Program Archives

Tues 9.01.15 | Innovation Under Neoliberalism

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If innovation is the engine that drives capitalist enterprise, what role, if any, should universities play in feeding that engine? The creativity that Christopher Newfield seeks to nurture in students doesn't match the kind coveted by neoliberal elites. He points to a number of disturbing trends in higher ed, and to differences in capitalist development between East and West.

Mon 8.31.15 | Not Enough for Retirement

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You may be doing everything by the book, but will you have enough to retire on? If you're like most Americans, the answer is no. Sociologist James Russell weighs in on how pensions like 401(k)s put all the risk on the individual -- and siphon a large part of the rewards off for the financial services industry. He also talks about efforts, like the one he led, to switch back to traditional pension plans.

Wed 8.26.15 | Race, Privilege, and Food Justice

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Food justice activists sometimes set up gardens in low-income communities. Margaret Ramírez studied a pair of food organizations in Seattle, including one led by Rev. Robert Jeffrey. Ramírez describes how the racial makeup of the staffers, the legacy of plantation slavery, and the gentrifying momentum created by "white spaces" affected what the two groups were able to accomplish.

Tues 8.25.15| The Making of American Capitalism

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While it may appear an inevitability, how did capitalism come to take hold in the US? Was slave production in the American South actually capitalist or something else? What was the nature of the Civil War and the emergence of sharecropping in the conflict's wake? Marxist sociologist Charles Post weighs in on these questions, which have been hotly debated for many years on the left, with significant consequences for how we see capitalism's permanence and the nature of racial oppression today.

Mon 8.24.15 | Hetero/Homo: A Fine Line?

Jane Ward, Not Gay: Sex between Straight White Men NYU Press, 2015

Jane Ward, Respectably Queer Vanderbilt U. Press, 2008

Feminist Pigs

 

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Straight folks, says Jane Ward, engage in a remarkable amount of homosexual sex. In her new book, Ward investigates and interprets same-sex contact between straight white men in a variety of settings, including the military and college fraternities. She also points to a double standard that denies males the sexual fluidity and flexibility routinely assigned to women.

Wed 8.19.15 | The Perils of Automation

Nicholas Carr, The Glass Cage: Automation and Us Norton, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

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We rely on automation in all aspects of our lives, from our jobs to our leisure activities. It's meant to save us time and labor and free us for other pursuits. But does automation make our lives better? Writer Nicholas Carr reflects on the darker side of automation, from mechanized warfare to deskilling on the job. He argues for a relationship between technology and work that does not leave us alienated, left in low paid jobs, or open to surveillance.

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