Trigger Warnings and Teaching Sociology

Several years ago, then-UD graduate student Andrea Kelley (now PhD!) and I gave an informative talk on trigger warnings when teaching sensitive topics in sociology. It came about because I once suggested to them, and was glad that they responded the way they did (“not a good idea!”), that I could “accidentally” eat a Snickers bar into the microphone before class started to begin a discussion of misophonia.

Thinking about trigger warnings has changed some since them, and new research is detailing the complexity and nuance of them. Here are two interesting recent pieces that you should check out if you are considering trigger warnings in your class before certain topics:

“The Data Is In: Trigger Warnings Don’t Work” (paywall through The Chronicle of Higher Education)

“Beyond Trigger Warnings: A Survivor-Centered Approach to Teaching on Sexual Violence and Avoiding Institutional Betrayal” (from ASA’s Teaching Sociology)


Southbridge Neighborhood Plan

It has been a pleasure to work with Asakura Robinson, Healthy Communities Delaware, the South Wilmington Planning Network, the Southbridge Civic Association, residents, and others in the formation of the Southbridge Neighborhood Plan! The plan provides guidance and actionable items that deal with the health, economy, and housing of the Southbridge community, among other things, in the midst of tremendous development along the Riverfront. See the draft plan here, and return for the final version coming very soon!

“Southbridge residents call for equal investment”

Yasser Payne and I were interviewed and quoted in a News Journal article on Riverfront East development and the community of Southbridge in South Wilmington. The community of Southbridge is organizing for the development to benefit them equitably, and there is strong potential for gentrification and displacement of current Southbridge residents over time. From the article:
“’You’ve got an area that has historic higher levels of poverty, brownfields, as well as active industry and then within half a mile you have hundreds of millions of dollars being invested into upper scale types of housing…and leisure activities,’ said Victor Perez, associate professor of sociology and criminal justice at the University of Delaware.”
Article information here:
News Journal author: José Ignacio Castañeda Perez
Title: “Southbridge residents call for equal investment in $100M Riverfront East plan”
Published August 3, 2021

Sharing in the Benefits of a Green City

Important video on sharing in the benefits of a green city from the CREATE Initiative. With extraordinary changes coming to South Wilmington, DE, this policy toolkit is a reminder that development and greening for the sustainability class comes with serious potential downsides for historic communities like Southbridge. #affordablehousing #greengentrification #climategentrification

CREATE Initiative

Wilmington’s Riverfront to expand east with new $100 million, 86-acre mixed-use project: “‘The civic association has submitted letters to ask for greater transparency and engagement with the Southbridge community as we face the dual threats of flooding and gentrification, which may be exacerbated by the plans along South Market Street put forth by the RDC,’ Dixon said.”

Southbridge Plan Draws Skepticism

$100 million overhaul planned for Wilmington’s ‘other’ riverfront

South Wilmington Wetlands Park

Environmental Justice Chapter in The Delaware Naturalist

I recently published a book chapter for The Delaware Naturalist, edited by McKay Jenkins and Sue Barton at UD. The chapter, titled “Environmental Justice,” is an introduction to the field and focuses on environmental injustice issues in New Castle County, DE. It is a unique introduction of a social and environmental justice perspective to the master naturalist curriculum. I hope that it helps to serve those students, as well as the local public, to integrate a social justice lens into their work on environmental issues in the state.


Perez, Victor W. 2020. “Environmental Justice.” Pages 291-310 (Chapter 13) in The Delaware Naturalist Handbook, edited by McKay Jenkins and Susan Barton. Newark, DE: University of Delaware Press. Distributed by the University of Virginia Press.

Find it on Amazon and see a video on the overall effort in a recent UDaily article.