All the fresh faces and activity around campus has us feeling energized and we’re starting off the semester with a bang! This week, members of our undergrad cohort have their first discovery “workshop,” where we edit one of our short and informative summaries of new research for a public audience. It can be intimidating for new board members to engage in this public editing process for the first time but (as alumni and returning board members can attest) it is a super valuable process that teaches all of us a lot about improving our writing. We’re excited to get started!
More from Our Partners & Community Pages
Our partner, Berkeley Journal of Sociology, just put out a new call for their Spring 2023 issue! Check out more info here.
This week marks our first board meeting of the semester! As you read this, we may be gathered around the table welcoming new board members and excitedly reuniting with old friends. This year, we’re joined by a cohort of undergraduate board members for the first time. We’re excited to work with this group of amazing undergraduates, helping connect them to public sociology and scholarship and benefitting from their energy, enthusiasm, and fresh ideas!
Here in Minnesota we’re gearing up for the start of a new semester next week. We’re looking forward to welcoming the student board back in-person to our meeting room overlooking the mighty Mississippi. The start of a new semester always bring a wave of energy and excitement and we’re looking forward to what it means for the site!
From the Archives
With black female athletes like Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka competing at the U.S. open this week check out this piece from partner Engaging Sportson how Osaka’s 2021 protest of the french open highlights the misogynoir and racial capitalism of professional sports.
We’re writing to you from Los Angeles, California, the site of the annual American Sociological Association meetings—the first in-person gathering of the post-Covid era. We’re not sure how many of you will be able to join us, but whether we see you face-to-face or not, we want all of you—our friends and colleagues, contributors, readers, and alumni alike—to know that this is a kind of big year for The Society Pages. 2022 marks the 10th anniversary of our site! Not bad for a shoe-string, limited liability operation headed up by two sociologists whose business plan included no revenue plans and relied almost exclusively on the energy, enthusiasm, and good will of a volunteer graduate student board. Anyway, happy birthday to us!
We‘ve spent the past few months reconnecting with our alums and reflecting on our work (and play) together the past decade. Over the coming fall months we will share highlights, memories, and reflections of these exchanges and our journey together. On the occasion of the ASA meetings, we thought we’d tease just a few of those highlights here.
TSP/Norton edited volumes
One of our first big projects (and a key source of social and financial support) was a series of edited volumes drawn from site content and contributors with WWW Norton. This collaboration resulted in a half dozen books on topics ranging from culture, crime, and race to politics and gender. We’re delighted that several of these collections are in use, including the methods volume Kyle Green and Sarah Lageson produced out of their fabulous TSP podcast “Give Methods a Chance.”
Partner & Community Pages
One of the chief functions of our site is to provide a platform for various sociology and social science sites, blogs, and projects to do their thing. The lineup has changed over the years and some of the most avid readers of these sites may not even realize the backstage role TSP plays in hosting them. But we have been proud to help launch and host sites including Contexts.org and the Scholars Strategy Network, to the Council on Contemporary Families (CCF), Sociological Images, Backstage Sociology, and Dispatches from a Dean. Indeed, if you have greatest-hit favorites from these sites that you think we might repost this fall, please let us know!
Our graduate-student run board remains the beating heart of TSP. Most of the original content published on our home page is conceived of, written, and edited by University of Minnesota graduate students. It offers us a chance to connect directly with the future of public sociology. It also serves as an important community for graduate students, a place to connect and share wisdom during the sometimes-lonely PhD journey. We’ll be sharing a few of our favorite pieces from our graduate board over the past decade, but especially want to give a shout-out to the backbone features that constitute the backbone of these efforts: “Discoveries” which tracks new and exciting research in the field, and “There’s Research on That” (TROTs, for short) which provides references for and brief snippets of sociological research and writing. Both share research with an eye toward public conversation and media coverage of current events and contemporary social problems.
TSP Alumni Features
Our graduate board spent the last semester reaching out and conducting brief interviews with some of our noted alumni. These conversations offered current students the chance to connect with board alums who have taken the TSP perspective out into the field as professors, community-based researchers, and alt-ac professionals. We’ll be sharing insights and memories from our alumni as well as highlighting the important public work they continue to do.
So look for all that—and more—in the months ahead! Join us in celebrating our milestone. And thanks to all of the colleagues, contributors, alumni and staff—including web editor Jon Smajda and the indomitable Letta Page, the former TSP-editor and current Contexts managing editor—for all you have done to publicize, support, and use our site over these past 10 years. We are grateful beyond words.
Check out the re-launch statement (!!!!) from our partner the Berkeley Journal of Sociology. It’s been exciting to be in conversation with Tiffany Hamidjaja, Janna Huang, and Elena Amaya over the past year as they worked towards the relaunch, articulated their vision for the next generation of public sociology, and solicited and published contributions. Look here and on our twitter for more coverage of BJS’s important pieces in the coming months!
Backstage with TSP
We’re moving offices here in Minnesota. The shuffling around and organization has us reminiscing about how much we’ve accomplished during the past ten years from where we’ve come from (lots of great Contexts issues from the Hartmann/Uggen days) and who has helped us get there (while we peruse books left behind by the great Evan Stewart). Exciting things to come (like better space for collaboration)!
Last week we read an excerpt from Eric Kleinenberg‘s book Palaces for the People, and thought more about the possibilities for public sociology in partnership with local libraries. We’re always thinking about ways to find new audiences, new “publics,” for our writing in connection with our mission of bringing important sociological findings to more readers. We felt there is clear harmony between the goals of the Society Pages, the important role of libraries as community spaces, and librarians’ work to connect community members with information and resources. We’re not exactly sure what’s next on this but we’re definitely going to keep thinking about how to bring public sociology to the libraries.