Keeping with tradition, the Department of Sociology has invited an alumna/us to...
Professor Stone and Graduate Alumni Polly Rizova and Xiaoshuo Hou Publish Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity and Nationalism
The Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity and Nationalism is a five volume, 1.5 million word reference work to be published in December 2015 by Wiley-Blackwell. Consisting of hundreds of entries written by leading experts on the topics from all over the world, it also has many contributions from scholars drawn from both the faculty and advanced graduate students from the Sociology Department and Boston University generally.
Among the five editors are John Stone, Polly Rizova and Xiaoshuo Hou, the last two being PhD sociology graduates who received their degrees in 2003 and 2008 respectively, and are currently Associate Professors at the Willamette Graduate School of Management in Portland OR and the sociology department of St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY. The department faculty who have contributed articles to the Encyclopedia include Nazli Kibria, Julian Go, Susan Eckstein, Liah Greenfeld, Sigrun Olafsdottir and Ashley Mears, as well as more than a dozen by John Stone. A select group of some of our best PhD and MA students, from Sociology, African American Studies, Sociology and Social Work, and other social science programs have also written on their specialist areas. The Encyclopedia will be a definitive reference work providing insight and understanding about so many of the central challenges confronting modern society.
Following a June announcement by governor of Puerto Rico that the commonwealth could not pay its $72 billion debts, the island’s Public Finance Corporation defaulted on most of its debt in August. With a 12.4% unemployment rate, a housing bust, drought, and a mass exodus tens of thousands of middle-class workers to the United States in search of jobs, Puerto Rico is now seeking debt forgiveness and other forms of relief.
In an article in BU Today, Professor Julian Go discusses the history leading up to the defaults, possible solutions, and similarities to the Greek debt crisis.
Professor Patricia Rieker was interviewed as an expert to chime in on the effects of poverty on young people as a part of WalletHub.com’s recent study, “2015’s Best and Worst States for Underprivileged Children.”
Described as a comparison of “the welfare of young people within the 50 states and the District of Columbia to underscore the social issues plaguing one of the most vulnerable groups of Americans,” the article collected data from sources across the country, including the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, to develop a ranking system for all 50 states across 15 relevant metrics. They also polled 22 experts, including Dr. Rieker, to comment on the consequences of childhood poverty later in life, as well as the roles of governments, families and communities in mitigating negative effects of poverty on children.
In a post on the University of California Press Blog, Professor Catherine Connell writes about the “legal rights lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans are still struggling to secure, including the right to employment.” Citing four decades of failed attempts at passing federal protections, Connell discusses the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a bill expected to be reintroduced – for the eleventh time – to Congress within the month, which would protect all employees federally from employment discrimination based upon sexual identity and/or gender expression.
Drawing from interviews with gay and lesbian teachers conducted in 2008 for her recently published book, “School’s Out: Gay and Lesbian Teachers in the Classroom” (University of California Press, 2014), Connell considers the impact of this legislation and calls for even more work to be done “to help gay and lesbian teachers and by extension, LGBT workers more generally, feel truly protected.”
It is in this spirit that we welcome our new colleagues Neha Gondal and Saida Grundy, who join the faculty this Fall.
Dr. Neha Gondal received her PhD from Rutgers University in 2013 following which she served as Assistant Professor of Sociology at The Ohio State University for two years. She specializes in the study of culture and stratification through the lens of social networks using quantitative, interpretive, and mathematical techniques.
Dr. Saida Grundy received her PhD in August 2014 in Sociology and Women’s Studies from the University of Michigan. She studies the dynamics of race, class and gender and has conducted research on race, masculinity and class reproduction at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
Welcome Neha and Saida!
“Mythmaking is as central to sustaining our economy as proft-making, particularly as severe environmental degradation, breathtaking inequality, and increasing alienation among youth push capitalism against its own contradictions.”
In her newly published book, The New Prophets of Capital, Adjunct Professor Nicole Aschoff discusses the “new generation of wealthy mythmakers, masquerading as progressive thinkers,” who have emerged during this time of crisis “to reinvent the free market as the solution to society’s problems.” From Oprah to Sheryl Sandberg, John Mackey to Bill and Melinda Gates, these “new prophets of capital buttress the exploitative system, even as the cracks grow more visible.”
Nicole argues that “if we are serious about addressing the miseries and anxieties on which these prophets prey, […] we must give up our belief in the inevitability of the capitalist system that they mythologize.”
Professor Catherine Connell has been selected the recipient of the Frank and Lynne Wisneski Award for Excellence in Teaching. According to the College of Arts and Sciences website, this honor is “[A]warded annually to CAS faculty who exemplify deep and broad commitment, skill, effectiveness, impact, and leadership in teaching,” and recognizes not just excellence inside scheduled classes, but “the full range of pedagogical and curricular activities in which” faculty engage, including academic advising, mentorship, curriculum development, pedagogical innovation and collaborative scholarship with students.
A qualitative researcher, Professor Connell’s teaching focuses on the social organization of inequality by examining how the intersections of race, class, gender, and sexual identities and inequalities are created, sustained and/or challenged in different social settings. She recently published School’s Out: Gay and Lesbian Teachers in the Classroom, which considers the experiences of gay and lesbian identified public school teachers in California and Texas and the pressures they face inside and outside the classroom. Her next research project will consider the legal and cultural ramifications of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell on the US military.
Professor Connell will be recognized at the final CAS Faculty Meeting of the year, on Monday, April 27, at 4:00 PM, in CAS Room 522.
Susan Eckstein, a Professor of Sociology and International Relations in the Pardee School of Global Studies, has been awarded a 2015 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship for her research on Cuban immigration exceptionalism.
In its ninety-first competition, the Guggenheim Fellowship awarded 173 Fellowships to 175 scholars, chosen from over 3,100 applicants “on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise.”
Author of The Immigrant Divide: How Cuban Americans Changed the US and Their Homeland, Professor Eckstein has previously been awarded grants and fellowships from a number of prestigious institutes, including the MacArthur Foundation, Radcliffe Institute and the American Council of Learned Societies (among others). During her fellowship in 2016, Professor Eckstein plans to study U.S.-Cuban immigration policy, noting in an interview with the Pardee School that “Cubans get immigration privileges no other foreign born gets. Any Cuban who touches U. S. land has a right to stay, get a green card, and enjoy a path to citizenship.” She plans to study this “exceptionalism” and its historical and future impacts.
Professor Catherine Connell’s “School’s Out: Gay and Lesbian Teachers in the Classroom” was featured in an article on DatingAdvice.com on February 24th. In an interview with Hayley Matthews, Professor Connell describes her research on the pressures that gay and lesbian public school teachers face inside and outside of the classroom.
“On the one hand, gay and lesbian teachers have to contend with this expectation that they keep their sexuality out of the classroom and that they present themselves as very gender normative, and on the other hand, there’s this increasing demand within the gay pride community that all LGBTs should be out and proud at all times,” she said.
Professor Joseph Harris was recently invited to travel to Bangkok, Thailand to share knowledge and insights related to the political economy of universal health coverage as part of a workshop sponsored by the World Bank for countries in the Southeast Asian region moving towards universal health coverage. The workshop was held in the days leading up to the invitation-only Prince Mahidol Awards Conference for members of the global health community in Bangkok, Thailand from Jan 26-31, 2015, which Harris also attended.
This engagement builds on Harris’ previous work on universal coverage and past work with international organizations, such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). He contributed to the World Bank’s landmark report released in 2014 – Universal Health Coverage for Inclusive and Sustainable Development – which represented the Bank’s first involvement in the political economy of universal coverage. Harris also previously served as a delegate to the Japan-World Bank Conference on Universal Coverage in December 2013 and led the political economy section of a workshop on universal coverage for members of the global health community in Washington in October 2014.
These experiences naturally build on Harris’ research on the politics of expanding access to healthcare and HIV/AIDS medication. He is currently finalizing his book manuscript on the politics of access to healthcare and medicine in Thailand, Brazil, and South Africa, and his article, “’Developmental Capture’ of the State: Explaining Thailand’s Universal Coverage Policy,” was recently featured in the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law.