Almond Harvest in the Valley

The author worked as an EMT and paramedic in northern California from 1993-1997. The call came just after 5:30 on a cold Autumn morning. A possible broken leg woke my partner, Russ, and I from broken sleep. As I stumbled to my ambulance, I rubbed sleep from my eyes and wrapped my jacket tightly around … Continue reading Almond Harvest in the Valley

When the Red Ink Stops Flowing

A few weeks ago, I lamented that academia has turned out not to be what I expected. Since I posted that blog, many of my colleagues have approached me about their own experiences in academia, I've been inundated with emails from folks sending stories similar to the one I wrote about, and even sat down … Continue reading When the Red Ink Stops Flowing

My Life as an Honored Potted Plant

But there are many more places where such potted plants exist—decoration at a meeting where pre-prepared decisions are served up. Academic Senate meetings come to mind; but so do political conventions, Congress, and annual meetings at churches.

Can Bad Grades and Graduate School Go Together?

Someone asked Ethnography.com founder Mark Dawson whether getting “bad grades” means for becoming an anthropologist. Every graduate anthropology program is different, of course, and there are no blanket statements possible. But, good grades are always a fantastic idea if you are trying to get into graduate school, in anthropology or any other subject. After all, … Continue reading Can Bad Grades and Graduate School Go Together?

The Social Construction of Offensive Words

Warning: The post you are about to read is about offensive words. It seeks to throw a spotlight on the social construction of offensive language, and illustrate how society's interpretation of those words gives them power. In the course of this essay, some words you may find offensive may be used. And finally, any link … Continue reading The Social Construction of Offensive Words

Traveling Notes–Expect the Unexpected!

March 20, 2015 I am at Kilimanjaro International Airport, returning home after a five day whirlwind trip here. The reason for the trip was “business,” meaning that establishment of a relationship between two American universities, and a university in Moshi, Tanzania. I am reminded thought the reason is not just business, but to experience the … Continue reading Traveling Notes–Expect the Unexpected!

The House on the Hill

This morning, I walked to the beach before sunrise. Its only 4 or 5 minutes from the 3-story condo complex we are staying at, and still within the gated community of Cabo Bello, so I felt safe enough to leave my husband sleeping in the pre-dawn darkness, leave a note on the kitchen counter, At … Continue reading The House on the Hill

Travelling Notes—from Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport

I’m on a rather strange trip from Chico, California to where I live, via Sacramento, California where I had a meeting on Thursday, and then onto Kilimanjaro International Airport in Tanzania. The usual hurry up and wait of travel applies, except for the first day in Sacramento, when I went to a meeting of the … Continue reading Travelling Notes—from Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport

Singing in Sociology Class

Occasionally I break into song, particularly when teaching my Classical Sociology class. Classical sociologists Max Weber, and W. E. B. DuBois wrote about the importance of music in defining group boundaries. In the case of Max Weber, he noted that dominant groups typically have myths and stories which glorify a past of some sort. A … Continue reading Singing in Sociology Class

The Injustice of Justice: Jury Duty in America

Our legal system in the United States is a wondrous thing. If you are arrested and charged with a crime, you have the option to a jury trial. Theoretically, we pick a representative sample of 12 of your peers to sit in judgment of you. Except if you are already a felon, or disabled, work … Continue reading The Injustice of Justice: Jury Duty in America

Zona Residencia

We rented a car at the airport and have been using it to explore the city and surrounding areas, and each day that we have driven outside of the area of our condo complex, I have become overwhelmed, feeling hypocritical and guilty. One of the residents in our condo complex mentioned to me that there … Continue reading Zona Residencia

Hypocrisy in Politics?!?! Imagine That!  

Max Weber is today known for his sharp sociological pen in which he created word pictures of processes like bureaucracy, politics, capitalism, power, and inequality which underlie not only his society, but ours today. He was also known as a proponent of “value free” sociology, in which the sociologist would analyze without respect to personal … Continue reading Hypocrisy in Politics?!?! Imagine That!