This episode we speak with Doug Hartmann and Chris Uggen, the dynamic duo behind our very own website, The Society Pages. Big things are happening at TSP and Chris and Doug are here to give us the scoop on the new features on the way in the coming weeks and months, such as The Reading List, more Special Features, and our exciting new collaboration with W.W. Norton.
This episode we talk with Monte Bute, a backstage sociologist at Metropolitan State University. Last year, Monte was diagnosed with stage three pulmonary lymphoma. Rather than retreating quietly, however, Monte has turned his illness into a learning experience for students (he’s continued to teach) and into an opportunity to revisit some of the core questions of the human experience. We talk about the effect of Durkheim on sociology’s impoverished understanding of dying, and the ways in which literature and the humanities do a better job of grasping the existential realities of dying. Other topics include Monte’s Facebook page, his take on the Minnesota state shutdown, and why Monte has changed his opinion on Tuesdays with Morrie (following up on his discussion with John Hines).
This episode we speak with Tom Stone, the documentary photographer behind the evocative images featured in Mark Rank’s Spring 2011 feature Rethinking American Poverty. The photos are drawn from Stone’s “American Outsiders” series, which you can view online at tomstonegallery.com/art or on flickr.
This week on Office Hours: Annette Lareau, who was at the University of Minnesota a few weeks back to give a talk at the Sociology Department’s annual Sociological Research Institute. While Lareau was in town, we had a chance to chat with her about her current research on how parents decide where to live and where to send their kids to school, and on the success of her bestselling book, Unequal Childhoods, as well as giving us a preview of the forthcoming second edition.
Imagine you’ve been doing research on the possibility of revolution in Egypt and you’ve just published a paper asking why revolutions in Egypt have failed to materialize and then, two weeks after publication: revolution in Egypt. That’s the situation Hazem Kandil found himself in these past few months, and in this episode Kandil, who is a PhD candidate in the UCLA sociology department, talks with Sinan Erensu about the causes and consequences of revolution in Egypt and how sociology can help us better understand what happened and is happening still.
This week we talk with Richard Lachmann, author of the article, The Roots of American Decline in the Winter 2011 issue of Contexts. Lachmann addresses common misunderstandings we Americans tend to have about our government’s spending, particularly military spending, and the current “fiscal crisis”. Lachmann compares the decline of American dominance with past empires and offers some lessons about what we might do to have a graceful decline as opposed to a painful, violent one.
This episode we talk with humorist Dylan Brody about the power of humor and storytelling to transform the way people look at the world around them. Brody discusses the effects of television on political comedy, the sad state of heroes in our storytelling today, and how he incorporates his political knowledge and ideals into the personal stories he tells before audiences.
After you listen, be sure to check out Brody’s albums:
This week we talk with Shamus Khan about his new book Privilege: The Making of an Adolescent Elite at St. Paul’s School. One the one hand, elite social institutions—such as St. Paul’s—have opened up to women and minorities in recent decades, but on the other hand, inequality has increased and wealth is more concentrated now than since the 1920s. What explains this apparent contradiction between increasing openness yet rising inequality? Khan draws on his experiences as a student and then researcher at St. Paul’s to help answer this question.