Search results for friday roundup

Finishing Strong

Here in Minnesota it appears (knock on wood) that the terrible long winter is behind us–which means that finals are upon us, commencement is coming, and grades will soon be due. And even as academic terms wrap up all over the country, the Pages remain vibrant. Highlights from the past week include:

–a public criminology post on the new Minnesota law that makes it illegal for employers to ask about an applicant’s criminal history until an interview is granted or a job is offered;

–the introduction of a brand new TSP blog, Walt Jacobs’s “Dispatches from a New Dean

–and the two latest “data based” columns from cyborgology–one on health, the other on love;

Digging back in the archive a bit, you might also take a look at Jennifer Lee’s provocative piece on Asian American exceptionalism and what she calls “stereotype promise“–which we are re-releasing now with video!

RU050913End the Semester Right: With a Movie

What’s that you say? You’re swamped, your students are swamped, and everyone needs a chance to coast into summer? Final papers, class reflections, formal and informal evaluations—there has to be a better way!

There is, and I believe we all know it as: show a danged movie. And here at TSP, we like to provide inspiration. At the bottom of today’s roundup, there’s a list of 56 documentaries and other films that have been recommended to us as excellent fodder for crim, soc, social movements, gender, media studies, and every other class you might be teaching or taking. To learn more, visit this interview with Jessie Daniels and its extensive comments with suggestions from other profs and students (many with links) or this older post with some more good choices.

Now, here’s what we’ve been doing as the semester winds down: more...

RU050313Turn, Turn, Turn

Well, it seems to be winter again in Minnesota. It snowed last week about this time, then we had a day of spring, followed by two 80-degrees-and-sunny days, a rainy couple, and now, we’re back to winter. Two-day seasons, and the leaves couldn’t bud fast enough to change colors. You can imagine how we might get a bit down with this Seasonal ADD.

But then something awesome happened: this week marked the addition of the fine feminist blog Girl w/ Pen to our roster of illustrious “Community Pages”! Please do go visit their new digs and start reading. We got so distracted ourselves that the roundup is quite quick! more...

RU041213Write On

In Michael Pollan’s least-heralded, but perhaps best-loved, book, A Place of My Own: The Architecture of Daydreams, the author sets off to learn about architecture and building so as to create the perfect place to write. And he does! He eventually comes up with a little ship of a building, small but functional, with everything in its place and a pleasant view of his home at a nice enough remove to allow thoughts to bud and grow. How idyllic. more...

RU032913In the airport!

(Sung, clearly, to the tune of Elvis Presley’s ridiculous but earworm-y “In the Ghetto.” Because the last thing the airport needs is another hungry editor to feed.)

There’s a lot to learn about humanity in an airport. From the way they dress to their choices to either hang back to board or hustle to get into the plane and loiter for longer than any of the other passengers like a WINNER, I can’t help but marvel at what everyone gets up to. And that’s sort of the thing, right? Social scientists get to make a career out of this curiosity. Hopefully, they get to go a step further, using what they learn through their observation and analysis to help society, inform policy, support and change and inform. more...

RU032213Meet Us in Chicago

That’s right, we’re getting ready for a little Midwest Sociology Society roadtrip! Cheetos will be consumed, stereos will be cranked, and wordsmithing will be demonstrated. TSP will present a practicum on writing for the public on Friday afternoon next week at the MSS conference. Come talk, learn, educate, and hang out. We’re looking forward to it! In the meantime, here’s what we’ve been up to this week: more...

RU031513The Art of Being Edited*

A primer on getting the most out of the editing process, this short article assumes that you’re working on a journal submission, but is generally applicable to an op-ed you might be pitching, sample chapters for a book proposal, etc. I am also assuming you’ve already found an editor, but I’ll talk about that a little bit. As always, I take questions and additional recommendations—I’m positive I’ve overlooked, oh, about a hundred things. A hundred seems about right. more...


Typos lurk, mock, elude, persist. This Friday, I offer some quick(ish) tips for effective proofreading*:

  1. Remember: proofing is a final step. This is not the time to edit, reorganize, or create new subsections. We’re past that.
  2. Do not proofread your own work if at all possible. You can no longer spot errors when you already know the text. Find a buddy and exchange proofing for proofing (or pies, pen-lathing, vacuuming, etc.). If you’re an academic, try to find a non-academic proofer-friend.
  3. Your proofer should read your piece quickly, as though it’s in a magazine. You don’t want this to be analyzed (see: #1, this is not editing). As with editing, most mistakes will jump out if the reader has to pause in the flow of reading.
  4. If it absolutely has to be as perfect as you can make it (say, in a cover letter for a job application, book proposal, or grant application), your proofer will need to take a second pass, and this one’s the kicker. You should probably paint their house. They need to read it backwards. Yes, it sounds insane, but it works. This perspective allows a focus on just the words (that is, you can’t skim), and it’s nearly guaranteed new errors will be uncovered. When you have time to waste, try it on the last recommendation letter you asked for or wrote.

Now, on to the Roundup! Please add your proofing tips in the comments. I always need mre. More. Ugh. more...

RU030113Read Widely

In case it’s hard to tell, that’s an imperative, not a descriptor. Today I plan to use my little soapbox to trumpet some fabulous writing, while also seeking submissions to what I lovingly call “Letta’s List.”

See, many authors ask me for examples of how to incorporate a lot of information into something that’s thorough, academically sound, and engaging. It’s a tough balance, to be sure, but over the years, I’ve collected a number of books (and this is by no means a list of all of them) I can hand off as representations of that ideal. They likely have nothing to do with your area of study, but watching the authors’ deft hands at work (and knowing there are surely unsung editor elves in there, too) can be a truly enjoyable homework assignment. Think of it as authorial excellence by osmosis. Absorb and emulate. more...

RU022213A Few Things I’ve Learned

In academic writing, inscrutability is often treated as a virtue. I have a few theories:

  1. “Smarter than thou.” Ever been at a talk where someone asks a “question” that’s just a transparent way to prove that they know a lot? And that they know big words, too? It’s annoying. For writers, the logic often seems: if the piece technically makes sense, but no one else can make sense of it, you must be the smartest person in the journal. You may be revered for your brilliance, but no one’s going to actually talk about your work. Readers will be too afraid to admit they don’t understand it (and too unsure about whether you do).
  2. Tone-deafness. This might, more kindly, be called the expertise problem. In essence, you, the author, know this stuff backward and forward. You may start assuming everyone else does, too. Alternatively, you’ve simply read it all so many times you can no longer see the gaps in your logic or spot places that just plain don’t make sense.
  3. Longer is better. In trying to cover all the bases, you go too far, accidentally creating 5th base and a watering hole somewhere in left field. Looking for a thorough lit. review, an overview of the thinking in the field, and presenting many opportunities for future researchers, you find yourself at 25 pages, when your point could have been made—and made well—in 10.

As an editor and sometime “translator” of ivory-tower-talk, I also have a few suggestions: more...