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W. W. Norton
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By Karen Sternheimer The phrase “I am a Ph.D.” always strikes me as odd. One might earn a Ph.D. or hold a Ph.D., but to be a Ph.D. suggests that there is no separation between the self, education, and work.... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Everyday Sociology Blog
By Karen Sternheimer All too often, administrators at my university informally refer to students as “kids” during meetings. Not only are the vast majority college students legal adults, but some are older than traditionally aged college students (18-24). And some... Continue reading
Posted Mar 13, 2023 at Everyday Sociology Blog
By Karen Sternheimer I never really thought about this question until reading a recent Pew Research Center report. While we might have a good idea of what it takes to be a good student (go to class, do all readings... Continue reading
Posted Mar 6, 2023 at Everyday Sociology Blog
By Michelle Janning, Professor of Sociology and co-designer of Human-Centered Design at Whitman College Do you ever find yourself feeling frustrated when an airport security line seems to be moving too slowly? How about when restaurant tables are arranged so... Continue reading
Posted Feb 27, 2023 at Everyday Sociology Blog
Our daily lives increasingly rely on AI technology, from the facial recognition software that unlocks our smartphones to the smart algorithms that curate our search engine results pages. This “fourth industrial revolution,” as computer scientist and U.S. congressman Ted Lieu describes it, presents a challenge: how can people benefit from AI innovation and be protected from the harmful consequences of AI, from unwanted surveillance to systemic bias? In this op-ed also published in the New York Times, Lieu makes a case for why the U.S. needs a new federal agency to regulate AI. Ted Lieu, "I’m a Congressman Who Codes.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2023 at They Say / I Blog
By Cornelia Mayr Every city has a heart, a rhythm, and a beat. The pace of a modern city’s life is characterized by industrial civilization, new information technologies, a settlement of socially heterogeneous individuals, and faster methods of transport. Buses,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2023 at Everyday Sociology Blog
By Karen Sternheimer My community’s social media news page recently discussed the high cost of eggs, and how local food pantries are having a hard time supplying this staple to needy families. One well-intentioned commenter suggested that instead of cooking... Continue reading
Posted Feb 13, 2023 at Everyday Sociology Blog
By Jenny Enos Whether, when, and even how to have children are increasingly complicated questions facing women today. On the one hand, revived abortion debates and restrictive legislation in many U.S. states may mean forced motherhood for those who become... Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2023 at Everyday Sociology Blog
By Karen Sternheimer While I haven’t read it yet, Prince Harry’s book Spare has been receiving a lot of coverage. (A search of the terms “Spare Prince Harry” yields 135 million hits.) The coverage of this book teaches us a... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2023 at Everyday Sociology Blog
By Todd Schoepflin Each time I teach a Social Psychology course, I enjoy showing students excerpts from The Saturated Self by Kenneth Gergen. As described in the book, we live in a time when we can meet people from anywhere... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2023 at Everyday Sociology Blog
By Stacy Torres People with disabilities experience substandard medical care, disrespectful doctor-patient interactions, and longstanding barriers to accessibility. A recent study published in Health Affairs helps explain why. When granted confidentiality in focus groups, doctors revealed personal aversion to and... Continue reading
Posted Jan 16, 2023 at Everyday Sociology Blog
Every day, over half a million Americans are homeless. What has led to this crisis? In this essay, writer Jerusalem Demsas critiques the way homelessness is often framed as an individual’s “personal failure,” with little attempt to recognize or rectify its underlying root causes. She argues that the lack of affordable housing is at the center of the homelessness problem in many U.S. cities and communities. Jerusalem Demsas, "The Obvious Answer to Homelessness," Atlantic, 12 December 2022 Demsas writes, “Homelessness is best understood as a ‘flow’ problem, not a ‘stock’ problem” (paragraph 12). Explain this statement in your own words.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 11, 2023 at They Say / I Blog
By Karen Sternheimer I’d like to think I’m pretty good at managing my time. At least until I start thinking about time as linked with structural forces, and then I realize there are a lot of factors at play in... Continue reading
Posted Jan 6, 2023 at Everyday Sociology Blog
By Karen Sternheimer Several years ago, I visited the Mauna Kea Observatory on the Big Island of Hawai’i. I was surprised and amused by a sign I saw in the visitor’s bathroom, instructing users how to, um, use the facilities.... Continue reading
Posted Dec 19, 2022 at Everyday Sociology Blog
Who can artificial intelligence see, and whose faces and stories remain invisible? Joy Buolamwini, poet, computer scientist, and co-founder of the Algorithmic Justice League, asks this question in her research about how racial and gender biases influence the software and search algorithms that shape our everyday lives. In this provocative spoken-word video, Buolamwini demonstrates the shortcomings of facial recognition software and argues that the developers of AI technology “often forget[] to deal with race, gender, and class” (1:03). Joy Buolamwini, "AI, Ain't I A Woman?", 18 June 2018 On their website, the Algorithmic Justice League states their mission: “We... Continue reading
Posted Dec 12, 2022 at They Say / I Blog
By Karen Sternheimer I read lots of books in high school, both for school and for pleasure. Most of the books I read for school were for English class and were works of fiction. I read both fiction and nonfiction... Continue reading
Posted Dec 12, 2022 at Everyday Sociology Blog
By Todd Schoepflin Nationwide, Buffalo is known for a few things: chicken wings, a football team that lost four consecutive Super Bowls, and a place that is cold and snowy. True, we happily claim our city as home of the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 5, 2022 at Everyday Sociology Blog
By Cornelia Mayr November marks the point in the year when the cold beings to set in. Fields, buildings and streets are blanketed in heavy fog, blurring the city like an old painting. Trees look like skeletons and dawn frost... Continue reading
Posted Nov 28, 2022 at Everyday Sociology Blog
By Jenny Enos In Sociology, we often talk about how race is a social construct. Rather than being a fixed system of classification rooted in biological difference, racial difference is (and has always been) created through social interactions, policy, and... Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2022 at Everyday Sociology Blog
I teach an Introductory Astronomy course at Bryant University – a small university with a total undergraduate enrollment of a little over 3,000 students. Although Bryant University has a College of Arts & Sciences (which included only one ‘Department of Science’,) and now a School of Health and Behavioral Sciences,... Continue reading
Posted Nov 14, 2022 at Teaching Astronomy by Doing Astronomy
By Karen Sternheimer I had the privilege of taking a vacation to the French and Swiss Alps this past summer. It was a trip I had wanted to take for several years, and even with all the anticipation, the experience... Continue reading
Posted Nov 14, 2022 at Everyday Sociology Blog
In 2022, the UN’s International Labour Organization reported that women, on average, still earn 20% less than men. The global gender wage gap has been widely discussed and researched, but there is another gender gap that has received less attention: fewer and fewer men are taking jobs in fields that are traditionally seen as “women’s work,” including teaching, nursing, and social work. Richard V. Reeves investigates the complex reasons why, in today’s economy and society, “Women are doing ‘men’s jobs.’ Men are not doing ‘women’s jobs.’” Richard V. Reeves, "Why America Needs More Men Working in Health Care and Education,"... Continue reading
Posted Nov 8, 2022 at They Say / I Blog
By Karen Sternheimer Traveling by train from Chamonix, France to Grindelwald, Switzerland was a breeze, despite having to change trains five (!) times. It wouldn’t have been so easy in most other countries. Certainly not where we live, in Los... Continue reading
Posted Nov 7, 2022 at Everyday Sociology Blog The Carina Nebula is a nearby (about 7,600 ly away) star-forming region, and this image captures just a segment of it. Above the image (out of frame) are a number of hot, young stars, producing outflows that are blowing around the dust and gas, carving out a cavity. This... Continue reading The Southern Ring Nebula is a striking example of a bipolar planetary nebula, seen very nearly along the axis. Planetary nebulae result from the death of low-mass stars, and their shaping mechanisms have long been somewhat mysterious. In this image from JWST, a binary system is visible at the... Continue reading