Lynn Chin, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Sociology, Washington and Lee University

Public Lecture Title: "Belonging in the Bubble: How to Transverse the Indifferences that Divide Us: 
Reflections on what caring as a community means at W&L"
Thursday, March 2, 2023, 5:00pm: Stackhouse Theater
If you can't attend, watch the livestream/recording at

“What does it mean to care about others in a community? A sense of belonging is frequently rooted in our day-to-day relationships, but even in a small community like W&L, it can feel like we all exist in “bubbles within a bubble”, each with their own concerns. Does feeling comfortable in our own bubbles encourage apathy and indifference to the issues that exist outside our own spheres? Let’s explore the social factors that inhibit, but also incentivize us to step beyond ourselves as we construct a shared community together.”

Lynny Gencianeo Chin is a sociologist whose main area of study is small group processes. She is interested in the structural factors that encourage people’s attachment to groups. For instance, does the way people divide labor affect their feelings about their group? A recent project examines whether people hold stereotypes, or schemas, about the structure of status hierarchies, such that we expect them to encourage smooth intragroup coordination. Professor Chin also studies students’ understandings of what it means to fit in and belong at college. She is particularly interested in how understandings of “fit”, in both the social and academic spheres, differ across race and type of institution.

During W&L’s 2023 spring term, Professor Chin will teach her signature “Belonging in College”, where students will explore the questions of 1) what does it mean to “belong” in college and 2) how academic institutional structures shape inequalities in who gets to “fit in” and who “belongs”. The course aims to build a set of orienting tools that allow students to critically think about what schools have done to improve inclusion on campus and to reflect on how that itself changed the landscape of belonging in national discourse. If we believe that college is more than just about obtaining a degree to find a job, but is also about providing space for all, especially students, to explore and mature, then understanding the different types of struggles people have in feeling like they “belong” is of utmost importance for developing of successful inclusion interventions on campus.

Professor Chin earned a B.A. from Cornell University and a Ph.D. from the Sociology Department at Stanford University.