Why Vote in Mid-Term Elections?

  Here is a “sneak peek” episode from my soon-to-be launched “After Class Podcast“.   This episode is on a timely topic given it’s election day.  So give it a listen, leave some feedback, then go vote! If you are undecided about who to vote for, check out the platform based voters guide I posted here […]

Voting Guide: A Platform-Based Approach

In our political system, deciding who you should vote for is pretty simple: 1) read the Platform for both major political parties, 2) consider whose priorities and policies you agree with most, and 3) vote for the candidates from that party. But few voters ever read the platforms. Instead they base their decisions on the […]

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. […]

Illinois Congressional District Map

Here is a map of the 18 Congressional Districts in Illinois. The map is interactive so you can zoom in to find which district you live in. Bloomington/Normal is divided right in half by the 13th and 18th Districts but all of the ISU campus is located in the 18th Congressional District, currently represented by […]

Illinois House of Representatives – District Map

Here is the district map for the state House of Representatives in place since 2012. There are 118 Illinois House Districts in all. On the eve of the 2018 General election, 67 of these seats were held by Democrats and 51 held by Republicans. Most of the Town of Normal and all of Illinois State […]

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 […]

“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.

Paying the Price: How the High Cost of College Impacts Students and Families

Here’s an episode from the “No Jargon” podcast that discusses the difficulty many students are having paying for their college education and how this impacts them and their families.  It also grapples with the prospects of realizing the American Dream when the surest path to upward mobility is prohibitively expensive. The guest on this episode […]