Good Morning, Everyone!
It’s nerdy, I know, but I’ve always found the first day of school to be one of the most exciting, hopeful, and uplifting days of the entire calendar year. Maybe that’s what happens when your mom was a kindergarten teacher and your dad a grade school principal. Whatever your story may be, I hope you are ready for another great year of sociology.
I see sociology as a noble profession, vocation, a calling in the Weberian sense. And in this time of tumult, conflict, and change, I believe our work—our research, our ideas, and the information and insights we produce—is more needed than ever by people, in communities, all over the world. This is, in many ways, the essence of the public sociology movement of which The Society Pages has been such a proud and prominent player. And today, on this first day of classes, the people I’m thinking mostly about are students—our graduates and our undergrads. We do many things as sociologists, but given that we are all in the business of teaching and learning, it is good to recall Michael Burawoy’s suggestion from a little over a decade ago that our classrooms are our first public(s).
Our dean at the UMN College of Liberal Arts, John Coleman, gave new students some advice last week. He stressed the need for each student to find their own place here on campus, their community, and to help create a culture of respect across all of our differences. Sound—and very sociological—advice for all of us all over the country, I think. Here’s hoping that we can all do our part to make culture and community (and sociology!) in our departments in the year ahead.
Thanks so much for your continued participation in and commitment to our wonderful community. Have a great day and a great year!