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racial representation on U.S. college campuses

By Chris Henke on November 19, 2015

For months now, students at the University of Missouri have been protesting racism on campus. Among other complaints is that Blacks are underrepresented in the student body, compared to their demographics in the state.  Is Mizzou unusual in this regard?  Or is the underrepresentation of Black students a more widespread problem?

At the data website FiveThirtyEight, Anna Maria Barry-Jester and Ben Casselman run the numbers and find that Mizzou is typical.  At most schools across America, they write, “African-Americans are underrepresented relative to their share of the 18-to 24-year-old population in the state where the University is located. This is true regardless of region, and the difference in the percentages tends to widen in states that have a higher percentage of black residents.  Mizzou – where 8.2% of undergraduates are black, compared with 15% of the state’s college-age residents – is almost exactly in line with its peers in terms of how representative its student body is.”

How does Colgate do?  According to the website, 5% of the current undergraduate population is Black.  In New York State, the percentage of Black 18-24-year-olds is about 17%.  You could argue that number is strongly skewed by New York City, and doesn’t apply to upstate.  Indeed, Madison County is less than 1% Black, although nearby Syracuse is 25% African-American. (Both of those statistics refer to the whole population, since I couldn’t find the numbers for just college-age people.)  However, Colgate does not draw its student population only from central New York, or even from just New York State, but instead from the whole United States, and even the rest of the world.  Since racial categories are socially constructed differently in different countries, I’ll leave foreign countries out of it, but in 2012, 16% of the high school graduates in the United States were Black.

submitted by Professor Carolyn Hsu

soan student/staff/faculty happy hour!

By Chris Henke on October 7, 2015

Please join us at Donovan’s Pub on Wednesday, October 14 (4:30-6:30pm) for the first Happy Hour of the semester!  Free food and drink will be available for all, and we welcome all members of the SOAN community to join us for conversation and fun.  Interested in our majors/minors in Anthropology and Sociology?  We will have information sessions available for students seeking more information about our courses and degree programs.  See you there!

spelunking archaeologists behind recent Homo naledi discovery

By Chris Henke on September 16, 2015

You may have read the news last week about a new addition to the family tree of humanity, found deep in a South African cave.  But did you know that the fossils for Homo naledi were first spotted by a team of women archaeologists chosen for their spelunking (caving) skills?  Check out this profile of these “underground astronauts.”

submitted by Professor Mary Moran

Welcome from Paul Lopes, new SOAN Chair

By Department of Sociology and Anthropology on September 2, 2015

Hi SOAN Students!
It’s another school year. I hope you had a wonderful summer and are energized for the fall semester. I am the new incoming chair for the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. For those who are not familiar with my work, I’m a cultural sociologist who studies mass media and art. I teach the SOAN electives Media and Modern Society as well as American Popular Culture. I usually teach American Popular Culture every semester, but not this fall, as my duties as chair take up more of my time. But I hope to see some of you in this class next spring semester.
So here is some information I thought I’d pass your way.

Resource Room and Lounge Fourth Floor Alumni
Don’t forget we have a great resource room, Alumni 429/430, with working space dedicated to SOAN students. And there is a white board waiting for any announcements and tidbits of wisdom and fun from students. The lounge is also available to relax, study, or chat.
SOAN Faculty
Half of the regular faculty are on sabbatical this fall: Janel Benson, Michelle Bigenho, Jon Hyslop, Alicia Simmons, Emilio Spadola, and Nancy Ries. Professors Benson and Simmons will return in the spring.
We are lucky to have four visiting professors to help SOAN out. Lavinia Nicolae is returning for a second year as a visiting anthropologist. Two sociologists, Travis Beaver and Kimberly Creasap, are visiting this year. And finally Nick Shepherd is an archaeologist visiting as the A. Lindsay O’Connor Chair of American Institutions. Professor Shepherd is visiting us from the University of Cape Town in South Africa. All four visiting professors are bringing exciting new research and teaching into the SOAN department. Keep an eye out for their course offerings this year.
SOAN Events
Here are some events you might want to keep in mind.
Cho-Dunkin’ Tuesdays = This grand tradition will continue this year with Cho-Dunkin’ (yogurt and donuts) days in the SOAN lounge on September 8, October 20, November 10, and December 8 from 8:15am – 11:30am
SOAN Student Happy Hours = Another grand tradition continuing this year is the happy hour at Donovan’s Pub for SOAN students and prospective SOAN students. We will have two happy hours from 4:30 to 6:30 on Wednesday October 14 and Tuesday November 17.
Other Events
September, 17-18 “Local Food Cultures: Traditions and Futures.”
Thursday, September 17
7:15 pm – Meyerhoff Auditorium, Ho Science Center – “Edible Memory: How Tomatoes became Heirlooms and Apples became Antiques” – Dr. Jennifer Jordan, Professor of Sociology and Urban Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Friday, September 18
12:15pm – ALANA Cultural Center – Panel Discussion: “Experiences and Perspectives from Local Food Producers”
3:30 – Meyerhoff Auditorium, Ho Science Center – “Climate Change: Resilience and the Future of Food” – Dr. Laura Lengnick, Cultivating Resilience, LLC
12-1:30pm – Women’s Center – Maylei Blackwell – Geographies of Difference: Cautionary Tales from Transnational Feminist Travels

September 25, Friday = Summer Reading
3:30 – Little Auditorium – Valerie Purdie-Vaughns – “Identity Matters: How Stereotypes Affect Where We Live, Study, and Play”

October 2, Friday = Summer Reading
5pm – Golden Auditorium – “W.E.B. Du Bois: A Biography in Four Voices”

October 19, Monday
4:15 – Women’s Studies Center – Cati Connell – “Pride and Professionalism in the Lives of Gay and Lesbian Teachers”

October 27, Tuesday = Summer Reading
7:30pm – Chapel – Kiesa Laymon, author, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America

November 11, Wednesday
4:15 – Persson 27, Sociologist Aldon Morris on W. E. Du Bois

November 18, Wednesday
Case Library – Curtiss Cobb, a sociologist who works for Facebook and manages their Growth Population and Survey Sciences group. Curtiss will talk on the challenges of finding high quality data on developing countries and internet use and adoption in such countries.

Hope to see you around!
Professor Lopes

Professor Spadola wins another book prize

By Chris Henke on September 2, 2015

SOAN Professor Emilio Spadola continues to be recognized for his 2014 book, The Calls of Islam: Sufis, Islamists, and Mass Mediation in Urban Morocco.  After being awarded an Honorable Mention for the 2014 Clifford Geertz Award at last year’s meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Professor Spadola has just won a second Honorable Mention, this time for the 2015 L. Carl Brown Book Prize.  The Brown Prize is awarded annually by the American Institute of Maghrib (North African) Studies to the outstanding book in the area of North African studies.  Congratulations on the many recognitions for your book, Professor Spadola!

SOAN professor Jon Hyslop is huge on twitter

By Chris Henke on July 7, 2015

SOAN professor Jon Hyslop was in South Africa last week to deliver the keynote address at the meeting of the South African Historical Society.  Professor Hyslop’s lecture, titled, “African Independence, the New Left and the Rebirth of Social History: 1956-1964,” generated quite a few tweets of interest and excitement, including one colleague who described him as a “historian rock star.”  Take a look at some of these tweets from his fan base:

tweet for prof Hyslop's lecture at SAHS 2015

tweet for prof Hyslop's lecture at SAHS 2015

tweet for prof Hyslop's lecture at SAHS 2015

tweet for prof Hyslop's lecture at SAHS 2015

tweet for prof Hyslop's lecture at SAHS 2015

Professor Hsu publishes editorial

By Department of Sociology and Anthropology on July 6, 2015

Professor Carolyn Hsu, Associate Professor of Sociology, was recently notified that an editorial titled “Draft law may test resilience of Chinese civil society” was recently published in the East Asia Forum.  The piece can be found here: http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2015/07/02/draft-law-may-test-resilience-of-chinese-civil-society/

SOAN prof Michelle Bigenho launches new website on indigenous heritage

By Chris Henke on June 16, 2015

We are delighted to announce the launch of the Spanish-English bilingual website, “Rethinking Creativity, Recognition and Indigenous Heritage,” a work of public scholarship that examines some of the following questions:

· What happens when cultures come under regimes of intellectual property and/or heritage registration programs?

· What happens when these already entangled questions take center stage in a country like Bolivia, where much of the population might be identified as indigenous?

The conundrums of cultural and intellectual property rights, especially when intersecting with indigenous rights, continue to puzzle scholars and policy makers around the world. These dilemmas were central to the dialogues of Coroico 2012, a workshop organized in Bolivia by Colgate University’s Dr. Michelle Bigenho (SOAN/ALST), in collaboration with and Dr. Henry Stobart (Royal Holloway University of London).

In addition to reading about these conversations and methodologies, readers are encouraged to download, modify, and reuse the materials that were designed and structured for use in Coroico 2012, particularly the agenda, case studies, and related glossary. Dr. Bigenho and Dr. Stobart share these materials in the hope that they will spark more conversations, local debates, and necessarily distinct responses to these dilemmas.

The workshop, website, and related dissemination activities were funded through a National Science Foundation Grant (award #1156260). Any opinions, findings, conclusions and/or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

<submitted by Prof Michelle Bigenho>

Celebrating Rhonda Levine!

By Chris Henke on May 15, 2015

At the conclusion of the Spring 2015 term, Professor Rhonda Levine taught her final class after 33 years of work at Colgate.  To celebrate her amazing career, we asked some of her former students to contribute to a blog with comments about how she has impacted their lives.  Take a look, and please let me know if you would like to contribute to the blog, too.  Best wishes for your retirement, Professor Levine!

SOAN Honors students from the Colgate Class of 2015

By Department of Sociology and Anthropology on May 13, 2015
Honors Thesis 2015 1_opt cropped
Pictured above l. to r. Marielba Casabona, Cindy Gaete,
Suzanne Brewster,Christina Helm, & Elyse Cianfarano.

Five seniors presented their theses to the Sociology and Anthropology faculty on Wednesday May 6th.  High honors went to Christina Helm for her paper and research on “University Facebook Pages: Applying Interaction Ritual Theory to the Digital World.”  Honors went to four students – Cindy Gaete presenting her paper “Proud to be an Anchor Baby: Resistance and Agency of Stigmatized U.S.-Born Children of Unauthorized Parents.”;  Suzanne Brewster  wrote on “Attack Politics on Social Media: The Negative Campaigning Strategies of Male and Female 2014 Congressional Candidates.”; Elyse Cianfarano’s paper was titled “Colgate Contested: A Study in Power, Identity, and Community.” ; and  Marielba Casabona presented her research on “Patch-working Pathways Towards Higher Education: A Qualitative Study on the Experiences of Unauthorized Latina/o Students in California”.  Copies of all theses are available in the SOAN department library for viewing.  Congratulations to all of these students for their year-long efforts in researching, writing, and presenting their material!