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W. W. Norton
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What does the COVID-19 pandemic have to do with the climate crisis and the worldwide loss of wildlife habitats? Activist Greta Thunberg argues that industrial agriculture, which supports meat- and dairy-heavy diets, plays a significant role in these interconnected crises. In this five-minute video, Thunberg challenges her audience—us!—to adopt a plant-based diet and change our fundamental relationship with nature. Tom Mustill, director, featuring Greta Thunberg, "Our Relationship with Nature Is Broken," 22 May 2021. Thunberg offers several examples of how industrial agriculture affects our health and our planet, including how it contributes to carbon emissions, habitat loss, and spillover viruses.... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at They Say / I Blog
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By Karen Sternheimer As COVID cases fall in much of the United States, many pandemic-era restrictions are beginning to loosen. From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) revised mask guidelines to local ordinances allowing businesses to fully open,... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Everyday Sociology Blog
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By Jenny Enos, Sociology Doctoral Student, Rutgers University Religion has always captivated sociologists. Émile Durkheim, who is often credited with being one of the “founders” of sociology, wrote extensively about religion in his 1912 book Elementary Forms of Religious Life... Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2021 at Everyday Sociology Blog
Some people might argue that what we do online is our own personal business. Historians Maytha Alhassen and Zaheer Ali, however, contend that online spaces are instead part of our “public life.” In this May 19, 2021 essay, Alhassen and Ali argue that it is our “civic duty” to be critical about what we consume and circulate online, as the constant retweeting and reposting of potentially misleading information has consequences for both our present moment and the work of future historians. Maytha Alhassen and Zaheer Ali, "By Any Memes Necessary: A Case Study for Critical Media Literacy," Los Angeles Review... Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2021 at They Say / I Blog
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By Todd Schoepflin With my Social Stratification course recently concluded, I’m reflecting on a book filled with sociological insights about the college experience. The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students, by Anthony Abraham Jack, is a book... Continue reading
Posted May 31, 2021 at Everyday Sociology Blog
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By Karen Sternheimer Children in the U.S. have been more likely to be in poverty than any other age group since 1973. Before this time, those 65 and older experienced far higher rates of poverty than they do now. Today... Continue reading
Posted May 26, 2021 at Everyday Sociology Blog
By Stacy Palen Over the last year or so, there have been a number of extraordinary images of astronomical objects with an overlay of magnetic fields in the news. One of these, from the Event Horizon Telescope, has caught extra attention, but Sofia’s HAWC+ imager has also been capturing polarization... Continue reading
Posted May 14, 2021 at Teaching Astronomy by Doing Astronomy
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By Colby King and Todd Schoepflin In this podcast, Colby King and Todd Schoepflin share some of their experiences teaching this year. One example that stands out to Todd is the experience of teaching at home at the same time... Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2021 at Everyday Sociology Blog
After decades of being banned due to its close genetic relationship with marijuana, hemp was legalized through the 2018 Farm Bill. Winona LaDuke, a Native writer and activist, argues that Native tribes, which have historically cultivated the crop, should lead and benefit from the growing hemp industry. In this February 2021 essay, LaDuke explains how hemp could be the cornerstone of a new, “post-petroleum” sustainable economy. Winona LaDuke, "Tribes Revive Traditional Hemp Economies," YES!, February 16, 2021 LaDuke’s argument responds to what she calls “a renaissance moment for cannabis.” What evidence does she give that supports this idea? LaDuke calls... Continue reading
Posted May 4, 2021 at They Say / I Blog
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By Todd Schoepflin & Colby King John Fetterman is currently the Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania, and before that served as mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania, from 2005 to 2019. He is running for a Pennsylvania senate seat in 2022. His website... Continue reading
Posted May 3, 2021 at Everyday Sociology Blog
By Stacy Palen How delightful! The phases of the Moon were in the news in late March, giving all of us an opportunity to teach students about the practical applications of astronomy in the modern world. You will likely recall the giant container ship that was stuck in the Suez... Continue reading
Posted Apr 30, 2021 at Teaching Astronomy by Doing Astronomy
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By Karen Sternheimer More than 10 years ago I wrote a post called “Doing Research while Watching Sports Center” about a study of women’s sports coverage on local news and ESPN. The study found that women’s sports coverage declined between... Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2021 at Everyday Sociology Blog
What’s next up on your Netflix watch list? You may notice more suggestions for shows and movies made outside the US, such as Spain’s Money Heist and South Korea’s One More Time. Facing pressure to acquire new media content, Netflix has made a conscious decision to develop local shows and films around the world and then distribute that content globally. In this April 7, 2021 essay, Paolo Sigismondi explains how Netflix’s business decision might broaden the content we consume and challenge long-standing cultural stereotypes that have been reinforced by Hollywood. Paolo Sigismondi, "Netflix’s Big Bet on Foreign Content and International... Continue reading
Posted Apr 20, 2021 at They Say / I Blog
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By Jonathan Wynn Now that I’m chair of my department, my colleagues and graduate students occasionally get emails from email addresses that look very close to mine (e.g., “jonwynn@umassbutnotreally.com”) that asks them to “help” me. If they aren’t careful, they’ll... Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2021 at Everyday Sociology Blog
By Stacy Palen Sometimes, you just want to look at a lot of pretty pictures. Juno’s got ‘em. This is a nice intersection of science and society because there are issues of intellectual property rights here that can prompt students to think a little more deeply about who owns science... Continue reading
Posted Apr 16, 2021 at Teaching Astronomy by Doing Astronomy
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By Karen Sternheimer For some people, the COVID pandemic has had a silver lining: more savings. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, American savings rates reached a 60-year high of 33.7 percent in April 2020 up from... Continue reading
Posted Apr 12, 2021 at Everyday Sociology Blog
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By Karen Sternheimer As I write, both of my parents just received their second COVID-19 vaccinations. This is of course a great relief, since they are in their 70s, but their experience highlights some of the inequities built into the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 5, 2021 at Everyday Sociology Blog
By Stacy Palen Astronomers have long been on the hunt for “intermediate-mass” black holes. These are black holes with masses between a few hundred and a few ten-thousands of solar masses. It was thought that these should exist in globular clusters. While looking for these, astronomers have instead found a... Continue reading
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By Myron Strong There is a sadness in parts of academia, facilitated by toxic structures like outdated tenure systems, labor exploitation, unrealistic research demands, financial constraints, isolation, and COVID-19, to name just a few. And as I go on Twitter... Continue reading
Posted Mar 29, 2021 at Everyday Sociology Blog
“When society decides to celebrate, who’s getting an invite, and who’s being excluded?” (1:04). Art therapist Kate Lacour poses this question in her TED talk, featured in this episode of the TEDx Shorts podcast from February 21, 2021. Lacour explains how she has helped teenagers with autism participate in Mardi Gras, a joyously noisy and colorful month-long public celebration in New Orleans with parades, music, masks, floats, and costumes. As you listen, think about the connection Lacour draws to a larger goal, making public celebrations “more attentive to the needs of all.” Kate Lacour, "Fight for Your Right to Party,"... Continue reading
Posted Mar 28, 2021 at They Say / I Blog
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By Jessica Poling Like many of the classical theorists of his age, nineteenth-century German social theorist Max Weber sought to define “modernity.” Weber lived in a society experiencing rapid economic, political, and social changes and devoted much of his time... Continue reading
Posted Mar 22, 2021 at Everyday Sociology Blog
By Stacy Palen Gaia’s latest data haul, from December 2020, includes the proper motions of more than 1 billion stars. So the Gaia astronomers did the fun thing and mapped their future positions as they move against the background of the Milky Way. Below are some questions to ask your... Continue reading
Posted Mar 19, 2021 at Teaching Astronomy by Doing Astronomy
The economic impact of the pandemic, as shown in the unemployment rate, is staggering. Like previous pandemics, the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected women. In this February 1, 2021 report, researchers Diana Boesch and Shilpa Phadke explain the complex reasons why more women than men have become unemployed since March 2020. Boesch and Phadke argue that a truly equitable economic recovery must include major policy changes that address long-standing issues, such as the gender pay gap and the lack of caregiving support. Diana Boesch and Shilpa Phadke, "When Women Lose All the Jobs: Essential Actions for a Gender-Equitable Recovery," Center... Continue reading
Posted Mar 15, 2021 at They Say / I Blog
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By Jenny Enos Sociology Doctoral Student, Rutgers University It’s no secret that elections are heavily influenced by spending and donations from wealthy individuals, corporations, and various special interest groups. In the 2020 presidential election a less obvious key player in... Continue reading
Posted Mar 15, 2021 at Everyday Sociology Blog
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By Myron Strong Like most kids in the 1980s, part of my daily school routine each morning back then was to stand for the pledge of alliance. Images of my grade school teachers asking a class of snaggle-toothed, freshly groomed... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2021 at Everyday Sociology Blog