Gina Petonito

Visiting Assistant Professor

205 Johnston Hall


  • Ph.D. Sociology Syracuse University (1992)
  • M.A. Sociology Syracuse University (1983)
  • M.A. Gerontology University of New Haven (1980)
  • B.A. Sociology University of New Haven (1977)

Recent Courses Taught

  • ASO 201 Introduction to Applied Social Research
  • SOC 151 Social Relations SOC 202 Social Deviance
  • SOC 203 Sociology of Gender
  • SOC 348 Race and Ethnic Relations
  • SOC 363 Sociology of Families

Research Interests

I am completing a series of research projects, critiquing the use of gerontechnologies, specifically those that embody surveillance practices, to help people with dementia age in place. I started working on a new project, for which I won an internal grant, to explore the rise and “redevelopment” of the Wooster Square community in New Haven, Connecticut. Applying an institutional ethnography perspective to the project, I ask the question, how did people in the redevelopment agency consider a vibrant community something that needed to be remade. I also employ a constructionist approach to explore the ways claims-makers construct enemies in conflicts that span several US historical periods. This project is ongoing and I present papers at national and international conferences regularly on various aspects of this topic.

Selected Publications

Gina Petonito and Glenn W. Muschert, (forth.). “Silver Alert: Societal Aging, Dementia and Framing a Social Problem,” in Critical Gerontology Comes of Age, edited by Christopher Wellin, Routledge, Taylor and Francis.

Gina Petonito and Glenn W. Muschert, 2015. “Silver Alert Programs: An Exploration of Community Sentiment Regarding a Policy Solution to Address the Problem of Critical Wandering in an Aging Population,” in Handbook of Community Sentiment, edited by M. K. Miller, J. A. Blumenthal and J. Chamberlain, Springer, Chapter 18, pp. 253-266.

Gina Petonito, Glenn W. Muschert, Dawn C. Carr, Jennifer Kinney, Emily J. Robbins, and J. Scott Brown, 2013. “Programs to Locate Missing and Critically Wandering Elders: A Critical Review and a Call for Multiphasic Evaluation,” The Gerontologist, 53: 17-25.

Dawn Carr, Glenn W. Muschert, Jennifer Kinney, Emily Robbins, Gina Petonito, Lydia Manning and J. Scott Brown, 2010. “Silver Alerts and the Problem of Missing Adults with Dementia,” The Gerontologist, 50: 149-157.

Gina Petonito. 2008. “Nourishing Our Roots: Voices From AHS’s First Five Years,” Humanity & Society, 32: 104-128.

Gina Petonito. 2000. “Racial Discourse and Enemy Construction: Justifying the Internment 'Solution' to the 'Japanese Problem' During World War II,” in Social Conflict and Collective Identity P. G. Coy, and L. M. Woehrle, eds., Rowman and Littlefield pp. 20-40.

Professional Service (Selected)

  • Appointed Member, Publications Committee Midwest Sociological Society, (2014-2017)
  • President Elect, President, Past President, Midwest Sociologists for Women in Society (2013-15)
  • Chair, Membership and Outreach Committee, Society for the Study of Social Problems (2012-13)
  • President Elect, President, Past President, Association for Humanist Sociology (2005-08)