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the insider’s guide to the upcoming democratic primary debate

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dog walk

The upcoming Democratic debate features a wide range of candidates from former VP Joe Biden to progressive challenger Elizabeth Warren to antiwar gadfly Tulsi Gabbard. How should you watch this debate? How can the voter get the most out this two-day twenty candidate gabfest?

Experts recommend the following. Begin by standing up and stretching.  Then, go to the closet and grab a light jacket or coat. If it’s raining outside, get an umbrella. Have your friends and family members do the same.  As the first debate question is asked, turn off the television and open the door. Walk through that door. If you have a dog, take them with you. Turn around and close the door.

Go to the park and feed the pigeons or play catch with your child. Call your mom and get her go out for a walk. As these debates tend to be two hours or more of platitudes, which have little impact on voters, you may be out for a while. If you get tired or hungry, invite a friend for coffee or dinner and have a good conversation. When you see your neighbors asleep on the couch, you know it will be safe to go home and watch television again.

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Intro to sociology for just $1 per chapter – INSANE BARGAIN!!!!!
A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!!

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Written by fabiorojas

June 18, 2019 at 12:12 am

Posted in uncategorized

promoting black women in sociology: comments on a blog post by adia wingfield

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Adia Wingfield, professor of sociology at Washington University, St. Louis, wrote an interesting post at the Gender & Society blog about the under-representation of black women in sociology. Here is Professor Wingfield:

Where are black women sociologists today? The ASA reports that between 2007-2010, only 6% of doctorates awarded in sociology went to African Americans. In 2016,  according to the Survey of Earned Doctorates, only 31 black women received theirs in sociology. A look at the representation of black women in tenure track and tenured academic positions reveals an ongoing trend of underrepresentation. Only 2% of full professors, 2% of associates, and 4% of assistant professors are black women.

And:

The kinds of challenges that are omnipresent for black women workers in predominantly white environments are present for them too—marginalization, micro (or macro) aggressions, difficulties finding mentors and sponsors who can facilitate their career advancement. As academics, black women professors also must confront colleagues’ tendencies to denigrate or dismiss their research (this is particularly present in the inclination to label work that focuses on race and/or gender as “me”search). There are also the heavy service burdens that come with being underrepresented, ranging from mentoring students of color to helping universities resolve their issues with diversity and inclusion.

I do not dispute the diagnosis of the problem, nor the facts that Professor Wingfield cites. I do disagree with the focus. Yes, it is true that women and people of color do encounter double standards, hostility, and burdensome service, but I don’t really see that as a core factor driving under-representation in the academy. Why? By the time you are on the tenure track, you will probably get tenured, even if some, or many, people are fighting you. The issue is getting people in the right place to start with.

I would focus on a different process: the interaction of the tenured faculty at the top 20 or 30 programs with the cohort of women and students of color. Why? Sociology, and most academic fields, are heavily slanted toward elites. Most jobs go to people in a relatively small group of PhD programs and the big awards go to people who publish in the “right” presses and went to the “right programs.”

But enrollment in elite programs is not enough because there are fewer jobs than applicants. This is where mentoring comes into play. What you will discover is that people get jobs via publication, often as co-authors with faculty, or the article benefited from tons of mentoring. In my informal count, about 2/3 to 3/4 of junior faculty at research intensive programs have a co-authored publication with faculty. And many of these publications are effectively “dude canoes,” to use one of Omar Lizardo’s terms.

So I worry less about micro-aggression and service burdens, even though they are real. Instead, I would have a frank discussion about how we can get the core research intensive faculty in the big doctoral programs to be more inclusive on their research teams. Until that happens, there will still be vast under-representation.

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50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
Intro to sociology for just $1 per chapter – INSANE BARGAIN!!!!!
A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!!

Written by fabiorojas

June 17, 2019 at 12:01 am

Posted in uncategorized

if you like experimental music, you will probably like daphne oram, often called the godmother of electronic experimentalism

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++++++++

BUY THESE BOOKS!!

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
Intro to sociology for just $1 per chapter – INSANE BARGAIN!!!!!
A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!!

Written by fabiorojas

June 16, 2019 at 12:05 am

Posted in uncategorized

every department chair in the country should subscribe to contexts and put it in the front office, seriously

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A few weeks ago, I threw some shade suggested that sociologists exert more effort to build platforms that would help sociology have a sustained voice in the public. People got on my case for suggesting that people do things where there is no incentive to do them.

So that raises a good question – what are some easy and low cost ways to help sociology as a whole build its brand and influence? Here is one, admittedly self-interested, suggestion:  every department chair should subscribe to the physical version of Contexts and place it prominently in the department office next to ASR, AJS, SF, SP and other  regular sociology journals.

Why? Most educated people can understand Contexts and it’s entire purpose is to take our ideas and make it easy for average people to understand. It’s low cost – $60 per year. If it becomes the “front face” of sociology, then it will encourage our best scholars to write for it. That will help the profession see that public outreach is to be cultivated and enriched.

Editor note: Post originally contained more strike through comments for humor, which were about the great tweet rage of April 2019. But it seemed to get in the way of the message. If you want it back, I’m happy to oblige in the comments.

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BUY THESE BOOKS!!

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
Intro to sociology for just $1 per chapter – INSANE BARGAIN!!!!!
A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!!

Written by fabiorojas

June 14, 2019 at 12:30 am

Posted in uncategorized

should graduate students be paid for service work? yes, at least a little bit

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On my Facebook feed, the issue of graduate student service popped up. How much service do graduate students perform? Should they be compensated? I won’t discuss what people said privately, but I’ll offer a few of my thoughts here because it’s a good question. Let’s start with some “facts on the ground:”

  1. Graduate students often appear on search committees and they also appear occasionally on some governance committees or on undergraduate issues committees. Other types of service seem to be rare.
  2. Graduate students also participate in student associations and other campus activities.
  3. Professors get compensated for service in the department. It is part of the salary.
  4. Professors may, or may not, get compensated for service in professional associations. Heavy duty service – like running a journal or being an association executive – get paid. Lower levels of service, like “mentoring officer” (which I did for CBSM once), usually do not get paid.
  5. Professors get some pay off from service (cash or prestige), but students get no direct compensation. At best, they get some insight into how departments are run.

If we take these in, we get some intuition. Already, students get paid to teach and work in labs because it is labor. It is also part of the “business” of the university. Thus, it would suggest that students might get paid for committee work. Hiring and governance are real aspects of business. How much? I think it should be modest – perhaps a few hundred bucks for each committee. At that rate, it would not displace teaching or research. And if you had a large budget for graduate student service, it’s probably a sign that you have too much student work.

I do not think that departments should pay people to serve of graduate student associations or graduate student government, unless there is a large work load and then it should be paid from dues or other income. This is because they analogous, in my view, to professional association service. It’s volunteer work, not paid, unless you are working many hours at it.

I’ll conclude with a philosophical note. I think people should get paid. Period. There is nothing wrong with wanting or needing money. Universities should not expect free labor, just was we don’t expect free labor from our doctor or the guy at the gas station. If we want students to help us grading, or reading a pile of job applications, the least we can do is give them some cold, hard cash. Volunteer work should be the exception, not the rule.

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BUY THESE BOOKS!!

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
Intro to sociology for just $1 per chapter – INSANE BARGAIN!!!!!
A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!!

Written by fabiorojas

June 12, 2019 at 12:35 am

Posted in uncategorized

party in the street: bush v. obama war policy

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Iraq_Troop_Strength.svg

From the Wiki entry on the 2007 Troop Surge in Iraq. Notice that troop level start declining in 2007, then stabilize at 40,000 and then 20,000.

When I tell people about Party in the Street, they are often puzzled. They think that the antiwar movement de-escalated because Obama pulled troops out of Iraq. They do not believe that the Obama administration actually pursued a lot of pro-war policies. In other words, people often hold the common view that Obama was clearly the anti-war president and Bush was the pro-war president.

The empirical facts that motivated Party in the Street are two: First, the collapse of the antiwar movement begins during late 2006/early 2007, the point at which troop levels in Iraq were at a high point. If activism were driven solely by facts on the ground, you’d see the Surge lead to an increase in anti-war activism until the troops left in 2009 or 2010. Second, the Obama administration pursued a lot of pro-war policies and continued many Bush era policies. Thus, you would expect some level of anti-war activism, not the complete collapse that was observed.

The position that Michael and I adopted in Party in the Street is this: First, we point out that the president often follows the “politics stops at the water’s edge” logic of foreign policy. In other words, Democratic and Republican administrations often pursue the same batch of politics and they don’t let domestic partisan interests drive foreign policy. Second, in practice, there is a lot of overlap in policy between administrations. The Bush pro-war/Obama anti-war distinction really doesn’t fit a US foreign policy were administrations routinely follow similar policies. Thus, you can’t explain the antiwar movement collapse on the radically different policies of each president.

Here’s a simply way to grasp the argument:

Obama bush table

If the common view is correct, half this picture would be empty, but it’s not. In other words, yes, Obama did have some anti-war policies, but so did Bush. Moreover, Obama actually had his own pro-war policies. The media at the time reported on numerous instances of the Obama administration seeking to expand or maintain a large US presence in Iraq, which was resisted by the Iraqi state. The bottom line is that when you want to understand the antiwar movement, you have to look at the social construction of grievance and not assume that movement behavior is purely responsive to actual policy positions or actions.
++++++++

BUY THESE BOOKS!!

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
Intro to sociology for just $1 per chapter – INSANE BARGAIN!!!!!
A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!!

Written by fabiorojas

June 10, 2019 at 5:18 pm

Posted in uncategorized

you probably need to listen to the 2 hour mixtape of arvo part’s greatest hits

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++++++++

BUY THESE BOOKS!!

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
Intro to sociology for just $1 per chapter – INSANE BARGAIN!!!!!
A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!!

Written by fabiorojas

June 9, 2019 at 12:58 am

Posted in uncategorized