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Bombing ISIS: A Question

Early last month with ISIS/ISIL/IS running amok in northern Iraq and leaving a trail of bodies in its wake, I argued there was a temporary coincidence of interest between the US/UK, the decaying apparatus of sectarian Iraqi state, the Kurds and the opportunities for labour movement and socialist politics in the region. Show More Summary

think tanks vs. universities: a reply to eric crampton

Last week, I argued that academics face poor incentives. We are rewarded for solving hard problems, but rarely rewarded for simple, but important, problems. On Twitter, Eric Crampton suggested that my argument could be seen as a vote for think tanks as policy vehicles: There’s a simple logic here. Policy is the whole point of […]

Why Islamic State Kills Hostages

As we know, one burgeoning income stream for the psychotic would-be caliphate is ransom payments. Despite a covenant between Western states to not pay out for the safe return of citizens kidnapped by terror groups of whatever persuasion, Islamic State has a tendency to release Danes, French and Germans who've fallen into their clutches. Show More Summary

Happy Birthday, bell hooks!

Gloria Jean Watkins (1952 – ) adopted her pen name, bell hooks, from her maternal great-grandmother Bell Blair Hooks. Her writing examines a broad range of topics, but one theme is the attention she draws to the interconnectivity of capitalism, race, and gender. Throughout her prolific career, she has repeatedly exposed the way these dimensions […]

Seeing Sexual Orientation: “How Do You Know?” vs. “How Can’t You Have Known?”

In 2009, Benoit Denizet-Lewis wrote in the New York Times that youth were coming out as gay, bisexual, and lesbian at increasingly early ages. Coming out in middle school, though, often prompted parents to ask the classic question: “But how do you know you’re gay?” The equally classic response to this question is, “Well, how do you know you’re […]

Why Don’t Religious People Know More About Religion?

Economist Robin Hanson has an “it isn’t about” list. It begins: Food isn’t about Nutrition Clothes aren’t about Comfort Also on the list is: Church isn’t about God Maybe church isn’t about religious ideas either. I was reminded of this recently when I followed a link to a Pew quiz on religious knowledge. It’s a […]

That Isn’t Funny

September 24, 2014 Posted by Jay Livingston Most of the time, when people talk about humor – TV sitcoms, movie romcoms, comedians, jokes, etc. – they’ll say things like, “That show is so funny,” or conversely, “That show is definitely...Show More Summary

organizing, mobilizing, and the people’s climate march – a guest post by hahrie han

Hahrie Han (@hahriehan) is an associate professor of political science at Wellesley College. She is a leading expert on political organizations, activism, and civic engagement. Her first book is Moved to Action: Motivation, Participation, and Inequality in American Politics. Show More Summary

Scottish Independence: Why the Ayes Didn’t Have It.

Despite preliminary polls showing the Scottish independence vote as too close to call, last week saw a decisive victory for keeping the nation part of the United Kingdom with a 10.6 percentage point lead. Now that the media has swung from predicting to explaining, The Guardian considers why the earling polling was so far off […]

Ed Miliband's Conference Speech

Not one but two five-year plans? Ambitious targets? An 80 minute monologue with anecdotes about meeting ordinary people? Forget Red Ed. Today we saw the debut of Kim Jong-Mil. Yeah, yeah, lame. But Ed Miliband's speech was interesting, and not because for what went unsaid. Show More Summary

Tame Teens

Damn kids today. Do we have to do everything for them? I, for one, do not have the time to egg cars and throw basement parties. But if Joel Best and Kathleen Bogle are right, teens are less deviant than ever, no matter how prurient the headlines. Bogle explains to Salon, in previous generations they were worried […]

The Manliest Shoes You’ve Ever Seen (1971)

When you hear the phrase Hush Puppies, think of basset hounds, and see these shoes, do you think “rugged, masculine, virile”? Because that’s what the copy says. In fact, this ad argues that wearing these shoes might make a women’s rights advocate call you a male chauvinist pig because they’re that masculine. If this isn’t evidence of […]

sample computer science/sociology syllabus

Loyal orgtheorista and sociologist Amy Binder has forwarded me this course syllabus for a course at UC San Diego. It is called Soc 211 Computational Methods in Social Science and was taught by Edward Hunter and Akos Rona-­Tas. The authors are working on a textbook, the course was made open to a wide range of […]

Does Globalisation Breed Nationalism?

Yuck, globalisation. A notion so commonplace, so banal that to write it these days is like murmuring a vulgarity. It's a truism universally acknowledged that the circuits of capital, the organisation of production, its division of labour, and worldwide commodity chains tend to treat borders as irrelevances. Show More Summary

Separating Marriage from Childrearing: The Mosuo

In the Yunnan and Sichuan provinces of China lives a small ethnic group called the Mosuo. Among the Mosuo, romantic and family life are separated into different spheres by design. Children are usually raised in the home of their maternal grandmother with the help of their mother. She may maintain a long-term, monogamous romantic relationship […]

The Child-Migrant Crisis, Stereotypes, and Immigration

By Teresa Irene Gonzales On a recent trip to California from the Midwest, I decided to take advantage of the long flight to relax, read one of my Australian murder mystery novels, use my free drink ticket for a glass...

affirmative action and the academic pipeline

When people discuss affirmative action, they often have a mistaken view that higher education is filled with legions of under-qualified minorities. From the inside, we have the opposite view. The higher up you go, the less likely you will find folks from under-represented groups. So, what gives? In addition to plain ideological differences, I think […]

Sunday Fun: Student Suffers Alienation from paper on Alienation

Found at Nerdy Jokes. Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Saturday Interview: Anna Chen

Anna Chen is a London-born writer, poet, broadcaster and Orwell Prize shortlisted blogger. She was the co-ordinating press officer for the Socialist Alliance (2000-1) and the Stop the War Coalition (2001-3). Her documentaries for BBC...Show More Summary

What Next for Politics?

It's been a huge week, a profound week for British politics. What does it all mean for the parties and movements jostling for position in the referendum's aftermath? As far as Westminster is concerned, a bullet has been dodged. There is a cloying desire for a return to business as usual, and just as many determined to carry on as if it has. Show More Summary

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