ask a scatterbrain (will jobs exist?)

how ‘recession-sound’ are universities?  I’m hearing rumors of hiring freezes and maybe previously open job lines being pulled in light of the economic crisis.  Since I’m on the job market this year such rumors make my blood run cold.  Is ASA going to be forwarding my “Contexts” subscription to the nearest tent city?  Can anyone tell me? See after the break for a great comic on this (also sent by the asker).

NOTE: For new readers: I present this series as if I were asking the question. I’m not. Many folks have asked, “Are you on the market?!?” or, “What is wrong with Columbia?” After one year at Columbia, I am not actively seeking a new job. I simply act as if I am asking all these questions so that others can be anonymous.

Continue reading “ask a scatterbrain (will jobs exist?)”

funny, netflix doesn’t usually ship me propaganda.

After work yesterday I stopped by my mailbox to discover mostly the usual- bills, junk mail, a magazine or two- as well as something rather unexpected. I had received- absolutely free- a copy of a movie named “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West.”* Seriously! It looks just like this:

Continue reading “funny, netflix doesn’t usually ship me propaganda.”

ask a scatterbrain (paper expecations, grad class)

When teaching a graduate seminar, what are appropriate expectations for a final paper?  I’d be very interested in how other professors explain the seminar paper assignment to their students (on the syllabus and otherwise).  Do you think the seminar paper should be treated as an opportunity for exam (prelim, comps) preparation, a first draft of an original research paper, or both/neither?

economic inequality and attitudes toward homosexuality

Attitudes toward homosexuality have been changing dramatically in recent years. Unlike many other social issues, in which people make a decision about them at one point in young adulthood and then stick with that decision for the rest of their lives, this has been an issue on which even older people have changed their minds. Earlier this summer, I mentioned an article* that a colleague, Bob Andersen (now at University of Toronto), and I had published demonstrating that, in Canada and the United States, this unusual shift in attitudes had occurred. Still, many questions remain about the mechanisms that cause shifts in attitudes, especially one so sudden.

Can it be, as we speculate in this paper, that social policy differences between Canada and the United States are responsible for the differences in timing of the attitudinal shifts in these countries? Or is it larger economic forces that push both countries in the direction of greater tolerance as they become richer? This latter question we take up in a second article, just published in the American Journal of Political Science.* Continue reading “economic inequality and attitudes toward homosexuality”

on the strange disappearance of jeremy freese, blogger

A few nights ago I opened up my RSS reader and saw a post by a friend. The next day I was talking to her and asked her about something in it. “That was a month ago,” she said. I hadn’t looked at the date on the post. More to the point, I’ve barely looked at the blogs of any friends or sociology fellow travelers over the past month. Absolutely nothing personal. My own blogging has also trailed off considerably.

I should adopt the conventional academic pose of going on about how I have been too busy for blogs. The start of the quarter has been busy, but blogging for me has borne oddly little correlation to my productivity with other things. Some of my most productive periods in the past have been my most bloggy periods, and blog lulls have sometimes been part of a more general malaise.

So what’s up now? I’ll put in a jump so as not to presuppose that you care.

Continue reading “on the strange disappearance of jeremy freese, blogger”

textpad tech support

I have not used complex regular expressions before and I’ll I’ll be darned if I can figure out textpad’s regular expressions help file.  Here’s what I want to do.  I have a codebook with entries like this:

99999  Something County

and I want to use search and replace in textpad to turn all these lines into  this:

replace countyname=”Something County” if fips==99999

Anybody know how?

social psychology conference

Glen Elder Life Course Theory
Glen Elder Life Course Theory

Tape-delayed blogging of the social psychology centennial conference held at Wisconsin Sept 26-7 including talks by Glen Elder, Shelley Correll, Mitch Duneier, Yuri Miyamoto, Terri Orbuch, and Jim House.  This conference was  honor of the first publication of books with the title Social Psychology, one of them by E.A. Ross, a founder of the  Wisconsin sociology department.  This conference is held in the room that is not named after E.A. Ross; the not-naming occurred after a two-hour debate in the early 1980s about whether the racism of Ross’s “race suicide” Social Darwinist work outweighed his support for working people and his belief that sociology should address social problems.  I arrived late, after the administrative welcomes and most of the way through John DeLamater’s summary of the history of social psychology.

Glen Elder talked about doing longitudinal life course research.  A lot of the talk was anecdote about his research career.  The point where many of us started taking notes was this graphic.  Although there were questions about what he means by “theory,” to which Elder replied that he means “orienting concepts” or “framework,” I was struck by how apt this graphic was as a representation of what I feel I’ve learned about living life. Continue reading “social psychology conference”

after action report: the biden/ifill debate

Like many of you I spent some time last night watching the debate between Joe Biden and Gwen Ifill Sarah Palin. Also like many of you, I have been seeing a variety of punditry on it this morning, most of which remarks on how Palin managed to exceed expectations while Biden still did a good job. These achievements were, respectively, nothing special and very impressive. In the case on Palin, given her performance in other settings, I think that “exceeding expectations” really just meant that she didn’t fall down. I mean, really, watch the following clip and tell me she doesn’t remind you of that kid who really likes eating paste… you know, in high school:

Continue reading “after action report: the biden/ifill debate”

eid mubarak!

Muslims are celebrating the end of Ramadan!

Eat a date. Celebrate! This Eid (meaning: party, celebration, or festivity) is what I always describe as “the Christmas Eid”. It’s more celebratory – folks having just completed Ramadan. This one is Eid ul-Fitr. The other Eid (Eid ul-Adha) is more like the Easter Eid. It’s more somber. It celebrates Abraham’s willingness to scarfice Isaac. Oh, and yes, that video is silly. You can make fun of it. I think it’s ridiculous. But hey, it’s a celebration!

what page is that on?

Today I picked up a magazine. The Table of Contents was found on page 96. Choosing the next 30 pages, 97-126, as a sample, I discovered that exactly two of them contained page numbers. Both of these page numbers were on pages containing material not covered in the table of contents (one was a continuation of an article that began before the Table of Contents, the other was the second page of the Table of Contents!). We know why page numbers are missing–so we have to see ads while we’re searching. But given all this, I do wonder why they even bother with the Table of Contents at all.