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Professor Mary Moran Wins Teaching Award, Co-Curates Exhibit of African Art

By Chris Henke on May 20, 2016

The awards just keep coming for SOAN faculty, and Professor Mary Moran was recognized with the 2016 Colgate Alumni Corporation Distinguished Teaching Award.  Awarded each year to recognize “on behalf of all Colgate alumni, outstanding teachers at the university,” this most recent award follows the AAUP Professor of the Year award that Professor Moran won in 2014.  Congratulations, Professor Moran, for your dedication to teaching and lasting impact on Colgate students!

Professor Mary Moran with an African mask from the Longyear Museum collections.

Professor Mary Moran with an African mask from the Longyear Museum of Anthropology.

Professor Moran also spoke recently at the gallery opening for an exhibit featuring African art, curated in collaboration with Christy DeLair, Curator of Colgate’s Longyear Museum of Anthropology, and students from Professor Moran’s Spring 2016 course, “Introduction to African Studies.”  The exhibition, entitled, “Opening the Africa Collection,” features works from the Longyear’s extensive collections of African art and is intended to convey some of the conceptual, ethical, and practical challenges involved with representing culture through material artifacts.  Using an “open storage” model, the exhibition includes a wide range of materials from the African collection, and provides the viewer with a sense of the scope and variety of African material culture.  The exhibition is open through June 5, 2016—please visit the Longyear Gallery in Alumni Hall!

Professor Moran and Longyear Curator Christy DeLair speak with a visitor to the "Opening the Africa Collection" exhibit

Professor Moran and Longyear Curator Christy DeLair speak with a visitor to the “Opening the Africa Collection” exhibit

Professor Moran speaks with a group of students at the exhibition opening.

Professor Moran speaks with a group of students at the exhibition opening.

The exhibition will be open through June 5, 2016 in the Longyear Museum gallery in Colgate's Alumni Hall.

The exhibition will be open through June 5, 2016 in the Longyear Museum gallery in Colgate’s Alumni Hall.

Photo credits: Longyear Museum of Anthropology; thanks to Christy DeLair, curator.


SOAN Professor Rhonda Levine Recognized with Balmuth Teaching Award

By Chris Henke on May 20, 2016

Earlier this semester, SOAN Professor Rhonda Levine was honored with Colgate’s Balmuth Award for Distinguished Teaching.  The award, named for legendary Colgate philosophy professor, Jerry Balmuth, is awarded annually to recognize especially distinguished careers in the classroom.  Professor Levine was SOAN’s second honoree, as Professor Tony Aveni also won the award in 2012.  This great story from Colgate’s Mark Walden features Professor Levine’s award and impressive career; you can also see dozens of tributes from her students on this Tumblr site that we created to recognize her last semester of teaching in Spring 2015.  Congratulations, Professor Levine!

Professor Levine with SOAN colleagues at the Balmuth Award reception.

Professor Levine with SOAN colleagues at the Balmuth Award reception.


A Sociology Major & Minor…A Writer and a Chef!

By Department of Sociology and Anthropology on April 8, 2016

Erica Pais ’17, a Sociology Major, is an aspiring chef.  Jake Pulver ’16, a sociology minor, is an aspiring writer who hopefully was paid in delicious pastry for this article he wrote about Erica.  It is found on Spoon University – the Colgate chapter, an online food publication titled‘Paistry’ Chef Extraordinaire: An Interview With Colgate’s Very Own Baking Entrepreneur”.  Pais will be taking part in Colgate’s Entrepreneur Weekend. She will have a Baking Connections (her company name) booth (with cookies!) set up during the Student Venture Demos from 11 am to 3 pm Saturday, April 9, 2016 in the Hall of Presidents, and will be making her pitch on stage at 1:10.  Read the wonderful article highlighting two Sociology students here.

Erica was also highlighted in a Colgate article about entrepreneurship news posted on August 19, 2015.


“Medicine Man” unveiled in the SOAN lounge

By Chris Henke on February 24, 2016

Recent visitors to our lounge may have noticed a new addition to the SOAN community: Medicine Man, a sculpture by artist Peter Jones, was unveiled in a ceremony honoring the work and legacy of Carol Ann Lorenz, Associate Professor of Native American Studies.

Medicine Man, by artist Peter Jones

Medicine Man, by artist Peter Jones

Professor Lorenz served as the curator of Colgate’s Longyear Museum of Anthropology for 27 years, curating more than 100 exhibitions and acquiring thousands of new objects for the museum’s collection.  As she left her role as curator and moved to her new position as Director of Colgate’s program in Native American Studies, it was an important moment to recognize the incredible dedication she has given to the Longyear and her work educating students via its collections.

Professor Lorenz speaks at the unveiling of Medicine Man; artist Peter Jones at left

Professor Lorenz speaks at the unveiling of Medicine Man; artist Peter Jones at left

Jones’s Medicine Man, which will be on permanent display in the SOAN lounge, embodies a range of contemporary issues facing Native American communities, including the appropriation and loss of Native traditions, health conditions that disproportionately impact Native populations, and the role of technology in contemporary times.  The sculpture is made of a range of materials, including a plastic bottle from Jones’s own medications (see below for the full description).

From the exhibit description:

“Peter B. Jones (Onondaga)

Medicine Man (2015)

Clay, pigment, wood, sinew, plastic medicine bottle, clay pills, copper wire, diabetic test strips, and glass, brass, wood, and plastic beads.

Dedicated in honor of Carol Ann Lorenz in recognition of 27 years of invaluable curatorial service to the Longyear Museum of Anthropology.”


Beyond Colgate: Urban Sociology Goes to NYC

By Department of Sociology and Anthropology on December 7, 2015

Submitted by Prof. Kim Creasap

On October 24, 2015, 16 students in SOC 305: Urban Sociology and I traveled to the Lower East Side of Manhattan to conduct mini-ethnographies of various places and spaces in the neighborhood.  An important site of NYC history and contemporary urban change, the Lower East Side offered us an incredible range of locations and communities to illustrate course themes.

Read more


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!

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