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.



April 07

Jane McAlevey, Organizer, Author, and Scholar

Book Talk: Beating the Attack on Workers by Building High Participation Unions

12:30-2:00PM College 8, Room 301

Jane will discuss the lessons learned from ten years of building strong local unions that win collective bargaining and political gains based on deep and extensive membership involvement, particularly in the context of the right-to-work state of Nevada and in the face of intensive union-busting efforts of for-profit hospital employers. She will shed light on the ongoing debates over how to rebuild union power in the face of austerity, growing inequality, and Conservative parties' attacks on the basis of union organizational security. 

Jane McAlevey’s first book, Raising Expectations (and Raising Hell), published by Verso Press, was named the “most valuable book of 2012” by The Nation Magazine. She has served as Executive Director and Chief Negotiator for SEIU Nevada, as National Deputy Director for Strategic Campaigns of the Healthcare Division for SEIU, and she was the Campaign Director of the one of the only successful multi-union, multi-year, geographic organizing campaigns for the national AFL-CIO (in Stamford, Connecticut). She has led power structure analyses and strategic planning trainings for a wide range of union and community organizations and has had extensive involvement in globalization and global environmental issues. She worked at the Highlander Research and Education Center as an educator (and as Deputy Director) in her early 20’s. McAlevey is a contributing writer at The Nation magazine.

For a sense of Jane's take on these matters, see her interview with Laura Flanders or visit Copies of Jane's book will be available at the talk for $20. 


April 14

Rick Baldoz, Oberlin College

Book Talk: The Strange Career of the Filipino 'National': Race, Immigration and the Bordering of U.S. Empire

12:30-2:00PM College 8, Room 301

This talk will explore the incorporation of Filipino immigrants in the United States during the first half of the twentieth century, focusing on the interplay of colonialism, racial boundaries and citizenship policy. The influx of Filipinos to the United States that followed the annexation of the Philippines confounded American authorities tasked with enforcing traditional racial checkpoints in American society. This talk will illustrate how the geo-political imperatives of U.S. imperial expansion repeatedly collided with domestic practices of racial exclusion forcing American policymakers to recalibrate the administrative boundaries of the national polity to address the status of colonial migrants. Contestation over the socio-legal status of Filipinos in the United States offers important insights into the contingent and contested nature of America’s ascriptive hierarchies and the interlocking politics of immigration, race and U.S. statecraft.

Rick Baldoz is an Assistant Professor in the Sociology Department at Oberlin College. He is the author of the award winning book, The Third Asiatic Invasion: Empire and Migration in Filipino America, 1898-1946 (NYU Press). He is currently working on a book project about the 1965 Hart Celler Immigration Act, examining this historical legislation against the backdrop of Cold War politics, anti-colonial upheaval, and domestic civil rights mobilization.


April 21

Graduate Student Workshop: Postdoctoral Fellowships

12:30-2:00PM College 8, Room 301

Are you curious about postdoctoral fellowships? Join us for a panel on postdoctoral fellowships with James Battle (Sociology), Chelsea Blackmore (Anthropology), and Olga Najera-Ramirez (Anthropology), who will share their experiences in applying for these fellowships as well as working as a postdoc. They will also share successful strategies on when and how to start the application process since postdoctoral fellowship applications are due in the fall!

For more information, please contact Jimi Valiente-Neighbours:


May 5

Graduate Student Workshop: Preparing your Packet

12:30-2:00PM College 8, Room 301

Talk information coming soon

Fascilitator: Jimiliz Valiente-Neighbours


May 12

Ruth Müller, Lund University

On using your elbows. Care, critique and the normative structure of science.

12:30-2:00PM College 8, Room 301

Care as an aspect of scientific practice is rarely a focus of attention in science & technology studies (STS) and the sociology of science. Care work is connected with the routine and the mundane, the necessary, but the not the exciting. Care as a value and practice is traditionally, among other things, deeply gendered, reflecting the habitual, dichotomous splitting of labor into productive and reproductive work and unevenly distributed by class and race.

This talk will examine care as integral part of scientific practice from an empirical perspective. It draws on interviews with life scientists in Austria and the US to discuss which tasks are perceived as care work and which value is assigned to performing these tasks within contemporary life science research culture. It goes on to diagnose first a widening of what is perceived as care work (or a narrowing of what is perceived as productive work) and second a marginalization and progressive devaluation of the tasks associated with care. The paper concludes with a discussion of what are possible consequences of this, particularly regarding the heavily belabored but hardly achieved goal of science as an inclusive, merit-based and transparent institution.