Ryan Light

Ryan Light

Associate Professor of Sociology

University of Oregon

I am a sociologist at the University of Oregon researching science, culture, and social networks. I co-edited the recently published The Oxford Handbook of Social Networks and co-edit the open access journal Socius.

My current research focuses on the organization of science, including scientific movements, social science, and interdisciplinarity, using social network analysis and computational social science methods. I also study how culture and meaning are structured using network and text analysis. I have a longstanding interest in social network analysis and research methods as well as power and inequality.

I have recently taught undergraduate courses on the sociology of culture, sociology of science, and sociological theory. I also teach graduate-level courses on research methods and social networks.

  • Social Networks
  • Sociology of Science
  • Cultural Sociology
  • Computational Social Science
  • PhD in Sociology, 2009

    Ohio State University

  • BA in Sociology and English, 2000

    Kenyon College


Download my CV.

Select Publications


Light, Ryan and James Moody, editors. 2020. The Oxford Handbook of Social Networks. Oxford University Press.

Refereed Articles

Light, Ryan, Theis, Nicholas, Edelmann, Achim, Moody, James, and Richard York. Forthcoming. “Clouding Climate Science: A Comparative Network and Text Analysis of Consensus and Anti- Consensus Scientists.” Social Networks. [preprint]

Lievanos, Raoul S., Evans, Clare R., and Ryan Light. 2021. “An Intercategorical Ecology of Lead Exposure: Complex Environmental Health Vulnerabilities in the Flint Water Crisis.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18:1-24. [pdf]

adams, jimi, Light, Ryan, and Nicholas Theis. 2020. “Moblizing COVID-19 Science” Contexts 19:36-41. [pdf]

Light, Ryan and Colin Odden. 2017. “Managing the Boundaries of Taste: Culture, Valuation, and Computational Social Science." Social Forces 96:877-908 [postprint].

Edelmann, Achim, Moody, James and Ryan Light. 2017. “Disparate Foundations of Scientists‘ Policy Positions on Contentious Biomedical Research.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 114:6262-6267. [pdf].

York, Richard and Ryan Light. 2017. “Directional Asymmetry in Sociological Analysis.” Socius 3:1-13. [pdf]

Light, Ryan and Jeanine Cunningham. 2016. “Oracles of Peace: Topic Modeling, Cultural Opportunity, and the Nobel Prize for Peace, 1902-2012.” Mobilization 21:43:64. [preprint]

adams, jimi and Ryan Light. 2015. “Scientific Consensus, the Law, and Same Sex Parenting Outcomes.” Social Science Research 53:300-310. [pdf]

Light, Ryan. 2015. “Like Strangers We Trust: Identity and Generic Affiliation Networks.” Social Science Research 51:132-144.[postprint]

jimi adams and Ryan Light. 2014. “Mapping Interdisciplinary Fields: Efficiencies, Gaps & Redundancies in HIV/AIDS Research.” PLOS ONE 9(12): e115092. [pdf]

Light, Ryan. 2014. “From Words to Networks and Back: Digital Text, Computational Social Science, and the Case of Presidential Inaugural Addresses.” Social Currents 1(2):111-129. [postprint]

Light, Ryan. 2013. “Gender Inequality and the Structure of Occupational Identity: The Case of Elite Sociological Publication.” Research in the Sociology of Work 24:239-268. [preprint]


Recent Undergraduate Classes

Social Theory (syllabus)

Sociology of Culture (syllabus)

Introduction to Social Networks (syllabus)

Science & Society (syllabus)

Recent Graduate Classes

Research Methods (syllabus)

Social Networks Analysis (syllabus)

Publishing Workshop (syllabus)


What I’ve been reading: Laila Lalami’s The Moor’s Account, Barry Unger’s Sacred Hunger, Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You, Hanif Abdurraqib’s They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us

What I’ve been listening to:

Chance the Rapper, Open Mike Eagle, The Pixies , Guided By Voices

What I’ve been watching:

Fleabag, USWNT, LFC