America’s Cemeteries are Filled with Good Folks

We lose students all too often at Chico State. Some die from accidents, some from overdose, some by their own hand. Not many die as Melinda Driggers did last Thursday, though, on campus, in the middle of the day, in the middle of our Student Services Center. We got an email Monday from the University, … Continue reading America’s Cemeteries are Filled with Good Folks

The Best Book of the 21st Century (so far)

It's Monday and I don't know what you did this weekend but I finished one book (Americanah) and started another (Descent). Since I quit teaching, reading has returned as my favorite thing to do. I always had the time but never took it, something about the frenzy of teaching that made it so I could … Continue reading The Best Book of the 21st Century (so far)

The Toothache

“The Toothache” is excerpted from Marianne Paiva’s book Breathe: Essays from a Recovering Paramedic which tells of her life as a paramedic in rural areas of northern California in the 1990s. This particular story tells of the time she was called to take a man by ambulance with a toothache to the emergency room at … Continue reading The Toothache

Why we Make Stuff Up at Ethnography.com, and by the way, the American Anthropological Association Decided to Dissolve Itself  

Two weeks ago, we posted a really great essay by David Van Huff “A Tale Within a Tale: The Dual Nature of Ebenezer Scrooge.” David wrote this story for my class, and it helped me see Durkheim concept of the “Dual Nature” of humanity in a new way, which is why I wanted to post it. … Continue reading Why we Make Stuff Up at Ethnography.com, and by the way, the American Anthropological Association Decided to Dissolve Itself  

Yes, Feminism Has a Class Problem

From fieldnotes, October ninth, 2004: The Red Tent: A gathering of women According to the program, it’s time for the final event at The Red Tent, titled: “Living our wholeness” with Donna Carlson-Todd, certified life coach. Before us is a petite blond woman in her fifties who is passing out business cards and telling us … Continue reading Yes, Feminism Has a Class Problem

Remembering Martin Luther King Jr – Letter from Birmingham Jail

I remember the first time I had the horror and pleasure of reading Martin Luther King Jr's, Letter from Birmingham Jail. I was somewhere in graduate school, buried in the depth's of Taylor Branch's epic Parting the Waters, when a passage that Branch mentioned drove me to find the letter King wrote in the margins of … Continue reading Remembering Martin Luther King Jr – Letter from Birmingham Jail

Are Police “God’s Representatives on Earth?”

Max Weber writing in the early twentieth century marveled about the advantages that modern societies have over the earlier societies. One of the things Weber remarked about was the “stable peacefulness” that are found in large areas of the country protected by the police. No longer when you, your brother, or your sister were assaulted did … Continue reading Are Police “God’s Representatives on Earth?”

Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr – I Have a Dream

As a writer, I have an obsession with words, speech, poetry, songs…really, anything written or spoken or sung. My dream class to teach would be one that would analyze great speeches in history, and analyze them given their context in time and place. We would analyze one speech a week, and try to understand why … Continue reading Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr – I Have a Dream

Are Indexes Obsolete?

I’ve spent the last two days indexing our new book on Max Weber’s sociology. I am doing it the old-fashioned way, just as it has been done since, well, the 1990s or so. Which means I have a Word document open on my desktop and go through the document on a hard copy page by … Continue reading Are Indexes Obsolete?

The McDonaldization of Higher Education

George Ritzer proposed one of the most significant contemporary sociological theories when he developed the theory of McDonaldization. We have a tendency to McDonaldize, or rationalize traditional processes in Western culture. We like being able to bet on an outcome following a set pattern of small steps, that lead to a larger outcome. Through this … Continue reading The McDonaldization of Higher Education

Adjuncts Unite!

In a recent response to Tony’s piece describing the "three gifts of tenure" that I posted on LinkedIn (in my Sociology of Education group) a commenter said this: "The treatment of adjuncts is a national crime perpetrated on our education system and the unsuspecting public. Adjuncts receive about a third of the salary/benefits for the same … Continue reading Adjuncts Unite!

It was “Thank Your Local Criminal Day” in My Class Today!

Today was Emile Durkheim in my Classical Social Theory class, and I was again reminded of the beauty of Durkheim’s “Crime is Necessary” thesis. Basically his thesis points out that for there to be something “normal,” there must be something deviant. Or in the context of a state, this means that for something to be … Continue reading It was “Thank Your Local Criminal Day” in My Class Today!