school closings.” Ewing continues to be distinctive within her field of study because she tries to “be immediately responsive to community needs,” and continues to serve the city. Being a talkative and extroverted person, a lot of Ewing’s ideas for research come from talking to people and poking around the city.
Another study Ewing is working on is alternative high schools. While visiting an alternative
school, Ewing noticed that attendance was an issue for the students. With this study, Ewing is focused on what makes it difficult for students at alternative schools to get to school and have regular attendance. She is also conducting research on the students who are affected by the rule forcing them to attend high school once they turn 15 years old. Ewing found that this group of students barely have any research done on them and noticed that, “people don’t know how to help them. Teachers do not know how to support them.” Teachers do not have time to step back and look at the big picture to see what they can do to help. Ewing’s job as a researcher and having a teacher’s perspective allows her to step in. Ewing stated, “I have space and time to dig a little deeper and see how we can come up with something to elaborate to solve these problems.” Ewing continues to actively help throughout the city with her research.