sex as a social construct

What do people, including bioscientists, mean when we say “sex is a social construct?” That’s weird, right? Sex is about biology, isn’t it? Sometimes people hear “social construct” and think “random thing totally unrelated to anything else that we can just change willy-nilly.” That’s the “Blank Slate” position, and it’s a strawman. It is not what people actually mean when we say “sex is socially constructed.” We mean something way cooler and more legitimate.

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sase mini-conference on economic racism & racial capitalism (deadline 1/25/22!)

I’m very excited to be co-organizing a mini-conference at the upcoming meetings of the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE) on the theme of “Economic Racism, Ethnic Chauvinism, Racial Capitalism: Foregrounding Race, Ethnicity and Immigration in a Fractious Economy.” The full call is below. Submissions are due January 25th and the mini-conference will take place as part of the larger SASE meetings in Amsterdam July 9-11. To submit, send an 500-or-less word abstract through the SASE system here (requires creating an account and logging in). If you have any questions, leave a comment or shoot me a message!

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what is a field?

The following is a guest post by Joe Karaganis.

Thanks to  Jeff Lockhart for inviting this post.  Over the past couple years, he and I have discussed, on and off, the technical and ethical issues surrounding the development of statistical accounts of gender balance in the curriculum of different fields — potentially using data from Open Syllabus, which I direct.

I don’t want to focus on that here, however.  I’ll defer to Jeff’s excellent discussion of the issue from last summer and simply note a couple of our hand-coded forays into the topic with respect to business school assignments and assigned movies.  (In both cases, the percentage of assigned titles attributable to women is around 10%.)  Instead, I’d like to explore a question that has motivated Open Syllabus since its early days: What is a field?  I’m aware of the sociological history surrounding this question but will stick, mostly, to our brutally simple version of it, which for me begins with a story.

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defending democracy: institutions and principles

In the leadup to the anniversary of last year’s January 6 insurrection, a couple of Tweets combine into some interesting questions about the relationship between support for democracy in theory; support for extant institutions of “democratic” governance; and frank policy failures. How should scholars support democracy and to what extent?

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