ECU sociology professor honored by national associations

ECU professor Dr. Lee Maril receives an honor for his research during a national conference in Boston. (Contributed photo)

An East Carolina University sociology professor was honored by two national associations for his research on immigration.

Dr. Lee Maril was awarded for research presented in his 2011 book, “The Fence: National Security, Public Safety, and Illegal Immigration Along the U.S.-Mexico Border.”

The book received the 2012 Ray and Pat Brown Award for the best single work published in 2011, awarded by the Popular Culture/American Culture Association. Maril received the award at the organization’s national conference in Boston this month.

“I am honored to have received this award, which I hope will bring more attention to immigration policy in the United States and the variety of problems associated with our broken system of immigration policy dating back to the Immigration and Reform Act of 1986,” Maril said.

“Among these tragic problems are the hundreds of women, young children and grandparents who needlessly die every year while illegally entering our country to find honest work and/or to rejoin their families.”

The Popular Culture Association was founded in 1971 by professors and scholars Ray Browne, of Bowling Green State University; and Russell Nye, of Michigan State University. In 1979 the PCA formed a partnership with the American Culture Association, creating a joint, national conference held each year with more than 2,000 participants. In addition, there are regional associations throughout the country and international conferences in Finland and Poland.

Maril’s book was also selected as one of three finalists for the best scholarly book by the Texas Institute of Letters, a non-profit organization whose purpose is to stimulate interest in Texas letters and to recognize distinctive literary achievement. Joining Maril’s book as finalists were books published by Yale University Press and the University of Texas Press.

A native of Oklahoma, Maril received his B.A. degree from Grinnell College, his M.A. degree from Indiana University-Bloomington and his Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis. Maril taught at Oklahoma State University for 10 years. He has been at ECU for nine years, and serves as the founding director of the Center for Diversity and Inequality Research and professor of sociology in the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences.

Maril has conducted research on the Mexican border for most of his career. His previous book, “Patrolling Chaos: The United States Border Patrol in Deep South Texas,” led to his testimony before the United States Congress on three separate occasions, most recently at the immigration field hearings in Dubuque, Iowa. To date, his research has contributed to two bills in the House of Representatives and one in the Senate.

Maril is a columnist for the online, daily Homeland Security News Wire at  To read more about Maril and his research, visit For additional information, contact Maril at 252-328-6147 or