Archive: Jun 2017

“Cultural appropriation” is a term that is increasingly appearing in popular culture. “The Dos and Don’ts of Cultural Appropriation” is a fascinating article in The Atlantic, arguing that “borrowing from other cultures isn’t just inevitable, it’s potentially positive.” Check it out!

Although not in the College of Social Sciences (CoSS), I’d like to highlight a project by Journalism and Mass Communication Associate Professor Michael Cheers: his recently completed Simple Gifts: A Portrait Series Celebrating SJSU’s Black Faculty. Professor Cheers notes, “The Black faculty at San José State University were given a homework assignment. They were asked to choose a personal keepsake, and pose with that item for a formal portrait. Then explain how that item influenced their teaching careers.” Several CoSS faculty are featured! I am too. My keepsake is Racial Formation in the United States, Second Edition, and here was my narrative: “I entered graduate school in the fall of 1993. I chose sociology as my field of study based on being drawn to books on the subject, even though I had never taken a sociology class. I was a bit unsure about my choice initially, as none of the books that semester really appealed to me as was the case in the past. That changed in the spring of 1994 when I read Racial Formation in the United States. Not only did it remind me of how much I loved sociology, it provided key ideas for my first publication, which was accepted in the fall of 1994. It was frequently cited in future publications for years to come. In 2008 I met one of the authors, and he signed my copy! I still occasionally thumb through it now, 22 years later.” I have not yet read the third edition from 2014. I’ll have to correct that soon….

The Atlantic‘s new “You Are Here” series explores the [social] science behind everyday life. The “How the Internet is Changing Friendship” episode asks, “Wherever your friends are, you can always check up on them with social media. But does that mean that we’re keeping friendships alive past their natural expiration date, or are virtual connections actually making friendships stronger?” Very interesting question!

The Atlantic‘s CityLab website has a fascinating story about multiracial defenders of confederate memorials in New Orleans. One would initially think that all of the defenders are White, but, as usual, race in America is more complex and nuanced than meets the eye….