academia

Cross-posted at Native Appropriations.

Florida State has been the “Seminoles” since 1947, and have had a “relationship” with the Seminole Tribe of Florida for many years, but it was solidified more recently. In 2005, the NCAA passed a resolution, calling Native American Mascots “hostile and abusive,” and prohibiting schools with these mascots from hosting post-season events. The Seminole Tribe of Florida then officially gave their permission to use Osceola as the mascot, letting FSU get a waiver from the NCAA rule.

Disclaimer, and a big one — I am not Seminole, and I don’t want to speak for the tribe. I am offering my interpretation and perspective, but it’s just mine. I am going to be up front and say that I don’t agree with the choice to give the university permission to mock Native culture (see the billboard and video I posted earlier), and I don’t find a “stoic” dude in a wig and redface throwing a flaming spear“honoring” (see photo above), and I definitely don’t think that the “war chant” is respectful in any way. In fact I find it quite “hostile and abusive.”

I do want to put the decision of the tribe into context, however. From what I understand, prior to the formalized relationship with the tribe in the 1970′s, the image of the university was not Osceola (who is a real person, in case you didn’t know. Though the image is the profile of a white faculty member), but a stereotypical mis-mash named “Sammy Seminole” who was accompanied by “Chief Fullabull,” both of whom wore cartoonish and stereotypical outfits and clowned around at games. Trying to be more “sensitive” they changed “Fullabull” to “Chief Wampumstompum.” I’m not kidding. Osceola and Renegade (the horse) were introduced in the late 70′s.

So, by entering into a relationship with the university, the mascot now represents an actual Seminole figure, and wears (close to) traditional Seminole regalia, made by tribal members. In addition to control and “collaboration” over how the image is used and portrayed, I’ve heard the tribe gets a cut of the merchandising profits, which I’m sure is no small amount of money. The president of the university also established full scholarships for Seminole students (though only 8 Seminole students have graduated in the history of the school), a Seminole color guard brings in the flag at commencement, and the tribe was recently honored at homecoming. The Seminole of FL are also one of the most successful gaming tribes in the US, and my personal opinion is that keeping the state happy on the FSU front can only be good for relations around gaming contracts.

In summary, while the mascot is far from being respectful in my opinion, at least the tribe is gaining both economic and social benefits from engaging in this relationship. At least, at the games, as the student section is tomahawk chopping and yelling “scalp ‘em”, they can look down at the field and see a real Seminole every once and awhile to counter the image of Osceola. But is it perfect? Of course not. In a lot of ways it is similar to Derrick Bell’s theory of Interest Convergence — the idea that whites will only consent to racial progress when it benefits them directly — but turned around. The tribe is consenting to this, because they benefit directly. The interests of the two parties converge.

But the hard thing about FSU is that it always gives fodder to the mascot defenders. “But the Seminole approve of Florida State!  They don’t care!” Hopefully I’ve made a bit of a case as to why they’ve consented to have their image used, but I also want to point out that just because one faction of a marginalized group believes one thing, it doesn’t mean that everyone feels that way. Can you imagine if we expected all white folks to feel the same about a controversial issue… like gun control, for example? Not gonna happen. I also think that it ties back into the dilemma I’ve brought up again and again — is it better to be completely invisible as Native people, or be misrepresented? In the case of the Seminole tribe of Florida, they took the step to at least try and gain some control and power over how their people and community are represented.

For more, check out this awesome resource pulled together by Rob Schmidt of Blue Corn Comics/Newspaper Rock — offers more history, counter-arguments, quotes from news articles and Native scholars, and more: Why FSU’s Seminoles aren’t ok.

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Adrienne Keene is a Cherokee doctoral candidate at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, where she studies access to higher education for Native students.  She blogs about cultural appropriation at Native Appropriations.  You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

For the last week of December, we’re re-posting some of our favorite posts from 2012.

In an effort to map the shape of the dual career challenge, the Clayman Institute for Research on Gender at Stanford University did a survey of 30,000 faculty at 13 universities. The study was headed by Londa Schiebinger, Andrea Henderson, and Shannon Gilmartin.

When academics use the phrase “dual career,” they’re referring to the tendency of academics to marry other academics, making the job hunt fraught with trouble.  Most institutions are not keen to hire someone’s partner just because they exist.  Meanwhile, the academic job market is tough; it’s difficult to get just one job, let alone two within a reasonable commute of one another.

So, what did the researchers find?

More than a third of professors are partnered with another professor:

When we break this data down by gender, we see some interesting trends.  Female professors are somewhat more likely to be married to an academic partner (40% of women versus 34% of men), they are twice as likely to be single (21% are single versus 10% of men; racial minority women are even more likely), and they are only 1/4th as likely to have a stay-at-home partner:

On the one hand, since women are more likely to have an academic partner, the problem of finding a job for a pair of academics hits women harder.  On the other hand, the fact that they are more often single makes choosing a job simpler for a larger proportion of women than men.  (On anther note, if you’ve ever wondered why fewer female than male academics have children, there are several answers in the pie charts above.)

For women who are partnered with another academic, the data is starker than the 6 point difference above would suggest.  The researchers asked members of dual-career academic couples, whose job comes first?  Half of men said that theirs did, compared to only 20% of women.  When it comes to balancing competing career demands, then, women may be more willing to compromise than men.

There is a lot more detailed information on academic couples and what institutions think of them in the report. Or, listen to Londa Schiebinger and the other researchers describe their findings:

Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

I was finishing up my dissertation in 2006.  The Great Recession was still two years away.  Nevertheless, there was talk about it being a tough job market for newly-minted sociologists and, like most everybody in my shoes, I was scared sh*tless about getting a job.

It’s obvious now that I was extremely lucky to get out of grad school when I did.  A few years later the American Sociological Association (ASA) would report that the number of jobs for new PhDs fell 40% from ’06/’07 to ’08/’09 (sociologists have a job “season” that straddles the New Year).

Neal Caren, a (gloriously employed) sociologist at UNC Chapel Hill, has been tracking the job market himself ever since.  His data, posted at Scatterplot, shows that the discipline has yet to recover from the Great Recession (if that’s the sole cause of the decline in job openings).  The yellow and green line represent the drop captured in the ASA report.  The purple line represents the devastating next year and the two blue-ish lines represent a slight recovery.

This year, however, the thick orange line, reveals that this year’s market is not signalling a recovery to the job market of my own debut.  It’s up 5% from last year, Caren explains,  15% from 2010, and “a whopping 73% from 2009.”  Extrapolating from the ASA data, we’re still down 33% from ’06/’07.

Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Cross-posted at Montclair SocioBlog.

Back in June, Mitt Romney said:

I want to make sure that we keep America a place of opportunity, where everyone… get[s] as much education as they can afford

After all, Mitt got as much education as he (his parents, really) could afford, so he thought it best if everyone had that same opportunity.

Opportunity – How much is that in American money?

Yesterday, Planet Money  posted this graph showing the costs and benefits of a college education in several countries.

The title of the post summarizes the interpretation of the college-educated folks at Planet Money:

“College Costs More In America, But The Payoff Is Bigger”

But what if you look at the data from the other side?  Here’s the half-empty-glass title:

“College in the US Costs a Lot, and If You Can’t Afford It, You’re Really Screwed”

…or words to that effect.

What the chart seems to show is inequality — specifically, the inequality between the college educated and everyone else.  In advanced economies, like the those of the countries in the chart, education is important. But some of those countries, like the Scandinavian countries, have reduced the income sacrificed by non-college people relative to the college educated. Other countries favor a more unequal distribution of income.

To look a little closer, I looked at the relationship between the payoff of a BA degree for men and a country’s Gini coefficient, a measure of inequality.  I used the ten countries in the Planet Money chart and added another ten OECD countries.

The correlation is 0.44.  The US is the clear outlier.  In the land of opportunity, if you’re a male, either you pay the considerable price of going to college, or you pay the price for not going to college.

With this inequality come the kinds of social consequences that Charles Murray elaborates in his latest book about non-educated Whites — disability, divorce, demoralization, death.

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Jay Livingston is the chair of the Sociology Department at Montclair State University.  You can follow him at Montclair SocioBlog or on Twitter.

I tip my hat to sociology aficionado Holly, curator of Sociology Student Sheep.  The tumblr is a humorous, tongue-in-cheek look at the minds of earnest students of sociology.  No doubt, if you’ve ever hung out with sociologists, you’ll recognize at least a few.

Here are some of my favs (so hard to choose!):

Read them all here. She takes submissions everyone!

Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

In doing research for a book I may write about voluntary childnessness, I came across a telling graphic from the Pew Research Center.  First, note that the percent of women age 40-44 without a biological child has almost doubled since the late ’70s.  Today about one-in-five such women (18%) have never given birth:

The percent of women is even higher among women with professional degrees (a master’s or equivalent and higher).  One-in-four women with a master’s degree, and nearly that many women with PhDs, have no biological children by ages 40-44.

Here’s where the really telling graph comes in.  Though women with higher levels of education are less likely to have biological children than other types of women, the trend  of increasing childlessness shown above doesn’t apply to them.  In fact, women with master’s and PhDs in the most recent data are more likely to have children than their counterparts 14 years ago.  In the first half of the 1990s, nearly one-in-three women with professional degrees did not have biological children; today it’s one-in-four. Childbearing among the most educated women, then, bucks the trend. It has gone up.

The data probably reflect greater endorsement of the idea that a woman can, or should be able to, balance both a career and a family, as well as the rise of policies that make that possible.  University of Florida sociologist Tanya Koropeckyj-Cox, who’s studied this stuff, says as much.  It may be hard to imagine now, but there was a time when having children would destroy a woman’s always-already fragile career; as much as we may love or hate the “mommy track,” at least today there is one.  Koropeckyj-Cox also suggests that women with higher incomes may have greater access to infertility treatments, making overcoming health problems or delayed childbearing more possible for them than it is among women with less education.

In any case, the data suggests an interesting story about gender, childbearing, educational achievement, and historical change.  I’d be happy to hear more interpretation in the comments.

Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

This week on PostSecret I stumbled across the following confession: 

The idea that certain beliefs about college may not be true reminded me of the concept of pluralistic ignorance.  The phrase refers to a phenomenon in which a large proportion of a population misunderstands reality.

For example, while many college students think that lots of people hook up a lot, 80% of college students hook up less than once a semester, on average.  About 40% of those hook ups involve intercourse, while a strong third just involve getting horizontal and making out.  Students, for what it’s worth, also tend to consistently overestimate how much drugs and alcohol other students are consuming.

So, while “everyone thinks” that “everyone has fun during their freshman year.”  In fact, the person who wrote this confession may be a lot less alone than s/he thinks, even if most people think that everyone does, in fact, have fun.

Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Today is the first day of school at the college where I teach, so I thought it would be a nice time to re-post this oldie-but-goodie on the relationship between income and SAT scores.  I’m sure all of our students are brilliant, of course, but whether the SAT measures intelligence fairly is up for debate.

The College Board is an education association that, among other things, administers the SAT college entrance examination.  A report on the scores from 2009, reviewed by the New York Times, included a break down of scores by the household income of the student. Scores correlate strongly and positively with income:

I can think of two explanations for the correlation.

First, it is certainly true that children with more economic resources, on average, end up better prepared for standardized tests.  They tend to have better teachers, more resource-rich educational environments, more educated parents who can help them with school and, sometimes, expensive SAT tutoring.

Second, the test itself may be biased towards wealthier students.  These tests tend to be written and evaluated by privileged individuals who may inadvertently include class-based knowledge, not just knowledge, in the exam (asking questions, for example, that rely on background information about golf instead of basketball).

In any case, this correlation should give us pause; it calls into question, quite profoundly, the extent to which the SAT is functioning as a fair measure.  Perhaps it measures preparedness for college, but whether it measures potential is up for debate.

Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.