Alumni News

November 26, 2018 at 8:59 pm

New Faculty Holly Ningard Focuses in Criminology and Law and Society

Holly Ningard, environmental portrait outdoors

Dr. Holly Ningard

Dr. Holly Ningard joined Ohio University as a lecturer in Sociology. She is also a new Faculty Affiliate of the Center for Law, Justice & Culture.

Ningard focuses on several types of criminology, including green criminology, cultural and narrative criminology. Her interests also lie in law and society studies, corporate crime, criminal justice, and sexual victimization.

“One of the things I really enjoy about sociology is its ability to foster empathy in those who study it,” says Ningard, on why sociology is so important in  contemporary times. “Often times, what we believe to be a common sense explanation for how the world works isn’t so simple, and recognizing that can really help us understand social problems more thoroughly.”

In further explaining the connection between sociologists and empathy, Ningard uses the #MeToo movement as an example.

“With this conversation, I saw a lot of questions like, ‘Why do survivors wait so long to report?’ Sociologists wanted to know this, too. Looking at broad patterns of reporting behavior may not tell you why a specific individual chooses not to report, but it does provide a greater understanding of the social reality of rape in today’s culture, and it allows us to have more empathy and understanding when allegations surface. If there’s one thing the world can always use, it’s more empathy.”

An Alum Who Knew She Wanted to Come Home to Athens

Ningard is an Ohio University alum, earning her Bachelor of Arts in both Sociology-Criminology and Philosophy and her Master of Arts in Sociology from the College of Arts & Sciences.

Ningard says that even back then, it had felt like OHIO had chosen her.

“I fell in love with the campus, and it sounds cheesy, but OU was where I felt like I needed to go. It was the only college I applied to!”

Ningard says returning to Ohio University was a natural choice.

“Returning to Athens is like coming home. I remember sitting in Bentley Hall thinking, ‘This is it, this is what I want to do for the rest of my life! And I want to do it here!'”

Ningard returned to Athens after earning her Ph.D. in Philosophy and Sociology from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. She finished her doctoral dissertation, Narrating Environmental Harm: Constructing the Ideal Legal Case of Corporate Environmental Pollution, this past August.

Currently, Ningard is most interested about myths revolving around the criminal justice system.

“So much of what we know about the world, we learn through stories. Stories our parents tell us, stories we read in the news, stories we watch on TV. Stories about crime are some of the most fascinating stories we tell, and so I’m looking into how they shape our views and attitudes regarding crime,” she says.

Ningard taught as a graduate student during her time as a master’s student at Ohio University, teaching Introduction to Sociology. Now she’s back to educating her fellow Bobcats.

This fall semester, Ningard is teaching SOC 2600: Criminal Justice and SOC 3640: Police and Society. Next spring, Ningard will again be offering SOC 2600, as well as SOC 3670: Corporate and Governmental Crime and SOC 4670: Violence Against Women. 

Ningard’s higher level courses both deal heavily with her own research interests, and she is excited to share her interest in the topics with her students.

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