In this post, I’m going to tell you about my solution to the laptops-in-lecture problem, and how it played out in a recent large (~100 person) lecture course. Tl;dr: don’t ban laptops outright, instead create a zone in the classroom where students are allowed to use laptops for note-taking only.
“Racism as we understand it now, as a socio-political order based on the permanent hierarchy of particular groups, developed as an attempt to resolve the fundamental contradiction between professing liberty and upholding slavery.” Jamelle Bouie looks at the Enlightenment and race.
I am delighted to announce the continuation of a now venerable tradition: the ASA blogger party! This year, we’ve decided to update the name to reflect the Death of Blogs and the shifting of sociological conversations to a wider range of social media (read: Twitter). Whatever our technological affordances, we still enjoy a good pint! 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.”
In early May, SASE published a set of “think notes” from a recent conference on neoliberalism organized by MaxPo. There are fantastic contributions by a range of scholars, from Stephanie Mudge discussing the problem of progressive parties and progressive experts in the neoliberal era to Donald MacKenzie’s recognition of the “mundane political economy of finance” through the LIBOR scandal. The bit that most caught my eye came from Marion Fourcade’s reflections on Schumpeter and Bourdieu, and the “twofold truths” of labor, capital, and the social sciences. In her conclusion, Fourcade argues that social scientists have to grapple with the fact that capital itself sets many of the terms under which social science research is conducted, that “we are never fully outside of the orbit of capital.” In the current moment, Fourcade argues, this twofold truth takes on new forms:
But the current period is remarkable in another way, in that it is capital that increasingly concentrates the means of intellectual production by way of the big-data economy. It is capital that calls the shots on the shape of data collection, on the use of data, on what is and what isn’t to be known. And it is often capital, too, that shares in or reaps the symbolic rewards, from Microsoft Research to Apple University to Intel Labs. For those of us who cooperate – and the numbers grow every year – the benefits are handsome. That next grant from Google, that PNAS paper, that TED talk may be ours. For the others the threat is one of obsolescence and exclusion from the real intellectual action. So social scientists face their own badfaith problems, too: our historical position as social critics sits quite uncomfortably with our involvement in an academic game whose corporate-controlled institutions we depend upon.
Check out the whole essay, and the whole collection of “think notes”, here.