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UB military sociologist receives prestigious career achievement award

Brenda Moore in the library stacks.

UB faculty member Brenda Moore has been recognized for her scholarly achievements in the field of military sociology. Photo: Douglas Levere


Published September 26, 2023

“The military has been and will continue to be a fertile source of data to address broad sociological theories and problems, and will continue to contribute to research on a myriad of social inquires. ”
Brenda Moore, associate professor
Department of Sociology

Brenda L. Moore, associate professor of sociology, College of Arts and Sciences, has received the 2023 Morris Janowitz Career Achievement Award.

The award, presented biannually by the Inter-University Seminar on Armed Forces and Society (IUS), recognizes senior scholars whose careers have demonstrated excellence in the field of military sociology, a discipline the award’s namesake pioneered.

“It’s an honor to be recognized in this way by the military scholars from all over the world who compose the IUS,” says Moore, who serves as secretary of the IUS board of directors. “Over the years, some leading figures in military sociology have been among the recipients of this honor.

“I am truly humbled to have been chosen.”

In naming Moore as this year’s Janowitz award recipient, the IUS cited her outstanding contributions to military sociology, her service to the organization’s journal and its community of scholars, and her public service addressing issues important to military personnel and veterans.

Moore, author of the foundational book “To Serve My Country, To Serve My Race,” the first comprehensive study of the only all-Black female unit to serve during World War II, will also be presenting a talk on her current research paper, “Racial Differences among Military Women: During and After the Cold War,” when she receives the award at the IUS meeting in Reston, Va., on Oct. 13.

Military sociology, a sub-discipline of sociology’s broad scientific study of human society, draws from history, psychology, political science and economics to focus on patterns of social relationships and social interactions in the military, the health of active-duty service members and veterans, military families, social change within military organizations, and more.

Moore says military sociology arose as an academic discipline and research area following the technological leaps that occurred during World War II, including the arrival of combat jet aircraft, advances in ballistic missile technology and the advent of atomic weapons.

Scholars like political scientist Harold Lasswell recognized around this time that the modern military officer had become an expert in the technical skills that could dominate society. Later, the concept of a power elite surfaced in the sociological literature when Columbia University sociologist C. Wright Mills argued that the military, the federal government and corporate hierarchies could control the country.

It was Moore’s interest in social mobility and status attainment that led to the military focus of her research. Her first project examined the effects of military service on post-service status attainment.

Moore’s career also overlaps with creation of the first new military branch to be introduced in the U.S. since the creation of the Air Force in 1947. The U.S. Space Force, now comprised of 4,200 enlisted personnel and 4,300 officers charged with protecting and defending the massive U.S. satellite fleet, was organized as part of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act.

“The military has been and will continue to be a fertile source of data to address broad sociological theories and problems, and will continue to contribute to research on a myriad of social inquires,” says Moore.