Colloquia

Sociology Department Colloquium Series
Blumer Room - 402 Social Sciences Building
MONDAYS, 2:00 - 3:30 PM
[unless otherwise noted]

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Blumer Room - 402 Social Sciences Building
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Hybrid: In Person, 402 Social Sciences Building & via Zoom
Incidents of state violence and activism against that violence illustrate the continuing significance of race and the persistence of white supremacy in France, the United States, and worldwide. Based on past and current ethnographic research and interviews with ethnic minorities in the Parisian metropolitan region, this talk argues that, despite France’s colorblind and Republican ethos, France’s “visible minorities” function under a “suspect citizenship” in which their full societal belonging is never granted. I focus on the growing problem of state violence against ethnic minorities which reveals how France is creating a “bright boundary” (Alba 2005) between whites and non-whites, furthering disparate outcomes based on race and ethnic origin. By considering the multifaceted dimensions of citizenship and belonging in France, I demonstrate the limitations of full societal inclusion for France’s non-white denizens and how French Republicanism continues to mark, rather than erase, racial and ethnic distinctions.
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Hybrid: The Graduate Hotel, California Room & via Zoom
This talk illustrates how, in the context of consumer medicine, physicians convince patients to invest in particular medical treatments by weighing risks with them, reframing uncertain processes as calculable gambles. I delve into the case of twins as a by-product of fertility treatment, which transitioned from a welcome outcome to a problematic one for fertility professionals, while remaining a desirable birth outcome for many patients. From observing hundreds of patient-provider consults at three fertility clinics in New York State that catered to distinct patient populations, as well as conducting over a hundred in-depth interviews with patients and medical providers, I argue that providers reframe the prospect of having twins to patients by communicating with them not only about the associated health risks, but also those related to temporal, financial, and emotional constraints, and show how these negotiations diverge depending clinics' organizational imperatives, particularly the class of patients they are set up to serve.
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Hybrid: The Graduate Hotel, California Room & via Zoom
Sociological studies stress how state legibility serves as a form of population control. Often overlooked is how states differ in their will to control, and how this variation shapes legibility projects. This research proposes a three-dimensional analytical framework to study legibility from a comparative perspective that seeks to account for this variation. I illustrate the usefulness of this framework through an in-depth analysis of how Brazil and Mexico rendered poor individuals visible in order to implement conditional cash transfer programs (or CCTs). In the mid-1990s, these two states implemented the same policy, facing very similar challenges; yet, they adopted different solutions for governing their respective CCT programs and making poor families visible. Drawing on the analysis of approximately 15,000 pages of official documents, 125 in-depth interviews with bureaucratic and political elites, and 18 months of fieldwork in Brazil and Mexico, this article reveals the political and governance effects of distinct methods of seeing like a state. Specifically, I show that the differences and consequences of legibility projects depended on the politics of legitimation of each…
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Hybrid: The Graduate Hotel, California Room & via Zoom
Though social networks have long been theorized as a critical resource that may attenuate the negative impact of residential segregation on health, few empirical studies have explored this possibility. Using an egocentric network approach, this study examines social network processes linking residential segregation to health and health disparities among Black and White Americans. Specifically, drawing on U.S. census data and individual-level survey data from the Person-to-Person Health Interview Study, I ask: (1) To what extent does residential segregation contribute to Black-White disparities in physical and mental health? (2) Do characteristics of social networks moderate the association between residential segregation and health? While I find residential segregation to have no association with physical and mental health for White Americans, residential segregation is associated with worse physical health but better mental health for Black Americans; however, these relationships are moderated by network factors. That is, the adverse association between residential segregation and physical health is substantially attenuated among Black Americans who are embedded in networks with…
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Hybrid: In Person, 402 Social Sciences Building & via Zoom
There seems to have been a rapid change in recent years in how people talk and think about social justice issues. But how dramatic or broad has the purported shift actually been? When did it start? How durable are current trends likely to be? Who is driving the change? Is this a genuinely novel historical moment? Or are there relevant precedents that can provide us analytical leverage into what’s happening today? Drawing from his forthcoming book, al-Gharbi will argue that there has indeed been a significant shift in norms and discourse around ‘identity’ issues over the last decade, particularly among a specific subset of the population. The talk will illustrate some ways we can measure the magnitude and timing of the shifts and who seems to be driving them. It will show that the current period of tumult over feminism, antiracism, LGBTQ rights and related causes seems to be a ‘case’ of something. The talk will conclude with an exploration of how understanding the current moment in the context of previous cases can clarify what may have inspired the shifts – and what did not – and how trends may play out over the short-to-medium term.
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Hybrid: In Person, 402 Social Sciences Building & via Zoom
Today, it is common to treat every home as a potential business or a speculative asset, every person an entrepreneur, and every relationship a commercial opportunity. While these arrangements offer useful forms of flexibility, they are often accompanied by material precarity and insecurity. This talk grounds the ambiguities of “home-based” work in the 1980s, when the political-cultural regime of the family wage, that undergirded the standard labor contract, became undone. In this talk, I examine regulatory politics surrounding the fate of a New Deal era ban on industrial homework. In the 1980s, garment labor organizers concerned with immigrant sweatshops, Reagan administration labor regulators, and middle-class women, clashed over the significance and desirability of resurgent “home-based” work. While opponents of homework argued that its legalization would erode the foundations of the family wage, foreclose pathways for racial economic inclusion, and exacerbate gendered crises of care, proponents of homework portrayed it as a privatized resolution to the economic and social crises of the family wage, generating surprising appeal. This case suggests that the commercialization of…
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Hybrid: In Person, 402 Social Sciences Building & via Zoom
This talk is based on a chapter of Lewis' dissertation which draws on data from open-ended interviews and surveys with 83 Black adults from diverse class backgrounds in Cincinnati, OH–a city whose dynamic history is relevant to 21st Century discussions of community safety. In this presentation, he mobilizes the concept of safety reimagination to capture how class-diverse Black men and women reconstitute their community priorities to elevate root causes of poverty and persisting inequities as fundamental safety concerns to avoid gaslighting themselves and obscuring the material realities of their social condition(s).
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Hybrid: In Person, 402 Social Sciences Building & via Zoom
Racial disproportionality in school discipline is a major educational problem. Official data show that Black boys are disciplined at the highest rates of any group. Scholars suggest that the “criminal” Black male image shapes teachers’ views and treatment of their Black male students as early as preschool. Yet the interactional mechanisms of racialized discipline are unclear, particularly in early childhood. This study uses ethnography to understand first-grade teachers’ disciplinary interactions with Black and White boys. The findings uncover teachers’ racialized disciplinary approaches via differential surveillance of, differential engagement with, and differential responses to noncompliance from Black and White boys as a key mechanism that produces unequal disciplinary experiences in early childhood education. I discuss the implications of these findings for the racial socialization of Black and White boys.
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Hybrid: In Person, 402 Social Sciences Building & via Zoom
Over the past decade, recording technologies have enabled organized activists and ordinary residents to capture and circulate videos of police interventions. Existing research focuses primarily, however, on organized activists who rely on formal training programs to record police interventions. If formal programs train organized activists to capture police abuses on camera, how then do ordinary residents determine when they should record police behavior? Drawing on in-depth interviews with Black men who live in a Southside Chicago neighborhood, this study finds that residents’ recurrent police interactions enable them to interpret officers’ words and actions as symbols of procedural injustice, which, in subsequent exchanges, serve as signals to record events with cellphones—what I term “camera cues.” Camera cues facilitate situated conceptions of legal authority that trigger residents’ distrust of police. Equipped with cellphones, residents scrutinize officers’ outward displays and police–civilian interactions to challenge procedural injustice. While recording police behavior makes it possible at least occasionally to resist the dominance of legal authority, doing so often…