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March 1, 2008 / studyingsociology

Intelligent Design Creationism

This video cover the logic of science as it relates to creationism. Distinguishes between science and faith and discusses the trial at Dover, PA about the teaching of intelligent design in schools.

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March 1, 2008 / studyingsociology

Stanford Prison Experiment

Here is the website for the Stanford Prison Experiment

February 28, 2008 / studyingsociology

Only as free as a padlocked prison door

1 in 100 Americans behind bars according this article.

Phil Ochs wrote the following lyrics long ago:

Come and take a walk with me thru this green and growing land
Walk thru the meadows and the mountains and the sand
Walk thru the valleys and the rivers and the plains
Walk thru the sun and walk thru the rain
This is a land full of power and glory
Beauty that words cannot recall
Oh her power shall rest on the strength of her freedom
Her glory shall rest on us all
From Colorado, Kansas, and the Carolinas too
Virginia and Alaska, from the old to the new
Texas and Ohio and the California shore
Tell me, who could ask for more
Yet she’s only as rich as the poorest of her poor
Only as free as the padlocked prison door
Only as strong as our love for this land
Only as tall as we stand

February 16, 2008 / studyingsociology

Mills, explained and put into context

In Introduction to Sociology we learn that Mills challenged Sociologists to rethink the way in which they used and created theory.  His intellectual reorganization of the the field was important because it gave us all a way to see how to use theory and how theories fit together; but most importantly he showed us how to the skills of sociological inquiry can help us understand our own lives in the context of the lives of billions of other people and the events of the world at large. 

Jim Kemeny offers a very clear explanation of the of the importance and message in Mill’s “The Sociological Imagination” in this essay.

February 15, 2008 / studyingsociology

Attacks on the homeless

This article from the New York Times discusses violence against the homeless by teens and young adults.  The disturbing trend seems to be rooted in a perception of the homeless as less “human”  or worthy of respect than others. 

February 12, 2008 / studyingsociology

Budget Project, formerly known as the Census Project

Sociologists, like all scientists, work with all kinds of data.  In order to read and understand the uses and limitations of data we’ll be doing an assignment that starts with Census Data and then branches out to other data from the federal government and finally to an experiment done by a private citizen.  Get a copy of the assignment here

 The attached file contains the entire assignment complete with links to sources.   By the time you finish with this assignment you should have a better understanding of how data is used and the effect our assumptions and choices about the kind of data to use have on our findings.

After finishing the basic worksheet there is still one more thing to do; take a look at this blog to find out what the Thrifty Food Plan is and to get a subjective sense of what it means to live on the the thrifty food plan.

Ultimately by doing this assignment you should come to understand many of the ways in which government policies affect our daily lives in ways that we can’t always see.

February 12, 2008 / studyingsociology

A Bus of their own

New “women only” buses are running on 4 routes in Mexico city in repsonse to complaints about pervasive sexual harrassment on co-ed buses.  Read about it here.

February 4, 2008 / studyingsociology

Census 2000 Slide Shows

There is a wealth of information at the census website. 

These slideshows from census 2000 my help you put ideas together for presentations.  Just remember, this data is 8 years old, be sure to use up to date info in your work.

February 4, 2008 / studyingsociology

Gang leader for a day

This c-span podcast is an interview with Sudhir Venkatesh, Professor of Sociology, Columbia University. Dr. Venkatesh spent 7 years studying the residents of a public housing community in Chicago.  Most people are interested in his research on gangs but I find his affection for the community and his real belief in the potential of poor people to be most compelling.

As part of the interview he talks about the methodological problems he had studying the population, how he gained and then lost their trust. He really didn’t get some things about the community that he was studying, most importantly how limited their worldview was, how living a life of distrust and wariness left them struggling, and perhaps unable to imagine that actions Sudhir thought of as innocent could be anything other than what they looked like… Imagine, how the good people of the community must have interpreted the nightime trips Sudhir took with young women from the project, when Sudhir was working with them on their writings about the lives they lived there.  Some of you who are reading this are probably thinking… Yeah Right!  I bet they were working on the girls writings.  But the girls would have been seen as at best odd and at worse snitches if they had admitted to writing about their lives and the lives of their boyfriends and families.

This video is a must view.  It is a bit dry and it lasts an hour, but it offers both insight and hope.  Hope that is, if our nation does not turn its gaze away from the poor.  We might do that, and if we do so, it is at our peril.  Poverty affects us all in some way, but more importantly, poverty and its outcomes are a cancer that will eat away at the values we cherish.

February 3, 2008 /

bell hooks Pt 1 cultural criticism and transformation


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