In this episode we speak to Emily Bazelon. Emily is former senior editor at Slate, a New York Times Magazine staff writer, and the Truman Capote Fellow for Creative Writing and Law at Yale Law School. We asked Emily to join us today as she is one of the most visible translators and disseminators of social science research.
This episode also marks a milestone, as it is the 100th episode of Office Hours. Sarah Lageson and I, Kyle Green, have enjoyed producing and hosting the podcast for the past few years and we are now passing it on to the new graduate editorial board at the society pages.
We will however be directing our efforts towards a new podcast on research methods in practice called Give Methods a Chance, find us at thesocietypages.org/methods .
Today we are joined by Belinda Wheaton. Belinda is a Principle Research Fellow in Sport and Leisure Cultures at the University of Brighton, UK. Belinda has published extensively on informal sports including articles, multiple edited volumes, and the recently published The Cultural Politics of Lifestyle Sports. We discuss why lifestyle sports are worthy of academic interest, race and California surf culture, and acts of political resistance.
In this episode, guest host Richie LeDonne speaks with Peter McGraw, a marketing and psychology professor at the University of Colorado Boulder, and journalist Joel Warner on their new book, The Humor Code. We talk about their travels around the world in search of what makes things funny, how comedians create humor, and how laughs are used to cope with tragedy and wield political power.
Three sociologists, an anthropologist and a political scientist walk into a bar…and the result is a new book on the state, and emerging new forms, of civic participation in contemporary America. While we seem to be living an age marked by political apathy and growing distrust for government and political institutions, there also seems to be a growing set of opportunities for Americans to “get involved” and “make a difference” in society. From new forms of grass roots activism, to the increasing importance that social media plays in organizing political movements, the ways Americans participate in social change have dramatically evolved even while pessimism toward politics has reached new historical lows.
In the new book The Civic Imagination a group of ethnographers provide a detailed, account of how civically active Americans understand, talk and act on their different visions for social change. Reporting on the ways that organizers envision their impacts on society, but also how they feel they have innovated new forms of participating, this multi-site ethnography challenges assertions that we live in a political age driven American apathy. At the same time, this book reminds us of the limitations, if not blinders, of these new forms of political involvement, particularly revolving issues of inequality. So before you download that new Social Justice mobile app, or organize your next Occupy event at the public library, take a listen to our interview with the authors of the Civic Imagination: Making a Difference in American Political Life
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.
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.
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.
Today we are joined by David Schalliol. David is currently in the sociology program at the University of Chicago. His work focuses on the processes that facilitate social organization and disorganization in urban context. David is the author of the photography book Isolated Building Studies. His recently published, photography filled essay “Debt and Darkness in Detroit” can be found on The Society Pages. David joins us today to talk about the relationship between sociology and photography, and his use of both to understand the built environment.
Zombies have taken a special place in our cultural imaginary—appearing in countless cult classics, B-grade horror movies, best selling literary novels (and retellings of best-selling literary novels), record breaking television shows, and are the inspiration for themed parades and pub crawls around the globe. In this episode, Jennifer Rutherford, sociologist, literary scholar, and Deputy Director of the Hawke Research Institute at the University of Southern Australia, helps us understand what can be learned from the cultural obsession. We discuss the power of the zombie as metaphor, the unrestrained drive of the undead, and the allure of becoming zombie at gatherings and celebrations.