What Books Inspire You? Pt. 4

Matthew Braswell When I think about the books that have shaped my sociological imagination, my choices are influenced almost as much by the circumstances in which I encountered the books as by the books themselves. It’s not that these books’ contents are irrelevant or unenlightening; quite the contrary. But just as sociology teaches that we shouldn’t […]

We Had a Hedge Back Home in the Suburbs

Last year I had the opportunity to hear a talk from Alexandra Murphy, a sociology Ph.D. and a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan’s National Poverty Center. Her talk was about her dissertation research on the experiences of families living in a poverty in a suburb of Pittsburgh. Her talk was fascinating not merely […]

Soccer’s Missed Opportunity

I’m a sports fan. My favorite sports are baseball, basketball, football, and ice hockey. In the United States, those are profoundly unoriginal choices. Those sports and their respective professional leagues (MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL) are commonly referred to as the “Big Four” American sports. But I must give credit where credit is due and admit […]

Wellesley, MOOCs, and Educational Inequalities – A Response to Julia (and Janet Stemwedel)

Reading Julia’s excellent post on MOOCs got me thinking about the issues that surround them generally and Janet Stemwedel’s comments in particular. I certainly agree with both of them that MOOCs aren’t going to provide the same richness of experience as actually sitting in a classroom at a place like Wellesley (not that I’ve ever sat […]

Ifs and Buts

Anyone whose examination of British poet Rudyard Kipling digs deeper than the Disney version of The Jungle Book will quickly stumble across the numerous portions of his biography that leave many contemporary critics recoiling in disgust. Chief among these is the rightfully notorious poem “The White Man’s Burden.” Other Kipling writings are only slightly less […]

Azodicarbonamide 2014

Subway, the colossal sandwich chain, recently received the type of press that really puts the old “No such thing as bad publicity” adage to the test.  An internet furor that appears to have begun in earnest thanks to a petition on the “Food Babe” website drew attention to the fact that Subway’s bread contained a […]

Two Leaves Passing in the Night

Since legal marijuana sales in Colorado kicked off at the start of the new year, the media has been abuzz with often-whimsical accounts of the state’s budding pot industry.  (Get it?  “Budding” pot industry?  That’s the sort of joke you’ll see in most of these stories.)  Far beyond Colorado, a consensus seems to be building […]

Getting Religion

Today, the sociology of religion’s prominence within the field has dimmed to the point that it has been described as “sociology’s ghetto.”  But the role that religion has played in the field’s history is quite extensive, with Emile Durkheim’s work standing as the most famous example.  Randall Collins uses Durkheim’s distinction between the sacred and […]