Melinda J. Milligan, Ph.D.


Professor Melinda Milligan
Melinda J. Milligan, Ph.D.


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Office Hours

9:30 am-11:00 am
9:30 am-11:00 am

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Ph.D., Sociology, University of California, Davis
MA, Sociology, University of California, Davis
BA,  Political Science, University of California, Davis


Academic Interests

Sociology of the Built Environment, Historic Preservation, Community and Urban Sociology, Emotions, Organizations, Symbolic Interaction, Social Psychology, Qualitative Research Methods


Dr. Milligan is Professor of Sociology and Director of Assessment and Accreditation at Sonoma State University. She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of California, Davis. She specializes in the sociology of the built environment. Her research focuses on space/place, place attachment, nostalgia, organizational change and death, the architectural design process, classroom space, historic preservation, and the New Urbanism. She is completing a book on the social psychology of historic preservation.

Dr. Milligan is active in several professional organizations, among them the American Sociological Association’s Community and Urban Sociology Section (including past service on the City & Community Editorial Board), Pacific Sociological Association (including past service on the Sociological Perspectives Editorial Board), and the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction (including past service as Vice President).

Selected Publications & Presentations

Milligan, Melinda J. and Debora A. Paterniti. 2021. “What Do Professors Want?: Classroom Design Preferences of University Instructors.” Environmental Design Research Association 52.

Jolly, Michelle, Margaret Purser, Melinda J. Milligan, and Laura Alice Watt. 2019. “‘But Where Are the People?’ Grappling with Teaching New Approaches to Our Relationship with Place and the Past.” Human-Centered Built Environment Heritage Preservation. Jeremy C. Wells and Barry L. Stiefel (eds.). New York: Routledge. 

Milligan, Melinda J. 2007. “Buildings as History: The Place of Collective Memory in the Study of Historic Preservation.” Symbolic Interaction 30(1): 105-123.

Elliott, James R., Kevin Fox Gotham, and Melinda J. Milligan. 2004. “Framing the Urban: Struggles over HOPE VI and New Urbanism in a Historic City.” City & Community 3(4): 373-394.

Milligan, Melinda J. and April Brayfield. 2004. “Museums and Childhood: Negotiating Cultural Lessons.” Childhood: A Global Journal of Child Research 11(3): 275-301.

Milligan, Melinda J. 2003. “Displacement and Identity Discontinuity: The Role of Nostalgia in Establishing New Identity Categories.” Symbolic Interaction 26(3): 381-403. 

Milligan, Melinda J. 2003. “Loss of Site: Organizational Moves as Organizational Deaths.” International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy 23(6/7): 115-152. 

Milligan, Melinda J. 1998. “Interactional Past and Potential: The Social Construction of Place Attachment.” Symbolic Interaction 21(1):1-33.