As a Sociology professor, my scholarly inquiries address broad questions on how social institutions play a pivotal role in how we construct our self-identities. My most recent research analyzes how and why the tobacco industry creates cigarette brand identities in symmetry with target market identities so that in many ways the cigarette brand is linked so closely with young adult lifestyles and identities that it is almost as addictive as the nicotine. My approach to sociology imbues my expertise in social movements and social psychology to develop multi-methodological approaches to understand social problems to equip communities with knowledge, prompt the questions and inspire others through my research and teaching and encourage the same in others so everyone becomes more active and respectful member in civil society.
If you've ever seen me in action when teaching one of my sociology courses at GSU, then you'll likely not be surprised when you hear that my dream was to be a television weather forecaster and a stage performer-preferably in a dramatic comedy. For me, all I needed was an audience and a topic, and I would be prepared to put on a show. However, my life trajectory changed when I took an Introduction to Sociology course in my sophomore year as a "requirement."
What excites me most about sociology it is that it never stops enticing me with its questions, surprising me with its results, and provoking me to find solutions to some of the world's most complex problems like:
How do lesbian and gay social movements strategically use "straight identities" to achieve political goals?
Why do some social movement participants see themselves as "activists" and others do not?
How do tobacco corporations study and interpret what it means to be a man, and use that masculine identity to sell cigarettes so that to quit smoking means to "quit himself?"
As I researched the last question above, I met the former Surgeon General Dr. Rich Carmona (2002 - 2006). As a token of appreciation, he signed the Surgeon General's Warning on a box of Marlboro cigarettes that I collected for the research project. This serves as a reminder for me-a smoker of 10 years-why I quit. It is in my office, so come in and take a look.
Are you wondering if I ever regret not having an audience and putting on a show? No. That's because being a professor at Governors State University provides me the audience and the discipline gives me the never-ending topics for me to put on a show. The only difference is that unlike my earlier dream, as a Sociology professor at Governors State University, I get to be an audience member to your emphatic performances when you show how sociology answers YOUR burning questions. Take that, TV weather forecaster!
Cortese, Daniel K. (2006). Are We Thinking Straight: The Politics of Straightness in a Lesbian and Gay Social Movement Organizatio. New York: Routledge.
Cortese, Daniel K. and Pamela M. Ling. (2011). Enticing the New Lad: Masculinity as a Product of Consumption in Tobacco Industry-Developed Lifestyle Magazines. Men & Masculinities, 14(1), 4-30.
Cortese, Daniel K.; M. Jane Lewis; and Pamela M. Ling. (2009). Tobacco Industry Lifestyle Magazines Targeted to Young Adults. Journal of Adolescent Health, 45(3), 268 - 80.
Landman, Anne; Daniel K. Cortese; Stanton A. Glantz. (2008). Tobacco Industry Sociological Programs to Influence Public Beliefs about Smoking. Social Science and Medicine, 66(4), 970-81.
Grants and Awards
University Research Grant, "Pilot Study on Anti-Circumcision Movement," AY 2010 - 11 $3,000.00.
Fisk Mini-Grant in Teaching Technology, Intuos Wireless Pen Graphics Tablet, AY 2010 - 11, $300
2013 "I'm a "Good" Activist, You're a "Bad" Activist, and Everything I Do Is Activism: How Activists Describe Their Activism and (Re)Construct Meaning to an "Activist" Identity," formal paper session at Midwestern Sociological Society Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL.
2013 "Kooky Extremists? Passionate Effectors of Change? Or...?: Parsing the Dimensionality of 'Activist' Identity Politics in Social Movements," formal paper session at Pacific Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Reno, NV.
2011 "Restoring What Was Lost: Preliminary Findings of Pilot Study," Work-in-Progress session at Collective Behavior/Social Movement Bi-Annual Preconference to the American Sociological Association, Las Vegas, NV.
2011 "Enticing the New Lad: Linking Masculinity, Bodies, and Tobacco Brands in the Tobacco Industry Lifestyle Magazines," Gender Matters Conference, Governors State University, April 8.
2009 "Young Adult 'New Lad' Masculinity as a Product of Consumption," regular session at American Sociological Association, San Francisco, CA. (Co-authored with Pamela M. Ling, University of California - San Francisco)
2007 "Conquering Young Adult Consumers: A Documents and Content Analysis of Tobacco Industry produced Controlled Circulation Magazines," regular session at the American Public Health Association, Washington, DC. (Co-authored with M. Jane Lewis, University of Medicine and Dentistry, New Jersey & Pamela M. Ling, UC San Francisco)
2007 "Fired Up!: A Semiotic Analysis of Gender in Tobacco Industry Produced Controlled Circulation Magazines," poster at the American Public Health Association, Washington, DC. (Co-authored with Pamela M. Ling, University of California - San Francisco)
2007 "Marlboro's Medium: Using Gender, Psychographics, and Lifestyle Magazines to Develop a Brand," poster at the American Sociological Association, New York City, New York. (Co-authored with Pamela M. Ling, University of California - San Francisco)
2006 "No Joking About the 'S' in SAGA: Deploying a Straight Identity for Political Gain by and LGBT Organization" at the American Sociological Association, Montréal, Québec.
2004 "Straightening Out?: 'Straightness' as Identity Strategy in an LGBT Social Movement Organization," regular sessions at the Scientific Study of Social Problems Conference in San Francisco, California.
2004 "'God is on our Side': Religion, Morality, and Organizational Culture of an LGBT Movement Organization," regular session at the Pacific Sociological Association, San Francisco, California.