The American Sociological Association is putting out a newsletter geared toward undergraduate sociology majors. Titled, “The Independent Variable,” the fall edition of the newsletter can be found here.
Professor Mary Moran has been very busy this semester on sabbatical, but using much of that time to share her studies of Liberian culture amidst the focus on Liberia and the Ebola outbreak. Read this fantastic NPR story on Liberian burial rituals which quotes Mary Moran extensively.
Lilyan Jones is a 2013 Colgate graduate and studied with the SOAN (anthropology) and NAST departments. She was recently awarded the 2014-2015 Ann Ray Internship from SAR – School for Advanced Research. The School for Advanced Research, Indian Arts Research Center (IARC) offers two nine-month internships to individuals who are recent college graduates, current graduate students, or junior museum professionals interested in furthering their professional museum experience and enhancing their intellectual capacity for contributing to the expanding field and discourse of museum studies. Read more about Lilyan’s internship and the School for Advanced Research HERE.
According to a new global poll by Ipsos Mori, Americans greatly overestimate the US unemployment rate. They thought it was 32% when it is actually 6%. They also vastly overestimated the teen pregnancy rate – the average answer was 24% when it is really 3%. Respondents also hugely overestimated the percentage of immigrants, Muslims, and senior citizens in the country.
It turns out that we are not alone. Respondents in Canada, Australia, Japan, South Korea, and nine European countries overestimated those same numbers. Sadly, though, we did worse than most. The US ranked only behind the Italians in a measure Ipsos calls the Index of Ignorance.
Submitted by Professor Carolyn Hsu
In the midst of the recent student sit-in at Colgate, SOAN had the pleasure of hosting the award winning filmmakers Ira McKinnley and Bhawin Suchak to preview their soon to be released documentary, “The Throwaways.” It is a timely film given the recent issues in Ferguson, MO, covering the experiences of New York state native Ira McKinley, a chronically homeless African American male. It offers a first hand look at the forces of urban poverty and police brutality that plague minority communities in Albany, NY.
News outlet Democracy Now! recently aired an extended interview with the filmmakers, featuring many clips from the film. In addition, the filmmakers have made other material available online. Ira McKinley’s YouTube page and Bhawin Suchak’s Vimeo’s page host footage shot for the film as well as other pieces of interest, including their coverage of the recent Occupy movement.
You may also be interested in the Youth FX page, a summer film school for Albany, NY youths run by Bhawin. Their Vimeo page includes a collection of short films made by students of the program.
-submitted by Professor Joe Gibbons
SOAN’s local expert on West Africa, Professor Mary Moran, has coedited a series of analyses and responses to the Ebola crisis in the online version of the journal, Cultural Anthropology. In the introduction to this series, Professor Moran and her coeditor, Daniel Hoffman, seek to put Ebola in context, both culturally and historically, and argue for the importance of a deeper understanding of the recent histories of countries such as Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone in order to more effectively address the disease: “In the current epidemic, as in the violence that preceded it and in the long uncertain period to come, intervention and understanding are not separate. One is not possible without the other.” Everyone has seen news reports about the recent Ebola epidemic, but these essays provide the background that you will not find in other media—take a look to learn more.
Professor Moran also gave a talk recently at Duke University on the potential political fallout for Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf; you can read the text of her talk here.
In contrast to other majors, students often come into Colgate with very little experience of anthropology (or sociology – but that’s the next article). So why study anthropology?
Think about some of the hot trends in business, politics, and education today:
• Internationalization and globalization
• Diversity, cross-cultural communication, and understanding
• Multi-disciplinary research and knowledge
All of these things are at the heart of anthropology, and they are what anthropologists have been doing for over a century.
Anthropology initially focused on studying foreign cultures, but for decades anthropologists have been using those techniques to study their own societies as well.
Anthropology is inherently interdisciplinary, designed to look deeply into societies across time and space. For example, archaeology focuses on material culture, making sense of the past, but also drawing connections to issues in contemporary societies. In general, anthropology examines how people think about family structures, economic systems, health and well-being, legal frameworks, food systems, body image, and media influences–to name just a few areas of inquiry.
As a result, anthropology provides students with the skills to meet the demands of an increasingly transborder world.
To learn more, see
This is Anthropology
“Anthropology: the most humanistic of the sciences and the most scientific of the humanities.” American Anthropological Association
Submitted by Professors Carolyn Hsu & Michelle Bigenho
Before I went to college, I had never taken a class in sociology. This is pretty common for Colgate students as well. So why major in sociology? There are a lot of reasons, but here are a few:
- Sociologists study social problems in order to understand them, and to make the world a better place. Some of our big topics are inequality, crime, poverty, immigration, and environmental change.
- Sociologists study social change and how it is affecting people. The discipline that gives you the skills to study the rise of social media, for example, or the social effects of our changing economy.
- Speaking of skills, sociology teaches students to be adept in both quantitative (statistical) and qualitative data analysis.
To learn more, see Why a Sociology Major?:
“[Sociology] provides students with the intellectual tools needed to make sense of the shifting and conflictual social world we live in, and this in turn permits them to contribute to solutions for the most difficult social problems that we face.”
—Daniel Little, Huffington Post
Associate Professor of Sociology
Dear SOAN students,
Welcome back for another year at Colgate! I hope you had a great summer and are excited about starting a new semester of courses and activities. If you are studying off-campus this semester, I wish you the best during your time away from Colgate. I will be serving again as department chair of SOAN this year, and I’m writing with some information to help you make the most of SOAN opportunities and events in the Fall 2014 term. Please read on…
Being sociology and anthropology majors has definitely shaped our time at Colgate. For example, we recently co-presented a poster at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Society of American Archaeology (SAA) in Austin, TX. For this blog post, we wanted to share our experiences, and offer advice for future and current SOCI & ANTH majors.
Both of us came to Colgate not planning on majoring in sociology or anthropology, but we changed our minds after taking Introduction to Sociology, Anthropology, and Archaeology in three consecutive semesters! This started our journey into exploring all aspects of being a SOAN major with an emphasis on archaeology and museum studies.