Academics Embodying the Conditions They Aim to Change

I enjoyed the read, for sure. With the Internet and online journalism, I like how visible “non-traditional” academics are these days, telling their stories that bring to life both their personal saga and the academic issues that they engage (and how the two are intricately intertwined). This is something that I have seen more recently in PhDs from the social sciences: people getting PhDs to institute social change, embodying the very issues that they strive to change. (in his case a master’s) It’s a complex and fascinating interplay.

“Lights, Camera, Action”

Enjoy documentary films about the environment?  Think film is an excellent way to raise awareness about environmental issues and catalyze action for environmental change? If so, come to the Delaware Environmental Institute’s Film Festival later this month for “three days of unexpected laughs, stunning images, inspiring people, and provocative ideas.”

Check out this link for more information:

The Internet, Wireless Campuses, and the Professoriate

With the proliferation of laptops and wireless devices in classrooms, coupled with wireless classrooms (not to mention entire campuses), faculty and their teaching/teaching methods are open to observation, dissemination, and scrutiny at the push of a few buttons.  This has pushed professors’ teaching even further into the public eye, inviting new issues of privacy, intellectual property, and opinions far and wide.  Check out this recent story about Patricia Adler, a Professor of Sociology who, after 20 years of doing a lecture on prostitution, suddenly was subjected to this new found form of scrutiny:

Crowd Sourcing and Exploratory Journalism

National Public Radio (NPR) has been asking users to send in their experiences on a variety of issues, from race and gender impacts on acting auditions to sports injuries (check them out on Facebook, for example).  This form of “crowd sourcing” users’ embodied experiences and integrating them into exploratory journalism is very similar to academic approaches that seek to find a unique form of knowledge based on a synthesis of an individual’s experiences and scholarly statements on issues.  What does this approach say about the role of social media in generating new forms of knowledge, as well as leading the way to asking new questions based on an individual’s or community’s perceptions and experiences? How do users’ experiences complement scholarship? How do they differ? What are the consequences of this?

Enter the Worlds of Others Through the Op-Doc

Major news outlet The New York Times has been producing a series of “op-docs” that immerse you in the worlds of others through brief, visually appealing films about various issues in diverse communities. Here’s one from last month (December 2013) about The 12 O’Clock Boys in Baltimore:

Honors Faculty “Coffee Talk”

I was honored to be selected as the first faculty member to participate in the Honors Faculty Outreach Event this month.  Our “Coffee Talk” involved interesting opinions and observations on the impact of social media / social networking on the self and identity.  In the end, are we all really “cyborgs?”

Are we all cyborgs?

Update: here’s are TWO great links to how our technology is not only an extension of us, but how we are increasingly an extension of our technology.

Wealth Concentration in the United States

As we discuss in my introductory sociology courses, Marxist observations about the concentration of wealth are still as relevant today as they were when Marx first penned them in the 1800′s.  Furthermore, Mills’ classic “The Power Elite,” 50 years after publication, is alarmingly relevant.  Here’s some information on the concentration of wealth in the United States (citations found below video):