Daniel Cortese, Ph.D.

  Full Professor
  708-235-2804ext. 2804
  Office Location: E2530A
  Office Hours: Wed. & Thu. 2 - 4 p.m. by WebEx appt.
  College: CAS

Sociology - Minor
Gender and Sexuality Studies - Minor
Gender and Sexuality Studies - Bachelor of Arts
Anthropology and Sociology - Bachelor of Arts



Social Psychology
Qualitative Methods



"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!"

- Daniel Cortese, Ph.D.

View Dr. Cortese's Website


Daniel K. Cortese, Ph.D. (2006) Are We Thinking Straight?: The Politics of Straightness in a Lesbian and Gay Social Movement Organization. New York: Routledge.


Daniel Cortese, Glen Szczypka, Sherry Emery, Shuai Wang, Elizabeth Hair, Donna Vallone. (2018). Smoking Selfies: Using Instagram to Explore Young Women’s Smoking Behavior. Social Media + Society, 4(3).
Jiang, Nan; Daniel K. Cortese; M. Jane Lewis; and Pamela M. Ling. (2016). Booze and Butts: A Content Analysis of the Presence of Alcohol in Tobacco Industry Lifestyle Magazines. Addictive Behaviors Reports, 3: 14 – 20.
Daniel K. Cortese. (2015). I’m a ‘Good’ Activist, You’re a ‘Bad’ Activist, and Everything I Do Is Activism: Parsing the Different Types of ‘Activist’ Identities in LGBTQ Organizing. Interface: A Journal For and About Social Movements, 7, 1: 215 – 246.
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.


2015 Research Subcontractor, “Content Analysis of Tobacco and E-Cigarette Use in Twitter and Instagram #Selfies,” $12,496.00. Collaborating Institution: Health Media Collaboratory, University of Illinois, Chicago.
2014 – 15 Undergraduate Research Program Grant, “Same As It Ever Was: Similarities Between E-Cigarette and Conventional Cigarette Advertising,” $1,000.00
2010 – 11 University Research Grant, “Pilot Study on Anti-Circumcision Movement,” $3,000.00.


2018 “Smoking Selfies: Using Instagram to Explore Young Women’s Smoking Behaviors,” refereed roundtable at the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA, August 12, Presented by: Daniel K. Cortese, Glen Szczypka and Sherry Emery.

2016 “Promoting High Quality Discussion in Distance Education Courses with Webcams and VoiceThread,” refereed formal presentation at the Southern Sociological Society in Atlanta, GA, April 13 – 17. Presented by Idee Winfield and Daniel K. Cortese.
2014 “I’ll Have A Nicotini…: How and Why the Tobacco Industry Linked Smoking with Drinking at the Turn of the Century,” formal paper session at the Pacific Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Portland, OR.
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.
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 "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.
Select Invited Lectures
2018 “Trump’s ‘Brand’ of Masculinity,” Invited Lecture at Concordia University in Masculinities (SOC/CRJ 4910), River Forest, IL, February 15.
2016 “Poverty and Health Care,” Invited Lecture at Governors State University in Integrative Physical Therapy Seminar III (PHYT 7730), University Park, IL, October 10.
2015 “Good Slut or Bad Slut: Media Representation of Female Sexuality in United States,” Invited Lecture at Governors State University in Introduction to Gender Studies (GNSX 2100), University Park, IL, October 22.
2015 “Integrating Service Learning into the Undergraduate Sociology Curriculum,” Invited Panelist at Governors State University, University Park, IL, April 15.
2013 “What's Your Career Edge?: Reflections From an Alumnus on a Summer Abroad in Italy,” Invited Lecture at Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY, May 12.
2012 “Love the Way You Lie: Understanding Crime and Victims in the Media using Social Psychology,” Guest Lecture in Victims in the Justice System (CJUS 435) course, Governors State University, June 4.
2009 “Corporate Greed: Influence of Big Pharma on Doctors’ Prescriptions,” TALE Adult Education, Governors State University, October 23.
2009 “Things that I Wish I Knew Before which I Know Now,” Teaching and Learning American Sociological Association Pre-Conference Workshop, San Francisco, California, August 7.
2008 “Butt Out Already!: How the Tobacco Industry Markets to Young Adults and the LGBT Community.” Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on LGBTQ Issues, University of California – San Francisco, April 17.
2008 “To Conquer or Keep a Consumer: How Tobacco Industry-Produced Lifestyle Magazines Targeted Young Adults.” Tobacco Policy Research Group, University of California – San Francisco, April 16.
2007 “Tough, Irreverent, and Edgy: Branding Hegemonic Masculinity for Young Adult Males in the US.” Tobacco Policy Research Group, University of California – San Francisco, May 16.
2006 “Creating a Marlboro Branded Lifestyle Magazine to Target Young Adults.” Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California – San Francisco, June 12.


2016 Excellence in Innovation Award for “Promoting High Quality Discussion with VoiceThread, Faculty Summer Institute, Governors State University.
2015 Alpha Kappa Delta International Sociology Honors Society Fellowship Award. $500.00
2014 Intellectual Life Grant, Governors State University: “Undergraduate Civic Engagement Seed Money to Launch Tobacco-Free Campus 2015.” $1,000.00
2011 Intellectual Life Grant, Governors State University: “Gender Matters Conference
Honorarium,” $500.00
1998 American Sociological Society Honors Program
1997 Distinguished Undergraduate Honors Thesis, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York
1997 Alpha Kappa Delta Sociology Honor Society, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York
1997 Golden Key National Honor Society, Stony Brook University,
Stony Brook, New York
1996 Phi Beta Kappa, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York