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 […]

Video Playlist: Ideology and Political Beliefs

Here are some videos I’ve compiled on the topic of political beliefs and ideology in the United States. Given our politically divided times, this seemed like a relevant theme to explore. The goal of the playlist is to give some historical context, highlight key philosophical and moral differences, and show how liberalism and conservatism relate […]

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 […]

America’s Never-Ending War on Drugs

One of the most valuable sources of news and analysis I’ve found in recent years is a program called “On The Media”.  It’s a weekly show produced by WNYC, a public radio station in New York.  The show offers insightful analysis of current events and critically examines how the  media covers them.  I learn something […]

Inequality and Unions

Ever wonder why income inequality in the U.S. is so extreme? Here is one big reason why: This graphic compares the portion of income received by the richest 10% and the portion of the workforce who are union members. Note that those at the top earners take a larger share of the nation’s income when […]

Renewing Democracy in Trumpland

Less than an hour before it began, I posted a last-minute announcement on Facebook to alert my local friends about a rally to support immigrant rights and religious freedom in opposition to Donald Trump’s recent orders.  No big deal, right? Well, maybe it was a big deal after all, here’s why: My Facebook announcement about […]

Is There a Bernie Bias?

Underdog political candidates often claim they are ignored by the mainstream media; and the Bernie Sanders’ campaign is no exception.  His supporters are complaining that despite his string of primary election wins over Hillary Clinton, the media is not giving him the coverage he is due. I don’t put much stock in conspiracy theories, but  […]