live-tweeting the harvard affirmative action case

Today, a US District Court ruled that Harvard’s race-conscious admissions policies passes strict scrutiny. The full ruling is here. I live-tweeted a read through of the decision here, in case you’d like a bit of rambly commentary mixing Gelman-esque critiques of statistical methodology with a smattering of critical race theory. Here are some of my takeaways:

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on exactitude in social science

…In that Empire, the Art of Machine Learning attained such Perfection that the data of a single Province occupied the entirety of a City, and the data of the Empire, the entirety of a Province. In time, those Unconscionable Datasets no longer satisfied, and the Machine Learning Faculty built a Dataset of the Empire whose size was that of the Empire, and which coincided point for point with it. The following Generations, who were not so fond of the Study of Machine Learning as their Forebears had been, saw that that vast Dataset was Useless, and not without some Pitilessness was it, that they delivered it up to the Inclemencies of Sun and Winters. In the Deserts of the West, still today, there are Tattered Ruins of that Data, inhabited by Animals and Beggars; in all the Land there is no other Relic of the Disciplines of Statistics.

—Jorge Luis Borges, Obras Completas v7, translated from the 20th century by @asociologist

imagining sociology’s theorists as contestants on a home design show

A while back, I made a joke on Facebook about panopticons and open floor plans, and a friend commented that she’d love to see a version of the television show House Swap featuring Goffman and Parsons. That gem of an idea (thanks Carolyn Chernoff) then became this Twitter post, imagining various sociological theorists as contestants on a home design competition show (I was bingeing Ellen’s Design Challenge at the time).

I ended up sharing the thread with my Intro Soc students, and I thought I’d share it here, too. It’s a clever way to help students compare key points from each theorist, and it could also work as inspiration for a creative class assignment. You could have your students apply the same concept and imagine various theorists as contestants on food competition shows or quiz shows or as popular athletes or musicians.

Here’s the setup: Imagine that some of Sociology’s theorists are contestants on a home design competition show. Each theorist has been asked to choose a chair to complete a particular room. 

chairs

Host: Welcome to Soc Theory Design Challenge! First up, we have Talcott Parsons. Tell us about your design.

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the science of gay gene science

The following is a guest post by Jeff Lockhart.

It is that time of year again: Science has a new study by Ganna et al. on the “gay gene,” and major outlets like the New York Times have picked it up. While many are just encountering this area of research for the first time, numerous genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of sexual orientation have been published since the invention of GWAS in the early 2000s. Like others in the genre, Ganna et al. uncritically cite and perpetuate research with deep theoretical, methodological, and ethical flaws, like the Wang & Kosinski “gayface” paper. But rather than frustration, I’m taking my cue from XKCD: this is an opportunity to introduce others to an exciting area of Science and Technology Studies.

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the first day of school

Wednesday was my daughter’s first day of Kindergarten. And I managed to get through the whole day without any tears. I got through Thursday’s drop-off, too, even when my daughter stopped me outside the school and said: “You don’t need to come in, Mom. I know where to go.”

As I walked back home, I scrolled through Twitter on my phone. And that’s when I first saw the articles.  On Wednesday, hundreds of immigrant workers in Forest, Mississippi had been detained, taken away without warning when Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers raided the food processing plants where they worked.

The children of those workers came home from school to empty, locked houses. They were crying and looking desperately for their parents. It was their first day of school, too.

Wednesday was my daughter’s first day of Kindergarten. And I managed to get through the whole day without any tears. I got through Thursday’s drop-off, too, even when my daughter stopped me outside the school and said: “You don’t need to come in, Mom. I know where to go.”

As I walked back home, I scrolled through Twitter on my phone. And that’s when I first saw the articles.  On Wednesday, hundreds of immigrant workers in Forest, Mississippi had been detained, taken away without warning when Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers raided the food processing plants where they worked.

The children of those workers came home from school to empty, locked houses. They were crying and looking desperately for their parents. It was their first day of school, too.

Continue reading “the first day of school”

how should we measure the racial wealth gap? relative vs. absolute gaps in the student debt forgiveness debate

The following is a guest post by Louise Seamster.

The 2020 Democratic presidential race has taken up the issue of the racial wealth gap, and several candidates have come up with proposals to address the gap with some amount of student debt forgiveness. The racial wealth gap is a way to operationalize the notion of racial justice: the wealth gap gives us something to measure and assess in search of genuine progress. But, like many assessments of racial progress, the wealth gap must be carefully conceptualized.

Continue reading “how should we measure the racial wealth gap? relative vs. absolute gaps in the student debt forgiveness debate”

asa podcast party to replace social media soiree!

For many years now, bloggers, tweeters, and other digitally-minded social sociology types have gathered at the American Sociology Association’s annual meeting. This year, scatterplot will not be organizing our own event but we are happy to announce the following event organized by the podcasting team at The Annex, and which we hope will serve as a suitable replacement.

ASA Friends of the Podcast Party!

Mark your calendars and spread the word! Friends of The Annex Sociology Podcast will be having drinks at ASA 2019 on Monday night. If you’ve interacted with us online over the past couple years, please come by and say “hi” and meet some of the great guests who have been on our show.

If you know nothing of the podcast, check us out on your favorite podcast platform: The Annex Sociology Podcast. Or visit www.sociocast.org/annex

Details:

DATE: Monday, August 12 at 7:30PM

PLACE: Peter Dillon’s at 2 East 36th Street, New York

NOTE: There are two Peter Dillon’s. Make sure you go to the East 36th Street location

Additional note: Interested in podcasting? Do you run your own podcast? Thinking of starting one? Please write joe@sociocast.orgjoe@sociocast.org!