Monthly Archives: August 2009

fifteen minutes: one way research goes public

A relatively minor project I was part of in 2004, led by Monica Prasad and in collaboration with several UNC and Northwestern graduate students, has been making press waves recently. The article identifies a mode of political reasoning we labeled inferred justification. One of the co-authors, Steve Hoffman, is now at SUNY Buffalo, and the […]

do you ever wonder…

What music sounds like to other people? I do. I never wonder what the world looks like. But I wonder what they hear when they listen to things. Some ten years (yikes!) after I quit playing the violin seriously I was asked to join a working quartet. At first I played first violin. When it […]

murder by structure and latour

I’ve been making my way through Latour’s Reassembling the Social in preparation for teaching it to my graduate theory class on the advice of scatterbrains. (Note to self: consider reading books before assigning them?) Meanwhile, I’m also working through my large pile of back journals and came across Andrew Papachristos’ “Murder by Structure” in AJS […]

title watch

I got a letter from a departmental chair and instead of being signed “Chair” it was signed “DEO.” Does this mean Departmental Executive Officer? Is this common? Is this going to be the Next Big Academic Job Title Thing?

uh oh

I’ve got to be careful how I say this. A future candidate for public office left a message on my home answering machine asking me to call. When I called back the cell phone number given, Candidate could not remember who I was, said “are you a lawyer, I’ve been calling a lot of lawyers.” […]

microsoft photoshops out a Black man

I guess the black man wouldn’t fly in Poland. Oddly, both heads seem abnormally large. And the photoshop job isn’t great. You’d think someone at Microsoft would have better skills. Or maybe you wouldn’t.

spring comes twice to chapel hill

Classes started today. I’m teaching theory and theory – to be specific, graduate theory and undergraduate theory. It’s all very exciting – the sense of new beginnings, interesting new works to teach, and fresh young faces around. Chapel Hill is very beautiful in spring and fall, and there’s a spring-like feel to the arrival of […]

maybe if i added an emoticon?

In a journal review, what’s a polite way of saying, “This article sacrifices theoretical and empirical clarity in favor of quantitative bling that is of dubious correctness and marginal value”?

kicked out!

I was happily writing this AM, only to receive a knock on my door that I was to vacate my office immediately! No, I didn’t get fired. So wipe that gleeful smile off your face, haters! Sociology is moving! I never thought this would happen. The promised moved kept getting put off and put off, […]

gender and athletes

I find this story fascinating. It’s about a gender test being demanded of an athlete, South Africa’s Caster Semenya, who is competing at the world games. The world track and field federation calls this test, “extremely complex, difficult,” involving a gynecologist, endocrinologist, psychologist, an internal medicine specialist and an expert on gender. I’m curious what […]

i am, apparently, ahead of my time

Some of you who share my fondness for all things zombie may be excited to know that your interests are no longer- technically speaking- purely a hobby. Instead, it’s now possible to regard the study of zombies as an intellectual contribution. Am I kidding? Not at all, because I recently became aware of a new […]

choose a! choose a!

From “I could have retired at 35 with a lifetime income,” he says. “Or I could build an elevator to space.”

back at it

Probably this is very stupid, but I’ve been at it for 10 days or so now, so I might as well go public: I’m Blue Monstering again…

self evidence

I saw the famous quote from Schopenhauer on a mug: All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. Then I come home and see this as the first sentence of an article on Slate: The National Enquirer is reporting what everyone […]

the sociologists stage a raffle

I’m an officer in the medical sociology section of ASA, which means I went to the conference session devoted to their business meeting. A tradition of this session is the book raffle. You pay $5 and are entered in a drawing where a series of winners get to select 3 books from those obtained from […]


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