Is Our Democracy in Danger?

Can democracy survive when large segments of the population no longer have faith in it? And what happens if one of the two major political parties actively works to undermine that faith as a strategy to achieve their political goals? Is this where we now find ourselves? One of my favorite programs for news and […]

My Favorite Episodes of the “Hidden Brain”

One of my favorite podcasts is the “Hidden Brain” (it’s also a show heard on National Public Radio). It’s not only extremely well-produced but it’s a good example of how social science can shed light on important issues. As a public sociologist I respect host Shankar Vedantam‘s effort to bring social science to a wider […]

Red Pill or Blue Pill?

If only seeing the world with the sociological perspective was this easy! Click here or on the image below to watch a classic scene from The Matrix, then take the poll to record which pill you would take.

How “Setting Bail” Undermines the U.S. Justice System

Check out this segment of a TED Radio Hour episode documenting how profoundly unjust the system of setting bail is. A great example of an “inconvenient fact” that our criminal justice system is fundamentally unfair – particularly when it comes to how it deals with people charged with a crime but who cannot post bail. […]

Sociologically Relevant Segments this week from NPR

Here are four segments this week from National Public Radio that struck me as particularly relevant to some of the topics we are discussing in my courses. Why More Men Don’t Get Into The Field Of Nursing Story illustrating the power of gender roles and gender as a social institution. New Book Looks At Why […]

Please Remain Seated

Next week four thousand ISU students wearing long gowns and funny hats will walk across a stage and receive an empty red diploma cover in a ritual marking the end of a successful college career.  The mood at the various commencement ceremonies on campus is festive.  At the one I participate in each year as […]

Racial Bias and Police Shootings: “The Mind of the Village”

Here is an episode from The Hidden Brain, of one of my favorite radio programs that uses social science and storytelling to explain the hidden patterns behind our behavior and beliefs (it’s also a podcast). In this segment the host explores the role unconscious racial bias might play in recent police shootings of unarmed black […]

Podcast

We are currently producing a podcast that will be formally launched in the coming weeks on Apple and Google Podcasts.  In the meantime, we are…

“Hooking Up” on College Campuses

Here’s an alarming look at the “romantic” norms of contemporary college life.  Lisa Wade, sociologist at Occidental College, has done extensive research into the unspoken but powerful rules that govern the culture of casual sex on college campuses.  She is the guest on this episode of the “Hidden Brain” podcast.