It’s the start of the new semester and TSP is back! We are excited to continue sharing new social science research and highlight the work of our partner and community pages. We are also planning exciting changes to this newsletter format (more info on that below)
This week board member Daniel Cueto-Villaloboswrote on new research that shows that urban food deserts might be a myth, but that food access remains challenging for poor residents as “who lives where” in cities and suburbs undergoes change
To better engage with our audience, we’re planning some changes to our newsletter format. We hope to use this space to share our vision of the field and our excitement for new developments and research in sociology. If you have comments or suggestions, drop us a line at email@example.com
Next week marks the anniversary of the tragic, now-world infamous police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. It has been a year of mourning, of anger, angst, and anxiety, of trauma, of uncertainty and fear. To mark this inauspicous milestone, the Minnesota Historical Society Press has produced a new book entitled Sparked: George Floyd, Racism, and the Progressive Illusion.Sparked is a collection of powerful, first-person essays from scholars and other civic leaders documenting how the lived experiences of people of color in the Twin Cities, especially Black residents, stand in contrast to Minnesota’s progressive civic reputation and ideals. It is a book that we believe can be the basis for further, meaningful reflection, even reckoning, with Minnesota’s complicated history with race, racial disparity, white supremacy, and racism itself.
We are proud to say that we here at the Society Pages played a role in helping bring this book into being. It started within days of Floyd’s killing last June. Our former colleague and long-time TSP contributor Walt Jacobs approached us with the idea of doing a small series of essays from scholars, mostly scholars of color, who had worked or studied at the University of Minnesota and since left. He wanted them to write about their experiences of race and racism in Minneapolis and Minnesota more broadly. Jacobs’ core idea was to capture the complexity of race in Minnesota–not only the tragedies and traumas but also the deep paradoxes and even possibilities one encountered in the Twin Cities. This tension was reflected in the series title: “Wretched / Wonderful.”
Amid the trauma and chaos of the summer of 2020, supporting and editing this series felt like something constructive we could do–something rather small and symbolic but constructive nonetheless. Little did we know what it would turn into.
Working with Walt in the weeks that followed, we received dozens of inquiries and requests about the series, from folks eager wanting to know whether if and how they could to contribute to it. With the help of our amazing TSP editor and board member Amy August (now a professor at San Jose State University and one of the co-editors of the MNHSP book with Walt and Wendy Thompson Taiwo), we edited and published over 20 essays over the course of the summer.
These essays would become the backbone of the Sparked volume. In celebration and support of the book, we will–over the course of coming weeks–be re-running the essays that first appeared on TSP last summer in their original form. We do this to recapture the intimacy and immediacy of the essays–and again with great pride in the role our team and these authors played in helping to bring Sparked into being. We will also share some short supplementary discussion materials and questions, developed by Edgar Campos and the editorial teams at Sparked and TSP.
The Historical Society is sponsoring a special launch event tonight featuring four of the book’s contributors–including Walt himself!–talking about the paradoxes and challenges of race and racism in Minnesota and what meaningful steps toward racial justice might look like. We hope it will be the first of many such conversations to come. Details can be found at this link.
Welcome back! This week we cover new research on how low-income moms address “diaper need.” Our partner and community pages featured content on the impact of student loans, the “Beth Schneider effect” in the sociology of sexualities, and the Amernian community’s connection to Minnesota.
Diaper Desperation by Nikoleta Sremac. We cover new research that shows that diaper need is an issue with consequences for health, stress, and stigma. In the face of this challenge, low-income moms employ labor-intensive strategies in order to maintain their children’s diaper supply.
Happy Friday! This week we cover new research that examines the reasons for the slowdown in casual hookups. As always, our partner and community pages featured important and interesting pieces on the racial consequences of underfunding public universities, the obligation mothers feel towards their children, and the significance of public naming of genocide.
Welcome back! This week we cover new research that shows that surface level changes in policing might hide ongoing bias and punitive practices. We also round up research about public opinions on pay-to-play in college sports, as we await a verdict in the NCAA supreme court case.
Public Opinion on Pay-to-Play by Jean Marie Maier. With the NCAA back in the Supreme Court we round up research on who supports paying college athletes and how this relates to race, concerns about athlete exploitation, and beliefs about amateurism.
Happy Friday! This week we cover new research that explores the challenges freelancers face when looking for full-time jobs. We also explore what sociology, and other social sciences, can tell us about the social influences of intergenerational trauma.
Introducing World Suffering on TSP. This week we announced that TSP is the new host for the website World Suffering and the Compassionate Relief of Suffering, the work of our late colleague Ron Anderson. You can find out more about the site, and Ron’s legacy, here.
World Suffering features the unique perspective and writing of Ron Anderson. Ron Anderson, an innovative scholar of technology and society, and a dear and generous colleague to all who were privileged to know him, passed away on December 21, 2020.
In honor of Ron’s legacy, and in recognition of Ron’s support of The Society Pages, TSP now hosts this website. We will continue to feature the content that Ron wrote and curated, and seek submissions for new posts that reflect Ron’s unique perspective and vision.
Here is the vision for World Suffering in Ron’s own words:
“This site has two pillars, understanding world suffering and enabling compassion and other actions to alleviate suffering…This site will attempt to lay out the scope and nature of suffering so that we direct our empathy and compassion more effectively. Look at it as an aid to identifying the suffering most deserving of alleviation or even elimination.”
We are honored to host this website in Ron’s memory, continuing to feature its important content and seeking new posts that reflect Ron’s goal of moving towards “the compassionate relief of suffering.”
Welcome back! This week we present new research that challenges the narrative that increased mental health treatment-seeking is driven by increased psychological distress in young people. Our partner and community pages consider the meaning of refugee status, how work-family balance can aid disadvantaged children, and the Tigray crisis.
This week we cover new research on the connection between gender inequality and homicide. Our partner and community pages bring you a conversation with journalist Maria Ressa and consider covid memorials in the face of state failures to act.