Tag Archive for Sociology Department

Pitts-Taylor Wins Merton Book Award for The Brain’s Body

Victoria Pitts-Taylor, left, was presented with the Merton Book Award by Mary Frank Fox of the Georgia Institute of Technology, a council member for the Science, Knowledge, and Technology Section of the American Sociological Association.

Professor of Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies Victoria Pitts-Taylor, pictured at left, received the Robert K. Merton Award for her book, The Brain’s Body: Neuroscience and Corporeal Politics (Duke University Press, 2016). The award was presented at a meeting of the Science, Knowledge, and Technology Section of the American Sociological Association in Montreal, Canada on Aug. 14.

The Merton Award is given annually in recognition of an outstanding book on science, knowledge, and/or technology published during the preceding three years.

The Brain’s Body previously won the 2016 prize in Feminist Philosophy of Science given by the Women’s Caucus of the Philosophy of Science Association.

Pitts-Taylor also is professor of science in society, professor of sociology.

8 Faculty Awarded Tenure

In its recent meeting, the Board of Trustees conferred tenure on eight faculty members, effective July 1, 2015. They are: Associate Professor of Sociology Robyn Autry, Associate Professor of Government Sonali Chakravarti, Associate Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Amy MacQueen, Associate Professor of Music Paula Matthusen, Associate Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Rich Olson, Associate Professor of Mathematics Christopher Rasmussen, Associate Professor of Economics Damien Sheehan-Connor, and Associate Professor of Classics Eirene Visvardi.

Brief descriptions of their research and teaching appear below:

Associate Professor Autry is a cultural sociologist with broad interests in collective identity, memory, and visual culture. Her research on the ways in which the past is constructed and represented at museums has been published in several journals. Autry’s book, Desegregating the Past: The Public Life of Memory in South Africa and the United States, analyzes clashes around the development of history museums in both countries as a window into the desire for particular personal and collective orientations toward the past (Columbia University Press, forthcoming). She teaches courses on comparative race and ethnicity, the future, and memory and violence.

Faculty, Staff Share Service- and Project-Based Learning Stories

#THISISWHY

On April 15, faculty and staff met to share their service- and project-based learning stories during an Academic (Technology) Roundtable lunch at the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life. A(T)R lunches are designed to promote conversation, cooperation and the sharing of information, ideas and resources among faculty members, librarians, graduate students and staff.

Barbara Juhasz, director of service-learning, associate professor of psychology, associate professor of neuroscience and behavior, led the session, providing an overview of service-learning at Wesleyan as well as the variety of ways that service can be used as a pedagogical tool. Other speakers included Rob Rosenthal, director of the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life, John E. Andrus Professor of Sociology; Peggy Carey-Best, Health Professions Partnership Initiative advisor; Cathy Lechowicz, director of the Center for Community Partnerships; Sara MacSorley, director of the Green Street Teaching and Learning Center; Janet Burge, associate professor of computer science; Jim Donady, professor of biology, director of Health Professions Partnership Initiative; Anna Shusterman, associate professor of psychology; and Katja Kolcio, associate professor of dance.

eve_atr_2015-0415230622

Jim Donady discusses his ongoing service-learning work at Connecticut Valley Hospital. Left to right: Donady; Sara MacSorley, who shared how service-learning courses can interface with programs at Green Street; Janet Burge, who spoke about how project-based activities are incorporated into her service-learning course, Software Engineering; and Director of Service Learning Barbara Juhasz.

 

Wang ’16 Advocates for Asian American Civil Rights

Alton Wang '16 is a sociology and government double major who plans to enter public service after graduation, advocating for the rights of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.

Alton Wang ’16 is a sociology and government double major who plans to enter public service after graduation, advocating for the rights of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. He’s currently a member of the Asian American Student Collective. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

#THISISWHY
In this Q&A, meet Alton Wang from the Class of 2016. 

Q: Hi Alton! Please tell us about where you grew up and your high school experience.

A: I grew up in Arcadia, Calif., which is about 40 minutes outside of downtown Los Angeles. The community in my high school was predominantly Asian and Asian American, so most people looked like me. I personally wanted to break out from that mold and try something completely different for college. So not only was Wesleyan was far away from home, it was not a place I’d ever previously considered going to college.

Q: So how did you wind up coming to Wesleyan?

A: I discovered it by chance. A guidance counselor suggested that I might be interested in Wesleyan, so I said, “Sure, I’ll add it to my list.” I didn’t give it another thought until the acceptances were in and I had to choose a school. When I visited Wesleyan in the spring of my senior year of high school, I fell in love with the campus. I just felt really comfortable here.

Dupuy’s Book Focuses on Haiti’s Fragile Democracy

Book by Alex Dupuy.

Book by Alex Dupuy.

Alex Dupuy, the John E. Andrus Professor of Sociology, is the author of a new book, Haiti: From Revolutionary Slaves to Powerless Citizens. Essays on the Politics and Economics of Underdevelopment, 1804-2013published by Routledge on Feb. 24.

The book examines Haiti’s position within the global economic and political order, including how more dominant countries have exploited Haiti over the last 200 years. Haiti’s fragile democracy has been founded on subordination to and dominance of foreign powers.

Sociology’s Long, Coven ’13 Present Teacher Evaluation Research

Assistant Professor of Sociology Daniel Long and Rebecca Coven ’13 presented their research on teacher evaluations at a press conference held by the Connecticut Education Association March 6 in Hartford, Conn.

Assistant Professor of Sociology Daniel Long and Rebecca Coven ’13 presented their research on teacher evaluations at a press conference held by the Connecticut Education Association March 6 in Hartford, Conn.

When Rebecca Coven ’13 decided to dedicate herself to the arduous task of completing a senior honors thesis, she was concerned that no one would ever read her work beyond the few professors grading it. So she was excited to have the opportunity to conduct relevant, timely research on teacher evaluations in the state of Connecticut, and share her findings at a press conference held in Hartford March 6 by the state’s largest teachers union.

Together with her advisor, Assistant Professor of Sociology Daniel Long, Coven spent her senior year conducting a review of a teacher evaluation pilot program run by the Connecticut Education Association in the Hamden, Conn. public schools. The CEA, which was looking to promote an alternative model of teacher evaluation to the one embraced by the state Board of Education in guidelines passed in June 2012, asked Long to conduct the external review of the pilot. Long invited Coven to help conduct the review as part of her senior honors thesis. Coven’s interest in education reform was sparked when she took Long’s Sociology of Education course during her sophomore year. She served as Long’s research assistant, collaborating with him on a study about the impact of increased instruction time on the achievement gap, including an apprenticeship in the Quantitative Analysis Center the summer after her junior year.

Coven’s thesis, titled, “No Teacher Left Behind: A Look at Alternative Systems of Educator Evaluation,” can be read on WesScholar here.

“It was exciting to know that my senior thesis would be read by other people, and was relevant to an important education debate going on in Connecticut,” said Coven. 

Rosenthal to Direct Allbritton Center 2014-17

Rob Rosenthal

Rob Rosenthal

Rob Rosenthal, the John E. Andrus Professor of Sociology, will serve as Director of the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life for a three-year term, beginning July 2014.

Rosenthal has a distinguished history of initiating programs to integrate public life into the Wesleyan curriculum: He was the founding director of the Center for Service Learning, founding co-director the Center for Community Partnerships, and as Provost he instituted the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship and developed new programming within the Allbritton Center including the year-long “music in public life” initiative.

Rosenthal served as provost from 2010-2013 and oversaw Wesleyan’s reaccreditation process. Immediately before becoming provost, he served as vice-chair then chair of the faculty. He has served as chair of the Sociology Department and been elected to the Advisory Committee and the Educational Policy Committee. His numerous awards include Wesleyan’s Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching; the “Leadership in Community Service” award from the Connecticut Department of Higher Education; a Fulbright teaching grant to teach at Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, Greece; the Distinguished Service award from The Connection; and he was co-winner of the Association of Humanist Sociology’s 1994-1995 book award for Homeless in Paradise.

In Rosenthal’s most recent project, he collected and co-edited musician and activist Pete Seeger’s private writings; the book, Pete Seeger: In His Own Words, was published in 2012 to much accolade. Rosenthal is also author of Playing for Change: Music in the Service of Social Movements (with Dick Flacks); Homeless in Paradise: A Map of the Terrain; and more than 20 articles and essays.  He is also a producer, musician, and musical researcher on three recordings: Seattle 1919, Reagonomics Blues, and We Won’t Move: Songs of the Tenants’ Movement.

Long Writes, Speaks on the Impact of Class Time on Children’s Learning

Daniel Long

Daniel Long

The Hartford Courant on Dec. 7 published an op-ed by Assistant Professor of Sociology Daniel Long about a new pilot program in Connecticut and four other states to increase time that children spend in school. Long responded skeptically to the program, writing that past experiments with increased learning time have shown mixed results, and are an expensive, unproven way to improve student learning. At a time when Connecticut school districts face increasingly tight budgets, the state should focus on reform efforts backed by research, Long writes.

On Dec. 20, Long also participated in a discussion on the impact of increased class time on learning outcomes on WNPR’s Where We Live.

5 Questions With . . . Sociology’s Daniel Long on Education Reform

Daniel Long, assistant professor of sociology, studies education in the U.S. and abroad. In February, he was invited to testify before the Connecticut General Assembly’s Education Committee about education reform plans.

In this issue of  The Wesleyan Connection we ask 5 Questions of Daniel Long, assistant professor of sociology.

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy has made education reform a major priority this year. He has proposed a sweeping package of reforms, including overhauling teacher tenure, increasing Education Cost Sharing grants to struggling districts, funding more preschool slots for low-income children, and requiring districts to contribute additional money for students to attend charter schools.

Q: Connecticut suffers from the highest black/white and poor/non-poor achievement gap in the country. What can be done to address this?

A: In Connecticut—as well as nationwide—longitudinal studies have shown that the achievement gap is constant or decreases during the months that children are enrolled in school, meaning black and white and poor and non-poor students learn at the same rate while in school. But the gaps are quite large before students enter school, and expand during the summer. To address this, many have suggested increasing the time kids spend in school, and offering academic enrichment activities to poor and minority students during the summer. Experimental studies have also shown that really high-quality early childhood education—which includes small class sizes, great teachers, social workers who support parents, and adequate health services—can make a big difference. Unfortunately, many early childhood education programs, such as Head Start, don’t meet these standards. The Perry Preschool Project in Michigan and the Harlem Children’s Zone in New York are examples of really effective programs.

Q: Governor Malloy seeks to boost funding for charter schools, requiring municipalities to provide an additional $1,000 per student. Do you think this is a good use of taxpayer money?

A: No, I don’t. On average, students perform equal or worse in charter schools than in public schools. Connecticut’s charter schools do a little better than the national average—in part,

Sociology’s Greg Goldberg Expert on Media and Society, Political Economy

Greg Goldberg

Greg Goldberg joined the Sociology Department as an assistant professor. His research interests include political economy, social theory, media and popular culture, digital and network technologies and music and sound.

This semester he is teaching Introductory Sociology and Media and Society.

“Thus far, I’ve found the students at Wesleyan to be ambitious, open, creative and independent thinkers; they are truly a pleasure to teach,” he says. “They have sharp critical thinking skills, and are game for anything I can think to throw at them. I’ve been continually impressed by their ability to engage complex social questions and issues, and I appreciate that so many students are dedicated to issues of social justice, which is one of the things that attracted me to Wesleyan.”

Goldberg received his Ph.D. in sociology and a certificate in interactive technology and pedagogy from the City University of New York in 2009. His dissertation was titled “Own Nothing, Have Everything: Peer-to-peer Networks and the New Cultural Economy.”

Goldberg worked as a visiting assistant professor at Wesleyan since Fall 2010, and as a adjunct assistant professor and adjunct lecturer at CUNY since 2009. He’s taught classes on mass communications, mass media, political economy of culture in the digital age.

Coming from an interdisciplinary background, where he received a B.A. from the Gallatin School at NYU, Goldberg values opportunities to engage with faculty from other disciplines, and Wesleyan’s administration and faculty really facilitate that process, he says.

“The Sociology Department here allows me to integrate

Cutler Speaks about Connecticut Union Members in Hartford Courant

Jonathan Cutler

In an opinion piece for The Hartford Courant, Jonathan Cutler, chair and associate professor of sociology, explains how a austerity budget deal brokered by Connecticut’s governor with a coalition of public employee union leaders was then torpedoed by rank-and-file union members. The Connecticut deal was initially applauded nationally because Democratic Governor Malloy, unlike Wisconsin’s Republican governor Scott Walker, seemed better positioned to win painful union concessions without sparking street protests by labor and liberals. Those applause came too early, however, as state employee union members rejected the cuts agreed by an anti-democratic union structure created by the the state and foisted on the unions years ago.

In the piece, Cutler writes, “The change in the bylaws may represent a defining moment for state labor unions,” Cutler writes in the piece. “Traditionally, each individual union retained control of its own wage negotiations, and coalition bargaining was limited to retirement and health benefits. As is clear from a wage-freeze provision in the proposed concession agreement, the SEBAC [State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition] has now extended its reach into the domain of wage bargaining.

At its inception, unions fought against mandatory coalition bargaining. They lost that battle but as a sweetener to wary union members and some skeptical union leaders, the SEBAC bylaws set a high threshold for the ratification of agreements. This put limits on SEBAC’s power — and the state’s power to control collective bargaining with state employees. Now, if the recently revised bylaws stand up to challenges over the legality of the process by which SEBAC leaders made amendments, SEBAC will be able to put over concessions even if 49 percent of the union members and/or seven of the 15 individually elected unions are opposed.

Some disgruntled union members are being courted by outside unions. They may throw out their current union in an attempt to get out from under SEBAC. But it won’t work. They cannot escape SEBAC. And under the new bylaws, their ability to influence SEBAC has been decimated.”

Read the full opinion piece online here.

 

Stark Receives Early Career Award for Paper

Laura Stark

Laura Stark, assistant professor of sociology, received the Burnham Early Career Award from the History of Science Society for her paper, “The Science of Ethics: Deception, The Resilient Self, And the APA Code of Ethics, 1966-1973.” The paper was published in the fall 2010 issue of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences.

The History of Science Society’s Forum calls the paper “original and compelling.”

“Stark’s paper offers a fascinating recreation of the process by which the American Psychological Association (APA) arrived at ethical guidelines for human research,” the citation reads. “Expertly taking advantage of little-known archival resources, [she] examines how a special committee was created, how it collected survey responses