Monthly Archives: September 2010

spending endowments in a recession

A friend (at Duke, nonetheless no less) and I were talking about the fact that, in the recession, both our institutions have used their considerable endowments pretty conservatively; my undergraduate college, Swarthmore, has been similar. Essentially they treat the interest coming off the endowment as current income, preserving principal. The issue, though, is that this […]


Top 10 sociology programs in terms of quality of graduate students, using the primary measure in the NRC (average quantitative GRE score): 1. UNIVERSITY OF IOWA 2. STANFORD UNIVERSITY 3. YALE UNIVERSITY 4. PRINCETON UNIVERSITY 5. UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-BERKELEY 6. UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHAPEL HILL 7. UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN-ANN ARBOR 8. HARVARD UNIVERSITY […]

the scatterplot official* ranking of sociology graduate programs

After seeing the NRC ranking of graduate programs, my first impulse was to simply ignore it.  The process has been a mess–and now the results reflect that mess perfectly.  My second instinct was to write a post encouraging everyone else to ignore it.  Obviously, that’s not going to happen!  It’s so hard to stop myself […]

nrc rankings

The NRC rankings appear to have driven me out of blogging retirement. Here are some understandings I have about the rankings for sociology after reading material from the Chronicle and the report’s Appendix. Corrections welcome. 1. Books are not counted in the publications per faculty member figure. At all. 2. Citations to books are not […]

two major lessons from today

1. Reputational rankings: maybe not so bad after all. 2. Uncertainty: if one is going to provide multiple sets of rankings and confidence intervals as a way of gesturing toward the uncertainty in the evaluation process, one might also consider, for example, trying to model the uncertainty of how to go about counting books relative […]

new culture books?

I’ll be teaching my graduate culture seminar in spring ’11 – Any thoughts on new books (articles too, but I have to order books stat) would be most welcome! Great, analytical, interesting material in culture published in the past 2 years would be perfect.

ask a scatterbrain: when you just disagree

This, from a fellow junior faculty member at another University: I’m serving on a committee that has just been asked by upper administration to strategize how we can pursue a new aim they’ve settled on on for the university. Here’s the thing – I don’t agree with the new aim. So, developing a strategy for […]

ask a scatterbrain: what are the big questions?

This one comes from a graduate student who shall remain anonymous: When we say “the big questions” what do we mean? What are the “big questions”? I was thinking about reorienting my approach to teaching Intro by trying to make it focus on the big questions that sociology engages and how sociology has a unique […]

honoring marty peretz

I have amended this post, noting that those whose names appeared on a letter did NOT agree to have their names listed on it, please see below. Harvard is working hard to justify honoring Marty Peretz, long time editor of the New Republic. This is because Peretz was taken to task by Nicholas Kristof for […]

ask a scatterbrain: what four words best describe you

My wife is working on analyzing the results of an instrument that included “what four words best describe you?”. So for each questionnaire, there are four free-form words that the subjects (generally, adolescent patients in clinics) put down. They’re looking for a coding schema for categorizing these words–anything come to mind? Any advice?

football flyover

As has become something of a tradition, an F-16 will fly over the UNC football home opener vs. Georgia Tech on Saturday. I hate to sound so fuddy-duddy, but: Do we really need to reinforce the link between a sp0rting event and militarism; and How much does it cost, in terms both of money and […]

frontiers of polling

A commenter on TPM writes about being polled by Rasmussen and how it was “bad practice” because of question ordering and suggestive language. I’m not sure if I believe this post was actually Rasmussen, though it might have been. But in any case–the question of how to ask questions, how to poll on emotions, and […]

theory, data, totality — quote of the day

I’m indexing our upcoming translation, Group Experiment and Other Writings: The Frankfurt School on Public Opinion. Here’s a favorite for today: It is impossible to glean a social totality–on which all real individual experience depends–by increasing the quantity of data. It is also impossible to extrapolate a theory from empirical findings in a world in […]

on the other hand, at least they don’t use the term, “problematize”.

From xkcd comes another illustration straight from my sub-conscious:

canadian sociology new website

I am so excited about the Canadian Sociology Association’s new website that I want to shout it out in all caps. (Don’t worry; I’ll restrain myself.) It is a professionally designed website, with actual information on it! And with images! And a readable font! And thank goodness, once again, for the Wayback Machine, so that […]


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