Cathy Rakowski

Professor Cathy Rakowski (Rural Sociology)

Cathy Rakowski

Professor Emerita, Department of Rural Sociology

Dr. Cathy Rakowski is an Associate Professor in the Department of Rural Sociology.


Focuses on processes of development and social change: planning, social engineering, program implementation and evaluation, social impact assessment, community development under conditions of economic and political restructuring, gender and class issues, globalization, and grassroots and transnational organizing. Research focuses on Latin America, particularly Venezuela, India and Africa. Research has been supported by numerous grants, including from the National Science Foundation, Howard Heinz Endowment, Fulbright Scholar Program, Rockefeller Foundation, and diverse research foundations and corporations in Venezuela.

Research projects include:

  • a longitudinal study of social change in a forestry region (1989-present)
  • gender discourse and symbolism in the construction of a municipal government and urban social policy (1990-2000)
  • women’s rights organizing and gendered populism in Venezuela
  • program evaluations and social impact assessments in Venezuela in a region of commercial forestry, oil, and industrial expansion (2 states)
  • evaluation of a night school program for impoverished working rural children in India (8 states)
  • collaborative research with Choices battered women’s center on domestic violence in Columbus, Ohio


  • RURLSOC 378 Social Groups in Developing Societies (GEC, international focus)
  • RURLSOC 888 Social Action in Community Development (primarily domestic)
  • RURLSOC 892 Development and Social Change (international focus)


  • Member of team working with colleagues in Rural Development program at the Colegio de Posgraduados in Mexico to develop post graduate training program for persons interested in working in the field of microfinance in rural Mexico and research on the impacts of microfinance. A collaboration between CFAES at Ohio State and the Colegio funded by USAID.
  • Collaborative research with Choices, battered women’s center, in Columbus. Analysis of risk and program outcomes for Choices’ clients; with Theresa Early, Social Work, and Linda Bernhard, Nursing and Women’s Studies at Ohio State. 2008-present.


  • Christopher Owens: “Lands of Opportunity vs. Lands of Safety: A Comparison of the Migration and Settlement Experiences of Refugees and Voluntary Immigrants”
  • Christina Holmes: “Deterritorializing Ecofeminism: Interventions from Chicana Cultural Production and Direct Action Ecological Coalitions”
  • Coumba Mar Gadio: “Women’s Changing Roles, Issues, and Decision-making: The Case of Lebou-Woloff Women Farmers in Thieudeme, Senegal”
  • Luis Noel Alfaro Gramejo: “Sustainability and Outreach of Developing Financial Institutions for Micro and Small Businesses”