Philip Cohen has a post up on his blog about how we can use ASA paper awards to push sociology towards open access, and specifically towards SocArXiv. Go read it to find out more about the initiative – and specifically, to find good sample award text that your section could easily modify and implement. The original SocArXiv announcement is here, including details on how SocArXiv will provide up to $400 towards an award winner’s travel if your section opens up the award. In addition to encouraging every section to seriously consider this proposal, I want to suggest two alternative ways that sections can promote open access if, for some reason, the SocArXiv plan is not acceptable.
Recently, Cindi May argued in Scientific American that “Students are Better Off without a Laptop in the Classroom.” As with the numerousarticles in this vein that preceded it, May’s article was picked up by many academics on social media as proof that they were right to ban laptops in their classrooms. Others have responded that students have always found ways to distract themselves, that banning laptops is infantilizing and that it’s harmful to students with disabilities, among other objections. Although these are important concerns, I want to focus here on a few frustrating trends in the research and reporting on classroom laptop use.
Last week’s news that Oklahoma-based Hobby Lobby faced civil forfeiture for illegally importing Iraqi antiquities came as no surprise to cultural property experts. The company had been under scrutiny since 2015, when news of the investigation broke. And even before the investigation, scholars, including Roberta Mazza, an ancient historian at the University of Manchester, identified inconsistencies in the provenance histories, or ownership records, of antiquities obtained for Hobby Lobby-backed Museum of the Bible. Equally unsurprising in the wake of the forfeiture announcement were the muddled claims about Hobby Lobby funding ISIS. The forfeited antiquities at the heart of the civil complaint were shipped in late 2010 and early 2011 – prior to the period when ISIS is known to have been associated with archaeological looting in Syria and Iraq. Joel Baden and Candida Moss, two theologians who have closely studied the MoB and Hobby Lobby, rejected the connection in their New York Times editorial on July 6. But the HL-ISIS meme persists, with the frustrating result that the everyday illegal practices of the global antiquities market are overshadowed by ISIS drama.
A lot has been written about Hobby Lobby’s dodgy antiquities deal, and I will defer to the legal experts for analysis of the civil complaint (check out Rick St. Hilaire’s blog). There is good reason to care about this story. The illicit removal of artifacts from archaeological sites destroys information about the objects’ context and history, can damage the artifacts, and is linked with other forms of criminal activity. This is true not just in the Middle East but all over the world. Equally worrisome is the possibility that when a big firm like Hobby Lobby spends big money on antiquities, looters are encouraged to keep digging and dealers are emboldened to sell objects that shouldn’t be on the market in the first place. Those are real problems and yet what I want to focus on here is the rest of the iceberg. Hobby Lobby’s buying power is setting ancient historical studies on a new axis.
With ASA just a month away, sociologists are setting their sites on Montreal. Apart from scrambling to finish our papers, and struggling to figure out which panels we are supposed to attend, the most important part of prepping for ASA is picking the best parties to attend! In furtherance of that last goal, we at the scatterplot party planning committee are delighted to announce the fourteenth annual blog party, the can’t miss event of the blogger social season. Details:
Come join us! As Tina put it, “All blog writers, commenters, and readers are welcome, as are folks-who-used-to-write-but-don’t-so-much-anymore-you-know-how-it-goes, lurkers, tweeters, and assorted people who simply would like to come. Please recall that well-behaved sociology faculty will generously purchase a beverage or two for a thirsty graduate student. We may be awkward, but we don’t need to be that awkward.”