Koziol brews up her own unique thesis topic

Photo by Sadie Rittman '16
Photo by Sadie Rittman '16
Photo by Sadie Rittman ’16

Alison Koziol ’15 comes from “the land of beer.” The sociology major’s hometown of Fort Collins, Colo. is home to 15 breweries — some of which were founded by the parents of her childhood playmates.

So when she proposed a sociology thesis on the culture of craft beer, she received resounding support from her family and friends.

Koziol’s thesis has its origins in a seminar paper she wrote for the course “Cities, Spaces and Power” on Fort Collins’ breweries and their influence on local culture. According to Koziol, most city-wide events are sponsored — and shaped by — the microbreweries, and inside the taprooms, child-friendly toys and board games create unique community spaces. Koziol additionally analyzed the relationships between breweries: whereas most industries protectively guard their unique production processes, “Master Brewers” in Fort Collins engage in a spirit of exchange and collaboration, trading secrets and creating cooperative brews.

For her thesis research, Koziol will explore the craft brewery community in Philadelphia by people-watching in taprooms and interviewing high-up individuals within the industry. She says that she hopes the connections she makes while working on her thesis might serve her well after graduation, should she choose to enter the industry — an option not outside the realm of possibility.

But even if she chooses to pursue a different career path, she plans to make the most of her 60- to 80-page thesis project.

“Your thesis is something you spend your entire year writing,” Koziol said. “At least I know if I’m really stuck I can ‘research’ and go drink a beer.”

Recommended Reading: Fermenting Revolution: How to Drink Beer and Change the World by Christopher O’Brien, Economics of Beer by Johan Swinnen, Brewed in America: A History of Brew and Ale in the United States by Stanley Baron

Favorite Philly Brews: Rogue’s Dead Guy or Hazelnut Brown Nectar; Lancaster Milk Stout; Dogfish Head

Sociology and anthropology major Mireille Guy ’15  is combining her interest in the economics of consumption and her love of vintage clothes in a thesis exploring consumer culture in secondhand shops, both in Philly and the virtual world.

In addition to her economic interest, Guy also hopes to explore the aesthetics that inform vintage wear — essentially, why consumers find it appealing to curate a distressed or well-worn stylistic sensibility.

According to Guy, thrift scholarship is relatively sparse — for that reason and others, friends and faculty have expressed interest and support for the project.

Guy’s research will involve interviewing sellers and buyers of vintage clothing and conducting ethnographic observations of thrifting-in-action. She’ll be attending Philly’s Punk Rock Flea Market in December — one of the biggest second-hand sales in the city — to examine the dynamics of clothing consumption and commercial exchange.

Informing Guy’s inquiry is her own experience on both sides of the proverbial counter. With an Etsy website modeling bargain finds, she plays both the customer and the seller in the fashion market. Her thesis work overlaps with and informs her business endeavours: in December, for example, she plans to move her web-based retail to the streets of Philly for the famous flea market — when she’s not conducting ethnographic research.

She hopes to continue her business following graduation, and believes understanding more about clothing consumption will inform her practices for the better.

Recommended Reading: Stitched Up: The Anti-Capitalist Book of Fashion by Tansy Hoskins, Fashion: A Philosophy by Lars Svendsen, Retromania: Pop Culture’s Addiction to Its Own Past by Simon Reynolds

Favorite Philly Thrift Shops: Goodwill, Philly Aids Thrift (South Street), Circle Thrift (the Fishtown location), Greene Street Consignment (for slightly more expensive finds)


  1. “Favorite Philly Brews: Rogue’s Dead Guy or Hazelnut Brown Nectar;”

    Rogue is based in Oregon, not Philly….

    – From someone from the true “Land of Beer.”

  2. Rock on! Although Boulder is the beer capitol of the world, I certainly respect foco (philly beer will hopefully get there!)

    Alison Koziol- I worked at a brewery in Boulder for a short time (support staff), if you need anything let me know!


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