ask a scatterbrain: letters

I’ve received a bunch of questions on writing letters of recommendation for students. I think the answers will be helpful both for students and for faculty. And I hope both will weigh in, as these are questions about both how faculty should handle letters and what students can expect from faculty. There are a lot of questions here, but I think they’re best addressed in one big post. The issue basically boils down to: how do you write letters for students who are on the job market together and who are applying for the same jobs in roughly the same area? Continue reading “ask a scatterbrain: letters”

ask a scatterbrain (jr. faculty edition): talking theory

In a comment on the job talk thread, I confessed that I struggle to communicate with students what exactly I am looking for when I want them to make explicit their theoretical contribution. My struggle usually comes when students have an interesting case that they want to study and perhaps a field site tied to that. They get tied up in the case itself, rather than using that case to answer larger questions that might contribute something to some subfield of sociology.  Continue reading “ask a scatterbrain (jr. faculty edition): talking theory”

the soft bigotry of low expectations

Via the New Republic blogs, a NYC firefighter who escorted Sarah Palin around 9/11 memorial said:

“She seems to be up to date [with] current events and everything that happened on 9/11. She’s been given enough information. I’m sure she knows as much as the common American.”

One of the procedures for selecting the President proposed at the original Constitutional convention was, after all, to do so randomly.

pink in october

Hey scatterbrains:  This October our College goes on a big fundraising drive for cancer services.  This year I’m trying to rev up the fun and energy around the drive by wearing pink to work every work day during October.  And I’ve established a little blog to explain what I’m doing, post pictures of what I wear, and of course, solicit pledges.  Check it out here: