every talk is a job talk, especially ones called a job talk

People often say that every talk is a job talk. I think this is a reasonable approach. And to be clear, “job talk” refers to more than the presentation itself. It’s about the time spent at the host institution overall. You want to make a good impression when you go and visit a school. Making a good impression includes showing at least some level of interest in the department where you are giving a talk. I guess one could argue that in some cases a person can afford to be smug (e.g., seniority, fame, etc.), but personally, I see little reason for such behavior. Continue reading “every talk is a job talk, especially ones called a job talk”

black vs african american

This may be the wrong network for this question, but here’s a try. In general, the terms “Black” and “African American” are considered non-derogatory among people in that group, with some preferring one and others the other and many people using them interchangeably. By contrast, many White young people are being taught that “African American” is the only acceptable term, and that “Black” is insulting. I am getting feedback from my students — few of whom are Black, some of whom have gone to integrated schools — that there are places where young AfAm/Black people take offense at the term Black, and other places where young AfAm/Black people laugh off or dislike African American and strongly prefer Black. So I’m pretty sure this is varying. My question is, does anybody know the parameters of how it is varying? What geographic areas or types of places go one way or the other? My hypothesis is that the only places where African American is preferred and Black is seen as derogatory is in White-dominated schools where the Black/AfAm kids are picking up what White kids are taught. But that could be wrong. Continue reading “black vs african american”

how often does this happen to you?

You pick up a journal. You look through it. You know that what’s in there is “sociology”. But then you think to yourself, “I don’t recognize this stuff as what I do. It seems like an entirely different discipline; one I’m not remotely interested in!” It happens to me more often than I should probably admit. More of an indictment of me than of our discipline. And the experience becomes more jarring when I think of Science and Nature – the breadth of disciplinary bounds that those journals cover, yet still make attempts at being somewhat coherent.

canadian women more feminist than american?

That is what this essay by journalist Michael Valpy on the decline of religious identity and attendance in Canada implies. The article goes through several explanations of why Canadians have become sharply less religious since the 1960s. Rejecting other explanations, such as the postmodern condition and declines in voluntary participation in general, the article focuses in on the oppression of women by numerous religious institutions.

Basically, Valpy claims that Canadian women refuse to tolerate their church-assigned role as asexual, submissive supporters of their husbands and families. Continue reading “canadian women more feminist than american?”

way to perpetuate stereotypes

From a video by the Stanford Environmental Health and Safety group (actual video not available without an ID):

“So clean your toaster, or get your mom to come here and live with you.”

And no, it’s not just on some obscure video one can only view with a campus ID , it also got blasted to tens of thousands of people via the university’s monthly email newsletter as the featured “heard on campus” quote of the month.

’twas the night before Tax Day… or is that Happy Helicopter Day?

A correspondent asks:

I’m searching for economic advice. If I were to create a national holiday meant to coincide with the stimulus package being planned in Washington, when would be a good time to have the holiday?

It’s not so much an economic question, and I dunno. Perhaps, like “Love Day” from The Simpsons [*], it should fill in the gap between established spending opportunities. In one of many cases of life imitating The Simpsons, many of those gaps have been filled — as Easter, for one thing, is being marketed increasingly as Christmas II rather than Chocolate Bunny Time. Otherwise, I don’t think windfall opportunities for the Mobility are consistently timed enough to locate the day that’s the statistical middle of them.

Any thoughts?

Added: Ben Bernanke’s birthday is in mid-December, but Alan Greenspan’s (March 6) is sitting there right in the late-winter doldrums.

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[*] Not to be confused with “Love Day” (2004) from Blue’s Clues [**], though I’ve wondered whether that’s a deliberate wink at parents trapped in front of the Tube with their toddlers.

[**] And I never thought I’d say it, but Dora the Explorer makes Blue’s Clues look like Twin Peaks.