Max Weber was a funny guy!

That’s right, Max Weber, the dour looking social theorist on the cover of your social theory text made jokes. How do I know this? Well, my wife and I just published a new book Weber’s Rationalism: New Translations on Politics, Bureaucracy, and Social Stratification, and this post is an essay about why you should read … Continue reading Max Weber was a funny guy!

Something Happened At My Son’s School: Guns in a Backpack!

  By Chunyan Song March 30th Thursday was a regular teaching day for me at Chico State. After I finished the last class of the day, I went back to my office and checked my emails. My son Lucas’ 4th grade teacher Mr. Pembroke had just sent a really odd email minutes before. “Folks, I … Continue reading Something Happened At My Son’s School: Guns in a Backpack!

“That was a Real Nice Truck” Vigilante Justice in Skidmore, Missouri, USA

(Last week I posted about vigilante justice in Tanzania.  It happens in the United States, too, which is what this story is about. As with the previous post, this is an extract from my book  When Killing is a Crime, 2007 Lynne Rienner Publishers). Ken McElroy was shot and killed while sitting next to his … Continue reading “That was a Real Nice Truck” Vigilante Justice in Skidmore, Missouri, USA

More about Erving Goffman and my German Language Problems

As I wrote before I am living in Germany and learning German.  On Tuesday and Thursday mornings I spend 2.5 hours with ten strangers from all over the world. We have little in common except that we are foreigners living in Germany struggling to integrate. Our conversations with each other are in German, and inevitably … Continue reading More about Erving Goffman and my German Language Problems

Language Learning, Stigma, and Protecting a Potentially Spoiled Identity

This blog is about why ethnographer Erving Goffman’s observation of stigma are important not just to ex-cons, but also to professors like me on foreign exchange programs. Goffman, as many sociologists and anthropologists know, observed the maneuvers of the marginalized and stigmatized in society, and then wrote about how they thought about their disability. He … Continue reading Language Learning, Stigma, and Protecting a Potentially Spoiled Identity

Conclusion: The American Diet by Chunyan Song (Part VI)

by Chunyan Song It took a long journey and a health crisis to turn my diet and health around. I am married to a vegetarian. Together we try to raise two health-conscious kids. I haven’t eaten a Whopper Jr. Sandwich for years. Nowadays, I have a dozen fruit trees and a vegetable garden in the … Continue reading Conclusion: The American Diet by Chunyan Song (Part VI)

Identity–You Are What You Eat (Part V)

by Chunyan Song What we eat and how we eat is part of the self-identity construction process that expresses and defines who we are. When we eat, we not only eat with our mouths for nutrition, but also to replenish our beliefs, mindsets, and social beings[1]. Look at the TV if you do not believe … Continue reading Identity–You Are What You Eat (Part V)

The Sad SAD Diet (Part IV)

by Chunyan Song The fast-paced modern life we live in America does not encourage healthy eating. A lot of us get food from where our cars get fuel, meaning we buy gas, and then dash into AM/PM to load up on hot dogs and chips. We eat last night’s leftovers in front of our computers. … Continue reading The Sad SAD Diet (Part IV)

Mass Food Production and Its Ills (Part III)

by Chunyan Song In 1999, on my first American grocery shopping trip at Safeway in Tempe, Arizona, I marveled at the size, shape, and color of the bell peppers, carrots, eggplants, apples, grapes, and cauliflowers. They looked too big, too round, too bright, and too perfect to be real. I had to touch them and … Continue reading Mass Food Production and Its Ills (Part III)

Edibles and Non-Edibles (Part II)

by Chunyan Song Although many Americans have to be on restricted diets due to religious or health reasons, many others voluntarily avoid certain foods because material wealth and food abundance grant them the opportunity to pick and choose. When I first came to the U.S, I was struck by how limited Americans’ food choices were. … Continue reading Edibles and Non-Edibles (Part II)

We Are What We Eat, Part I

We Are What We Eat (An Introduction to Six Essays!) by Chunyan Song “Tell me what you eat, and I shall tell you what you are.” ---Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarian, The Physiology of Taste (1825) America has opened my eyes to a variety of diets that I had never even known before my immigration from China … Continue reading We Are What We Eat, Part I

Editor’s Note on “My Adventures with the American Diet,” a Series by Chunyan Song

By Chunyan Song California State University, Chico Introductory Note to Series Chunyan Song is my good friend and colleague at California State University, Chico. She emigrated to the United States from China in 1999 to study for a PhD in Sociology, and marry her husband Josh. She eventually ended up at Chico State where we … Continue reading Editor’s Note on “My Adventures with the American Diet,” a Series by Chunyan Song