Category: Books and arts

Economies of Review on Amazon.com

Amazon.com provides a number of feedback spaces. These kinds of spaces are the communicative loops that situate digital consumption. Recently we have seen a number of variations in the form of these reviews. Critically, these reviews include ones that take the form of explicit social commentary and go beyond the particularity of a simple product review. This practice drew me to the thinking about economies of review, as parables for digital communication and consumption. Can such reviews challenge spaces of...

Book Review: Latina Activists across Borders Women’s Grassroots Organizing in Mexico and Texas by Milagros Pena

The start of a new academic year is upon us and we are back to hectic days and endless nights. This year will be more busy than usual for me as I plan to defend my M.A. thesis in Sociology.  Anyone who has ever written a thesis knows how much work goes into it. As part of my venture through this exciting (yet very difficult) time I will be using some of my bi-weekly posts to highlight some of the sociological studies that proved...

Book Review – Dean's List: 11 Habits of Highly Successful College Students

It would be nearly impossible to imagine John Bader, a dean of Undergraduate Academic Affairs at Johns Hopkins University and author of Dean’s List: 11 Habits of Highly Successful College Students, ever uttering the lines of Larry Summers (fictional Larry Summers, that is, as represented in The Social Network). The Summers character, on the phone with his wife, glares up at two young men in his office and says: “I have to go, dear. Students are here. Undergraduates.” Those moments...

Book Review—The Cosmopolitan Canopy: Race and Civility in Everyday Life by Elijah Anderson

In his newest book, Elijah Anderson turns his micro-sociological attention to those places in the modern US city that foster racial understanding and harmony. In The Cosmopolitan Canopy Anderson claims that a pluralistic embrace of social difference is supported most readily by the titular “canopies” that he explores in contemporary Philadelphia. Over the span of an astounding thirty years of observation, Anderson attempts to convey an image of how people “live race” (xvi) in ways that challenge old forms of...

Beautiful and Pointless?

David Orr half-smiled at me from the pages of the New York Times Book Review this morning. In his dark blue button down shirt, head cocked sympathetically to the side, wire-rimmed glasses gracefully seated at the bottom of a long forehead, this man has clearly selected an author photo of himself that represents his belief in the power of ideas. His own, surely, and those of others so long as they are expressed in poetry. But Orr’s new book Beautiful...

Book Review – Academically Adrift by Arum and Roksa

Bless your hearts, Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa, for calling on institutions of higher education to prioritize undergraduate learning. With Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses (University of Chicago Press 2011), sociologists Arum and Roksa argue that undergraduate students seem to learn very little in college, and that in fact they (Arum and Roksa) can show just how much those undergraduates are learning by bringing their own quantitative data set Determinants of College Learning (DCL)—which surveys over 2,300 full...