Matt Wray on the ‘Suicide Belt’

This week we are joined by Matt Wray, a professor at Temple University, where he teaches sociology of race, culture, and health. Matt has researched suicide rates in Las Vegas, the city with the highest metropolitan suicide rate in the U.S. He is currently at work on a book about the “Suicide Belt” in the American West. In addition to his work on suicide, Matt has written extensively on the topic of whiteness and white identity. We discuss Matt’s current work on the Suicide Belt and explore the contributions sociologists can make to the study of suicide.

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Samira Kawash on Candy

This week we are joined by Samira Kawash to discuss her book Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure. Samira is a professor emerita at Rutgers University. During our conversation we discuss the important but ignored place candy has occupied in the American conscious, the many shifting meanings attached to the sugary treats, and what can be learned from the increasingly blurred line between food and candy. You can read more of Samira’s work at www.CandyProfessor.com.

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Colter Ellis on the Boundary Labor of Beef Production

In this episode, we talk with Colter Ellis, Assistant Professor of Sociology and the Center for Rural Studies at Sam Houston University. Professor Ellis recently published a piece in The Sociological Quarterly that examines cattle producers’ work in conventional U.S. beef production. We talk through his ethnographic project into how cattle producers express emotional connection to cattle, but also treat cattle as economic assets.

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Kathryn Henne on Sport, Sex Testing, and Fairplay

Today we are joined by Kathryn Henne. Kathryn is a Research Fellow at the Regulatory Institutions Network, a research center housed at the Australian National University and also a fellow of the Research School of Asia and the Pacific. Kathryn joins us to talk about her article “The ‘Science’ of Fair Play in Sport: Gender and the Politics of Testing”, which will appear in the forthcoming issue of Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. We discuss the shifting models of sex testing used by the International Olympic Committee, efforts to enforce the male female binary, and assumptions about fair play and the natural body.

Download Office Hours #86

Knowledge Production and Public Engagement (a Panel Discussion)

Nicholas Kristof’s recent critique of sociology, political science, and the humanities for effectively isolating themselves from larger and more public discussions of social issues has resulted in a myriad of academic responses. In this episode of the office hours we share the audio of a recent panel of faculty at the University of Minnesota including co-founder of the The Society Pages’ Doug Hartmann, responding to Kristof’s essay.

*If you are interested in hearing the question and answer session that followed this discussion, please follow this link to the Humphrey School of Public Affairs website.

Download Office Hours #85