Sociology Colloquium Series
The overarching goal of the Sociology Colloquium Series is to build intellectual engagement and community in our department for faculty and graduate students alike.
For the 2013-2014 academic year, the colloquium committee will be focusing on the following three types of events: those in which we share our own research; those in which we invite outside speakers whose work is related to the research interests of the department; and brown-bag professionalization workshops for graduate students.
SAVE THE DATES for WINTER QUARTER
Graduate Student Workshop: SSSP Submission Review
12:30-2:00PM College 8, Room 301
Graduate Student Workshop: From Revision to Publication
12:30-2:00PM College 8, Room 301
Join facilitator, Jimiliz Valiente-Neighbours, as three graduate students share their experiences in turning papers into peer-reviewed publications. Yvonne Kwan, Christie McCullen and Tracy Perkins will talk about choosing journals, the submission process, the turnaround time, the paper revision process, working with faculty and peers along the way, and how to respond to reviewer comments. It doesn't matter where you are along your graduate path. This workshop will provide valuable insights for first-years and dissertation-defenders alike. It's time to get ready for publication!
Panelists: Yvonne Kwan, Christie McCullen, Tracy Perkins
Fascilitator: Jimiliz Valiente-Neighbours
GIIP/Everett Endowed Chair Colloquium: Ramesh Srinivasan, University of California, Los Angeles
Democratizing Technology? The Power of Local Community in an era of Global Media
12:30-2:00PM College 8, Room 301
As technologies migrate to distant corners of the globe, so too do the utopic imaginaries with which they are proselytized. What this constructs is a dynamic all too common in the history of science and technology, where a limited set of practices, values, and ways of knowing end up dominating the discourses by which we understand technology. As a result, many contemporary pundits of media studies either see new media technologies as inherently revolutionary or simply dismiss them as the fetish of Silicon Valley.
My story takes us out of this unfortunate binary. I argue that what is far more interesting is the study of the ways in which local communities on the margins worldwide actively re-purpose, appropriate and subvert new technologies to empower agendas that may radically diverge from their originally intended notions of use. In collaboration with indigenous communities in the United States, rural villages in India, and activists in Egypt, I have explored and uncovered methods by which local creativity and design can empower grassroots economic, cultural and political visions. For us to think globally about new technologies, we must remember the power of the local.
Ramesh Srinivasan, Associate Professor at UCLA in Information Studies and Design-‐Media Arts, is a scholar of media and culture - studying the modes by which new media technologies shape and are shaped by social, cultural, economic, and political dynamics. He has worked with a variety of communities ranging from activist bloggers to rural Indian communities to indigenous peoples worldwide.
Dr. Srinivasan's studies of bloggers and activists has focused on participants in recent revolutions in Egypt and Kyrgyzstan. His work in India has involved collaborations with rural and urban disenfranchised populations in India to study how media literacy may shape collective action. And his work with Native American communities considers how non-Western understandings of the world can introduce new ways of looking at technological design and deployment.
Dr. Srinivasan's media appearances include several TEDx talks, National Public Radio, Al Jazeera, The Young Turks and Public Radio International. He has also published pieces for Al Jazeera English, the Washington Post, and the Huffington Post.
His work bridges cultural studies from anthropological and sociological perspectives with key topics in design and computer sciences. He is currently working on a book that looks at power, voice and identity in an era where digital media technologies are increasingly ubiquitous. His full academic CV can be found at http://rameshsrinivasan.org/
Co-sponsored by the Anthropology Department
Alison Alkon, University of the Pacific
Black, White and Green: Food Justice, Farmers Markets and the Green Economy
12:30-2:00PM College 8, Red Room
Farmers markets have become essential to the movement for food-system reform and are a shining example of a growing green economy. Black, White, and Green brings new energy to this topic by exploring dimensions of race and class as they relate to farmers markets and the green economy. With a focus on two Bay Area markets—one in the primarily white neighborhood of North Berkeley, and the other in largely black West Oakland—Alison Hope Alkon investigates the possibilities for social and environmental change embodied by farmers markets and the green economy. Alkon describes the meanings that farmers market managers, vendors, and consumers attribute to the buying and selling of local organic food, and the ways that those meanings are raced and classed. Black, White, and Green is one of the first books to carefully theorize the green economy, to examine the racial dynamics of food politics, and to approach issues of food access from an environmental-justice perspective.
Alison Hope Alkon is assistant professor and co-chair of sociology at the University of the Pacific where she teaches and does research on food, the environment and inequalities of race, class and gender. Alkon’s books include Black, White and Green: Race, Farmers Markets and the Green Economy and Cultivating Food Justice: Race, Class and Sustainability (co-edited with Julian Agyeman). These works have helped to establish the growing field of food justice studies, which explores how inequalities affect food and agricultural systems and how communities and policy makers are responding to these inequalities.
Larry Rosenthal, University of California, Berkeley
The Tea Party, the Shutdown, and Obamacare
12:30-2:00PM College 8, Room 301
Obamacare has been the bête-noire of the Tea Party movement since its founding in February 2009. Beyond its bombastic rhetoric and tactics, the Tea Party’s view of Obamacare is part and parcel of a theory of the U.S. Constitution, one that emerges from the “state-rights” tradition in U.S. history. Tea Party constitutionalism is understood as “popular originalism.” This view rests on a fundamentalist reading of the Constitution and the conviction that the U.S. Supreme Court should not enjoy a monopoly on constitutional interpretation. Objection to Obamacare is based on a notion that both social benefits, like health insurance, and political rights themselves are zerosum commodities. This theory at once interprets the Tea Party’s fierce sense of dispossession, and forms a constitutional principle that justifies extreme measures such as government shutdowns.
Dr. Lawrence Rosenthal is a sociologist who is Executive Director and Lead Researcher of the Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies. He was a Visiting Scholar at UCB's Institute for the Study of Social Change for a dozen years before founding the Center in 2009. He has taught at UC Berkeley in the Sociology and Italian Studies Departments and was a Fulbright Professor at the University of Naples in Italy. He has studied the Right in the United States and in Italy and is currently working on a study of the contemporary American Right in comparison to movements of the Right in 20th century Europe. He is the co-editor (with Dr. Christine Trost) of Steep: The Precipitous Rise of the Tea Party (University of California Press, 2012).
Co-sponsored by the Politics Department
GIIP/Everett Endowed Chair Colloquium: Joyojeet Pal, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Between incrementalism and radical change: Reciprocal advancement in technology and development
12:30-1:45PM College 8, Room 301
A recent wave of design and critique on technological tools and global development has brought together academics and technologists from a range of disciplines, professionals from government and industry, and a large number of citizens and community groups. The community coalescing around this space, referred to Information and Communications Technology and Development (ICTD), interrogates questions on global development and the production of technology, long important in the social sciences and humanities. However the ICTD community also actively participates in the co-production and deployment of technology tools. A rich range of contemporary work from the design of web-based tools to critical studies of mobile technology and society that fall within the vast umbrella of ICTD offers a unique opportunity for engaged learning and practice.
And yet, multidisciplinary approaches are not without challenges. Between the contesting motivations to build and to deliberate, this recent wave of ICTD has not carefully examined the ways marginality is operationalized within the contexts of technology deployments. This in turn has led to a homogenizing of the users of technology and of desirable use, and a flattening of how impacts and ‘successes’ are measured. In this talk, I use examples from research on adaptive technology use among blind people in India and Peru, and engaged learning work in co-design of Human Rights and Disability policy portals to make two points about the ICTD movement. First, I argue that understanding how social and economic marginalizing works is critical in explaining if and how technology can immediately impact the lives of people who are intended as beneficiaries. While adaptive technology in itself increases the individual’s ability to participate in the workplace, its use must first contend with the marginalizing factor -- i.e. the social construction of disability in society and in the individual. Second, I use examples of international field projects to argue that ICTD opens up an array of possibilities for thoughtful student engagement with the communities where these technologies are embedded.
Joyojeet Pal is an Assistant Professor at the School of Information at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. His current research examines the role of adaptive technology in the social and economic inclusion of blind and low-vision populations in low- and middle-income countries. Within the broader ICTD (Information and Communications Technology and Development) space, his work focuses on the role of technology in mediating the tension between marginality and aspiration.
He is the lead faculty member on the GRID project (http://ictd.si.umich.edu/). His current research sites on disability and technology are India, Peru, Costa Rica, Colombia, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Jordan, and South Korea. In addition, he also heads the Digital Colombia (umsi.info/colombia) project that examines the growth and appropriation of social media in Colombia, and manages the Global Information Engagement program (umsi.info/giep), an initiative that matches groups that specify certain technical or information tool needs with students with requisite skills and consciousness of global practice.
Joyojeet received his PhD in City and Regional Planning at the University of California at Berkeley. He has an interest in cinema, and in addition to academic work on the portrayal of technology and software engineers in Indian cinema, he has recently completed the filming of his first feature-length documentary on fan clubs of movie stars in south India. His website is available at http://joyojeet.people.si.umich.edu/
GIIP/Everett Endowed Chair Colloquium: Chris Benner, University of California, Davis
12:30-1:45PM College 8, Room 301
Efforts in the U.S. to address the dual crisis of growing inequality and long-term economic stagnation are hindered by a parallel crisis in political leadership. The political problems are most evident in heightened partisanship, but this partisanship is underpinned, at least in part, by a growing fragmentation in the very information and knowledge base that underpins public life. Meanwhile, a growing body of research, both domestic and international, is investigating ways that social inequality and the economy are linked, and in the process documenting that greater social equity may actually contribute to economic growth. There remains limited research, however, on the underlying processes that lead to this connection between social inclusion and economic vitality.
In this talk, Dr. Benner will discuss his collaborative research that helps address this gap through a study of the relationship between growth and social equity over the past 30 years in metropolitan regions in the U.S. Using both quantitative and qualitative analysis, this research argues that different trajectories can be explained, at least in part, by the relative strength and diversity of regional information sharing networks where data is shared and common understandings developed across diverse constituencies. When such “diverse epistemic communities” fully form, people are united not by a shared set of values or interests, but rather by a sense of a shared future destiny within the region. This does not mean the end of tensions or social conflict. But it does mean that conflicts are attenuated by a recognition of a common future in the region, and so tension can become an important learning opportunity. While the conclusions at this point remain preliminary, if confirmed they have important implications not only for strategies of promoting growth with equity, but also for theoretical understandings of the micro-foundations of the economy.
Chris Benner is Professor of Community and Regional Development, and Chair of the Geography Graduate Group, at the University of California, Davis. His research focuses on the relationships between technological change, regional development, and the structures of labor markets and economic opportunity. His work has direct implications for strategies for promoting regional and social equity, workforce development policy and the structure, dynamics and evaluation of workforce intermediaries. Dr. Benner’s recent book, co-authored with Manuel Pastor, is Just Growth: Inclusion and Prosperity in America’s Metropolitan Regions, which helps uncover the subtle and detailed processes, policies and institutional arrangement that help explain how certain regions around the country have been able to consistently link prosperity and inclusion. He received his Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley in 2000.
GIIP/Everett Endowed Chair Colloquium: Revi Sterling, University of Colorado
Development(al) Challenges: women, agency and technology
12:30-1:45PM College 8, Room 301
There are evident contradictions in global development discourse. For decades, we’ve heard that the most effective way to “do” development is to empower women. On the technology side, however, most ICT initiatives do not look specifically at gendered access and use issues. Intel’s recent Women on the Web study, along with other research, confirms that ICT for Development is rife with digital inequities. Even when we try to design ICT specifically for women’s unique development needs, we run into larger cultural and policy currents that require more than an application to work through – such as the ban on women using mobiles in certain communities.
This talk is motivated by specific efforts in ICT for Development to lower rates of violence against women (VAW) worldwide. The New Delhi rape and aftershocks of Arab Spring have inspired new anti-rape and anti-harassment ICT. These technologies raise interesting questions about design, agency and ethics. These technologies also meet at the intersection of trauma, mental health and entrepreneurship. This discussion introduces these challenging issues as areas for future research and development.
Revi Sterling is the founding director of the first Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICTD) professional master’s program in the United States, a program that places equal emphasis on technology, methodology, and development studies. Sterling also consults extensively for the United Nations, development agencies and high technology companies interested in utilizing technology for societal benefit. Previously, Sterling worked at Microsoft for 10 years where she spearheaded Microsoft Research’s efforts in gender equity in computer science, as well as working as a software engineer and program in the Emerging Technologies division. She is most concerned on the “hidden” barriers to ICTD use and access. Dr. Sterling has active field projects in Africa, India, and South America, as well as underserved communities in the United States. She is the recipient of the 2012 Anita Borg Institute Women of Vision award for Social Impact.
Dr. Sterling is the Founder and Director of ICTD Graduate Program at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Dr. Sterling received her PhD in Technology, Media and Society from the ATLAS Institute, University of Colorado, Boulder 2008.
Michael Mendez, University of California Berkeley
Climate Change from the Streets: Community Action for Global Environmental Health Impact
12:30-2:00PM College 8, Room 301
Michael Mendez's research identifies whether and how governments are considering the needs of the most socially vulnerable populations, particularly communities of color in climate change decisions and actions. Drawing on case studies in California, he traces the methods environmental justice groups are using to contest global scientific practice in the localization of climate change interventions. In particular, this study analyzes how multiscalar strategies for reducing GHG emissions are being linked to address health disparities from climate change impacts in three interrelated policy initiatives: (1) The City of Oakland’s Climate Action Plan; (2) Statewide Carbon Pricing revenue for a Climate Change Community Benefits Fund and; (3) International Carbon Offset projects (forest carbon management in the developing world) allowable under California’s market-based climate change law.
Michael Mendez has over 10 years of legislative and governmental relations experience in the public and private sectors, including working for the California State Legislature as a Senior Consultant to the Assembly Select Committee on Environmental Justice. Michael most recently served as the Legislative Director for the University of California, Office of the President, focusing on environmental policy, academic and biomedical research, and University-industry relations. He holds two degrees in environmental planning and community economic development, including a graduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Michael has served on several local boards and commissions, including as Vice Chair of the Sacramento City Planning Commission. He is currently a Ford Foundation and UC Chancellor's Fellow and Ph.D. Candidate at UC Berkeley in the Department of City and Regional Planning focusing on science and technology studies (STS), environmental policy and community economic development.