Monthly Archives: February 2010

blame the sociologist

Slate headline: Why social network analysis hasn’t led us to Osama Bin Laden

do the scatterplot!

Via LBN, a Tufts prospective includes some statistically-themed dances as a video supplement to her application.

title etiquette

I’m feeling awkward about names & titles today and thought I’d see what the scatterbrains think. In my department we train grad students to call us by first names, a custom I am very comfortable with, and I am part of a cultural group* in which children call adults by first names (although, of course, […]

ask a scatterbrain: externals for tenure

External tenure letters are a vitally important part of the tenure process and therefore a source of anxiety for the applying faculty member. Many institutions give the applicant for tenure some role in constructing the list of people who are asked to write letters. If you are in a position to construct a list of […]


I’m impressed by the strategy of a blog called White Readers Meet Black Authors by Carleen Brice. The idea of the blog is given by its title, to encourage White readers to explore books (mostly fiction) written by Black writers, with an emphasis on what are sometimes called “mid list” writers, not the folks on […]

the twenty page limit

In the comments to this post, somebody writes the following about the American Sociological Associations 20-page limit for conference papers: Why have a page limit at all? … That would spare us the annual routine of stretching margins, squishing tables to the point of illegibility, and cutting huge chunks out of the reference section (a […]

saskatoon is for lovers

Everybody knows that Saskatoon, Saskatchewan produces the dreamiest hipster dj goalies, but the most romantic city in Canada? I can’t believe it’s not Hamilton.

speaking of conference locations…

Consider this paragraph from a recent issue of the American Sociological Association’s newsletter: [T]he Executive Office was directed to investigate western cities other than San Francisco for 2012 and 2016… At its meeting in February 2009, ASA Council reviewed site reports on Denver, Portland, San Diego, Seattle, and Vancouver. Denver was designated for 2012, and […]

the strong program in the sociology of religion

The Immanent Frame has an interesting working paper by David Smilde and Matthew May on the state of the subfield of the sociology of religion. Highlights, quickly, are that there’s a lot of work on the sociology of religion; that most of it focuses on the US and on Christianity, and in particular on Protestants; […]

school is canceled!?!

I just received an email from Columbia telling me that school is canceled because of snow.* But only after 3. I teach in 10 minutes. Do I hold class for 50 minutes? I decided to “cancel” class — telling students they didn’t have to come (really) — but also teach it (as I’m here anyway, […]

ask a scatterbrain: fluff in recommendation letters

This one comes from a friend involved in the admissions process: What to do about recommendation letters? What is the ratio of useful to fluff and distraction? How much is actual information versus hidden codes and coy signals? Today’s example is two letters from one senior professor, writing for two different students from the same […]

how to do a great newscast

…a wonderful video, lifted from YouTube:

choo! choo!

The trainwreck is a-comin’. I got my first e-mail yesterday about how you can get hotel rooms very near the American Sociological Association conference hotels for at least $70/night cheaper than the conference price. Just to remind everyone, ASA’s underselling of its conference hotel agreement back in 2003–along with its decision not to pay a […]

ask a scatterbrain: visit days

This question is particularly aimed at grad students: what kinds of things would you have liked to learn about grad programs before enrolling? I’m curious what kind of things are helpful at visit days. Obviously on our end it is a recruitment effort. But it is also important to match well with students. So, what’s […]

book proposal

I’ve been learning a lot about the book biz lately from avenues which I might write about some other time. But I’ve had an idea for how  academic publishers might improve revenues and increase the use of books in courses with e-book or print-on-demand abridged versions. Many of us assign parts of books to our […]


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 223 other followers