Category Archives: University of Texas at Austin Sociology

On the Sociology of Sport by Letisha Brown

The study of sport within sociology opens up new avenues for investigating several
things within the social world. Through sport scholarship, there is room for critical
examinations of sexuality, race, gender, class, age, health and more. For instance, Dr.
Ben Carrington’s Race, Sport and Politics: The Sporting Black Diaspora, offers a
detailed look into the creation of one of the most longstanding tropes of blackness—the
black athlete. Drawing upon scholars such as Fanon, and Hall, Carrington’s work offers
new insight to the ways in which the field of sport has been used to create, as well as
maintain conceptions of racial identity. Carrington’s work is an asset not only to sports
literature, but also within the context of cultural, diaspora and post/colonial studies as

The study of sport also offers new ways to think about representation, specifically
as it pertains to masculine and feminine identities. The realm of sport is one stage in
which western ideals of the masculine and feminine are (re)produced. The history of the
Olympic Games for instance offers up several examples of the ways ideas of sex/gender
in western culture has been rendered within the context of heteronormativity. Early forms of “gender verification” within the games called for female athletes to undergo a visual examination given by a panel of gynecologists as a means of verifying that only “true” women were involved in the competition (Vannini & Fornssler, 2011). Though there had been incidences of men infiltrating female competitions, such practices became a spring board for determining means of sex/gender not only within sport but within the context of society at larger. To put it another way, the measuring stick of femininity and masculinity during these practices was based upon physical characteristics as the “true markers” of sex/gender.

It is important to look at the history of sport with a critical eye in order to fully examine
the ways in which such practices have been (re)produced within the context of the post/
colonial. Out of these naked parades grew, not only the “gender verification” of today—
chromosomal testing, etc.—but also drug testing within sport. Both drug and sex/gender
testing exist as a means of weeding out athletes who were “unnatural.” Studying sport
within the context of sociology offers scholars and researchers the ability to critically
examine contemporary notions of race, sex/gender, class, age and more.

There are a multitude of questions that still exist within sports sociology; questions that
can be answered via various theoretical frames. For those interested in studies of culture,
media studies, the body and embodiment, health, politics, and more the sociology of sport can offer you an entry point into your deepest area of interest. Jump into discourse.


Carrington, B. (2010). Race, Sport and Politics: The Sporting Black Diaspora. London: Sage.

Vannini, A. & Fornssler, B. (2011). “Girl, Interrupted: Interpreting Semenya’s Body, Gender Verification Testing, and Public Discourse.” Cultural Studies and Critical Methodologies, 11 (3) 243-257.

Letisha Brown is PhD student in the Department of Sociology at UT-Austin. She is the 2011 winner of the Barbara A. Brown Outstanding Student Paper Award awarded by the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport. She received this honor for her paper, “The Spectacle of Blackness: Race, Representation and the Black Female Athlete.”


Research Questions with graduate student Amy Lodge

Research Questions (RQ) is Q&A series profiling the faculty, graduate students, and alumni of the Sociology Department at the University of Texas at Austin. In brief conversations, this series looks at the diverse projects, interests, and sources of inspiration within the UT-Austin sociology community.

This week we take a look at the research of graduate student Amy Lodge, 2012 winner of the Norval Glenn Prize. The Sociology Department established the Norval Glenn Prize in 2011 to celebrate the memory of our esteemed colleague by giving an annual award to the best graduate student paper in the sociology of the family.

Research Questions (RQ): Amy, what brought you to the field of sociology?

Amy Lodge: I was (and am) drawn to the field of sociology because of the unique power of sociology to change the way we see the world. Living in an individualistic society, few of us are encouraged to see how our lives and the lives of others are shaped by broader structures and systems of meaning. Examining the world from a sociological perspective can be scary at first as we often have to re-examine our taken for granted understandings of the social world, but is ultimately an exciting and life-long learning experience.

RQ: Congratulations on winning the 2012 Norval Glenn Prize! Do you have any other exciting news you’d like to share?

AL: Thanks! I am excited to begin analyzing the data for my dissertation. Based on in-depth interviews, my dissertation will examine the processes and meanings through which social ties shape physical activity and how those processes differ for men and women, African Americans and whites, and over the life course. At the Annual American Sociological Association meeting in August, I will present preliminary results from my dissertation which focus particularly on how parenthood shapes physical activity differently over the life course and how that differs at the intersection of race and gender.

I am also excited about a forthcoming article appearing in Journal of Marriage and Family that I co-authored with my advisor Dr. Debra Umberson. It examines how mid and later life married couples experience changes in their sex lives and how those experiences are shaped by the intersection of gender and age.


Amy Lodge is a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology. She earned her MA in Sociology (2008) from the University of Texas and her BA in Sociology (2006) from the University of South Carolina. She is interested in gender and sexuality, aging and the life course, family relationships, race/ethnicity, and physical activity. She currently teaches Gender, Race, and Class in American society and has previously taught Sex and Violence in Pop Culture in the Department of Sociology.

This post is Linsane!

Eric Borja on Jeremy Lin:

The focus of this post is the social phenomenon that is Linsanity in order to simply get people to think about politics, and race in currently trending sports topics.

For those of you who may not keep up with basketball or watch ESPN constantly, may not know what Linsanity is.

Linsanity is a term coined by ESPN correspondents referring to the phenomenon that is Jeremy Lin- a 6’3’’, Asian American point guard on the New York Knicks. In just two short weeks Jeremy Lin has become an overnight global sensation.  He has turned around a historical franchise (the New York Knicks) and has brought them out of obscurity, transforming them into a globally relevant team. His jersey has become the number one selling jersey of the NBA, his rookie card is estimated to sell for $20,000 to $25,000, and he is now covered 24/7 on ESPN.

Oh, and not to mention he is the first American born NBA player of Taiwanese or Chinese descent.

But the truth of the matter is, there have been a number of ‘Cinderella’ stories similar to Lin’s, present and past, throughout football, basketball, baseball and hockey. Yet their stories did not spark a global phenomenon, so why Lin?

Could it be because ‘Lin’ is a marketers dream? Spawning nicknames such as ‘Linsane,’ ‘Linsanity,’ and ‘Linderalla’? Or maybe it’s because he has taken his new fame and glory with humility? Or maybe because two weeks prior to all of this, he was sleeping on fellow teammate, Landry Fields, couch because he was so unsure of his future?

What really seems to be going on, is his race.

He is Asian American. He graduate from Harvard. He had a Xanga account with the username ChinkBalla88.

Jeremy Lin’s story is not just another story about an underdog, or a story about how hard work and perseverance leads to success, but is a story that brings to light sports, race, ethnic sensitivity in the media and politics.

A number of controversies surround Linsanity; one of the first being a tweet posted by Floyd Mayweather (a famous American boxer) on Febraury 13th, 2012. Mayweather wrote, “Jeremy Lin is a good player but all the hype is because he’s Asian. Black players do what he does every night and don’t get the same praise” (@FloydMayweather). This has sparked a number of public responses, ranging from UFC President Dana White calling Mayweather a racist, to prominent Knicks fan (and Director) Spike Lee replying on twitter, “I Hope You Watched Jeremy Hit The Gamewinning 3 Pointer With .005 Seconds Left.Our Guy Can BALL PLAIN AND SIMPLE.RECOGNIZE.”

Another, and most recent, controversy has been the uproar surrounding an article about Jeremy Lin titled “A Chink in the Armor,” which resulted in ESPN editor Anthony Federico’ termination. In a matter of two weeks Linsanity has brought race, ethnic sensitivity and politics to the forefront of the sports media.

The Huffington Post article, a segment on Jeremy Lin’s appeal in China, the segment aired on ESPN about ethnic sensitivity and the column responding to the article “A Chink in the Armor” can all be found at the end of this post. I strongly recommend you check them out.

I’ll end the post by just pointing to a couple things from the column responding to the article “A Chink in the Armor”.

The first thing I want to point out was the link embedded in the column to a 15 year old Jeremy Lin’s Xanga account. I point this out because it is such a great example of how technology has collapsed the space/time continuum. What I mean is that the photos were taken in a room (space) occupied by a 15-year-old Jeremy Lin (time), under the username ChinkBalla88.

A kid, who had no idea what was in store for him in the future, took some silly photos that are a reflection of what kids do. They play around with identities, and for this 15 year old Jeremy Lin, he was ChinkBall88.

But little did he know, that tho(e)se photos would/are (now) being conjured up 8 years later in an ESPN article about ethnic sensitivity in sports. Here we are, in an age where our past, present and future can be downloaded in an instant.

The final thing I want to point out is something the author of the column wrote referring to an Army Private by the name of Danny Chen. Danny Chen took his own life while on duty because a group of his superiors harassed him on a daily basis. They called him ‘gook,’ ‘chink’ and other racial slurs, threw rocks at him and just generally made his life a living hell. The author wrote, “Perhaps it’s a bit damning that four words about a basketball player sparked such outrage while a tragedy like the death of Private Danny Chen went largely unnoticed, but the fucked-up truth is that the story of Danny Chen might have received its proper respect had it come post-Linsanity.

Linsanity could have made the death of an individual relevant, but instead, the death of Danny Chen went largely unnoticed in the pre-Linsanity world.

Also be sure to check out sociology faculty member Dr. Ben Carrington on the show the Stream. The segment is incredible and insightful and Dr. Ben Carrington does an incredible job.


Video of the debate about Ethnic sensitivity on First Take:

Video of Jeremy Lin’s appeal in China:

Column in response to article titled “A Chink in the Armor”:

Huffington Post article about Floyd Mayweather’s tweet:

Dr. Ben Carrington on the Stream:

Why Non-Academic Need Not Be Un-Academic: Reflections on Working Outside the Academy

Our Brownbag series took a closer look at sociological research beyond the university with an exciting panel, “Un-Academic: Reflections on Working Outside the Academy” on February 13. Following introductory remarks by Professor Mary Rose, graduate students Caity Collins, Kristine Kilanski, and David McClendon convened to share insights about their experiences working at FamilienForschung, the Urban Institute, and the Pew Research Center.

Caity’s summer 2011 work with FamilienForschung, a family-focused research and policy institute in Stuttgart, Germany, provided valuable support to aid her master’s thesis research on working mothers and the opportunities and constraints they face when trying to balance work and family responsibilities. Though Caity had lived in Germany before, she anticipated considerable challenges in conducting her interview research given language and cultural barriers. Taking a risk, Caity contacted FamilienForschung and pitched a collaboration, emphasizing her ability to support the institute’s research on gender and work trends in the U.S. and to assist with their English-language writing. In addition to helping her link up with interviewees for her study, Caity’s invaluable affiliation provided access to the institute’s census data, workshops, presentations, conferences as well as administrative resources (desk and phone line).

Kristine brought up good points from her job at the Urban Institute and the Academy of Educational Development (AED) where she worked as a research assistant and research associate. There, she contributed to multiple education-related projects, including a website on high school reform implementation, co-written with Dr. Nettie Legters and Dr. Becky Smerdon. In addition to assisting with multiple  program evaluations (including the evaluation of the Alabama, Math, Science, and Technology Initiative) and other ongoing research projects, Kristine wrote  evidence-based education briefs for state leaders in the Southeastern Regional  Educational Laboratory. Kristine maintains an interest in education, especially innovative programs for educating youth and preparing them to succeed in the workforce and world.  Her advice when considering research positions in and outside the academy is to make a checklist of their advantages and disadvantages.  For researchers in the academy the security of having tenure is offset by the challenges required to get there: publishing while teaching full time.  Her experience in the world of not for profits taught her the value of working at a well-funded policy relevant institution and staying current by looking for opportunities to publish and network.  However, while it’s nice to work 9 – 5, the uncertainties of grant funding can be a real downside.

David spent the 2011 summer working on the Global Religious Futures Project at the Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C. Pew is a well-known “fact tank” that provides facts and data that help inform national dialogues. David came across this research opportunity through the help of his advisor, Professor Mark Regenerus. David’s work at Pew focused on demographic projections of the future sizes and locations of religious populations around the globe. Developing his project into a working paper, David used census data to explore a number of factors affecting religious populations including age structure, religion-specific fertility and mortality rates, and “switching.” David also discussed Pew’s media strategies to publicize research findings non-academic audiences and institutional connections to other contacts in the broader field of religion studies.

Research Questions with graduate students Pamela Neumann and Kate Henley Averett

Research Questions (RQ) is Q&A series profiling the faculty, graduate students, and alumni of the Sociology Department at the University of Texas at Austin. In brief conversations, this series looks at the diverse projects, interests, and sources of inspiration within the UT-Austin sociology community.

This week we check out the exciting projects of graduate students Pamela Neumann and Kate Henley Averett.

 Research Questions (RQ): Pamela, what brought you to the field of sociology?

Pamela Neumann: I’ve always been interested in social inequalities, but during undergrad I approached these problems mostly through the study of electoral politics and state institutions. Post-college, I had several formative experiences working for non-governmental organizations–first in San Antonio and later in Nicaragua–which ultimately led me back to graduate school, initially to UT’s Latin American Studies program. When I began my graduate work, I was fairly certain that I would eventually return to the development world, but that all changed after doing fieldwork in Nicaragua for my thesis. I realized that I had a passion for doing ethnographic research, and writing about the daily lives and struggles of women–so, with the encouragement of a couple faculty mentors in UT’s sociology department, I decided to dive in. And I’m so glad I did.

RQ: What’s your favorite thing to do in Austin?

PN: It’s hard to pick just one! Certainly the many warm and sunny days year round make it easy to spend a lot of time outdoors running or hiking. I also have a serious breakfast taco addiction, and there are more than a few great places to grab those around here.

RQ: What brought you to the field of sociology?

Kate Henley Averett: I took a somewhat winding road to get to sociology. When I began my MDiv program at Harvard in 2005, I was really interested in working with teens and young adults around issues of sexuality and spirituality, and was especially concerned about young queer people experiencing religious-based bullying due to their sexuality and/or gender expression. I grew frustrated during my program that I wasn’t able to find enough research about these issues to inform my career path, which was my first clue that maybe a research-based academic career was the logical next step for me. I spent a couple of years after finishing my masters doing a lot of reading and soul-searching, and when I realized that most of what I was reading were books written by sociologists, I decided to start researching sociology graduate programs.

RQ: Kate, do you have any exciting news in the works?

KHA: I’m currently working on a study that I’m really excited about, interviewing LGBTQ parents of young children about their parenting philosophies and experiences with a specific eye toward thinking through the intersections of gender expression, heteronormativity, and parental expectations in shaping the gendered lives of children. I’m doing a conference course this semester with my faculty mentor, Dr. Christine Williams, to work on preparing a paper for journal submission out of these interviews. Not only am I getting great on-the-ground research experience, I’m also getting tons of ideas for dissertation topics.


Pamela Neumann is a PhD student in the Department of Sociology at UT-Austin. She earned her MA in Latin American Studies from UT-Austin and her BA in Politcal Science from Trinity University (San Antonio). Her master’s thesis focused on the trajectory and effects of women’s participation in community development in rural Nicaragua. She was particularly interested in how women’s involvement in the public sphere affected their own daily routines and household dynamics. Her broad areas of interest are gender, political sociology, poverty and development, and collective action, with a regional focus on Latin America.

Kate Henley Averett is a second year doctoral student studying gender, sexuality, and childhood. Originally from the Boston area, Kate has a BA in Religion from Mount Holyoke College and an MDiv from Harvard University.

February events showcase student and faculty research

Our Sociology Brownbag series is underway with three events this week and next. Also scheduled: February 24th Power History and Society presents: Dr. Sheldon Ekland-Olson talking about his new book “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Decides?

And who can resist a Leap Day (February 29th) taco brunch with Amias Maldonado and Nicholas Reith who present the ins and outs of “Social Networking, both Virtual and In Person”?

March blows in the always exciting and much celebrated 2012 recruiting events, March 21-22, introducing us to our prospective colleagues. Who will join our 2012 cohort?

The Lost Battalion: Sociology Professor Establishes New Scholarship in Honor of Father’s Legacy

Lost BatallionTexans proudly “remember the Alamo,” but few remember the importance of the Battle for the Lost Battalion. Arthur Sakamoto, professor of sociology and Population Research Center affiliate at The University of Texas at Austin, wants to change that.

In honor of the Japanese American soldiers of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team who fought in the bloody World War II battle-including his own father-Sakamoto is starting an undergraduate scholarship called the Battle for the Lost Battalion Scholarship Fund.

The Lost Battalion, also known as the “Alamo” Regiment for its lineage that traces back to the Texas Revolution, was a battalion of 275 soldiers from Texas. Trapped behind enemy lines on a steep ridge in the forest east of Biffontaine, France, they were cut off from the rest of their regiment and completely surrounded by Germans.

The 442nd was charged with the mission to rescue the cut-off battalion, even though they had just spent the entire previous week fighting to free two nearby towns. Engaged in the heaviest fighting they had seen in the war, the soldiers battled the elements as well as the Germans; dense fog and very dark nights prevented the men from seeing even twenty feet ahead of them. Rainfall, snow, cold, mud, and fatigue, plagued them as they slowly crept closer to the German frontlines.

When they could inch no closer, there was nothing left to do but charge up steep slopes, shouting, firing from the hip, and lobbing hand grenades into enemy dugouts Finally, the 442 soldiers broke the German defenses, allowing them to reach the 141st, rescuing 211 Texas soldiers at the cost of 800 Japanese American casualties in just 5 days.

“Since I was young I have heard the battle mentioned by members of my family because my father fought in it,” Sakamoto says. “For its size and length of service, the 442nd is the most highly decorated unit in U.S. military history.  [Yet] the 442nd does not seem to be as widely known as it once was.”

Lost BatallionSakamoto hopes this scholarship will once again raise awareness and respect for the Japanese American men who faithfully, and voluntarily served their country in a time when their family and friends were rounded up and placed in internment camps despite their American citizenship-their only crime being their physical likeness and extended familial ties to the enemy.

“We just wanted to join to prove that we are loyal Americans,” one veteran of the 442nd recently told NBC cameras during a recent news segment on the regiment, echoing a line from the Japanese American creed: Although some individuals may discriminate against me, I shall never become bitter or lose faith, for I know that such persons are not representative of the majority of the American people.

The bravery of the 442nd not only saved the lives of captured American soldiers, but as news of their heroism spread, it helped Japanese Americans to begin to gain acceptance as full-fledged Americans. In 1963, the soldiers of the 442nd were named “Honorary Texans” by the Texas state legislature for their actions.

L&L Cover


During a widely publicized ceremony in 1946, President Harry S. Truman stood outside in the rain to welcome the returning heroes of the 442nd, saying “You’ve fought not only the enemy, but you’ve fought prejudice, and you’ve won.  Keep up that fight, and we’ll continue to win to make this Great Republic stand for just what its Constitution says that it stands for, the welfare of all the people, all the time….”

“What the Battle for the Lost Battalion helped to do was to sear into the national psyche the enduring American truth that all U.S. citizens are equal under the law regardless of their race,” Sakamoto says.

In order to promote a greater awareness of this momentous battle in American history, Sakamoto and The University of Texas at Austin are seeking to honor the valor and sacrifices of the brave Japanese American soldiers of the 442nd through the establishment of the Battle for the Lost Battalion Scholarship Fund.

Sakamoto’s hope is that the scholarship will become operational by 2014, which will be the 70th anniversary of the battle. The goal is to raise $25,000 for an endowment, whose income will be used to support scholarships for deserving undergraduate students in the College of Liberal Arts.

To learn more about supporting the Battle for the Lost Battalion Scholarship Fund please contact Professor Arthur Sakamoto , (512) 232-6338 or Assistant Dean Kathleen Aronson , Office of Development at the College of Liberal Arts at  (512) 475-9763.

Top image: Army portrait of Arthur Sakamoto Sr.
MIddle image: Arthur Sakamoto Sr. in the foreground holding a book
Bottom image: 442nd Regimental Combat Team Patch

Courtesy of Molly Wahlberg

Research Questions with Professors Javier Auyero and Simone Browne

This spring we are excited to launch Research Questions (RQ), a Q&A series profiling the faculty, graduate students, and alumni of the Sociology Department at the University of Texas at Austin. In brief conversations, this series looks at the diverse projects, interests, and sources of inspiration within the UT-Austin sociology community. We kick off the conversation with Professor Javier Auyero and Professor Simone Browne.

RQ: Professor Auyero, what aspect of your current work means the most to you and why?

Javier Auyero: Research and teaching are, in my mind, part of the same meaningful process. I love being in the field and I also love being in the classroom – discussing the latest fieldnote with a student, her new interpretation of an interview, or her novel ideas about a research project. For the past decade and a half, I’ve been more or less obsessing about a few topics – they guide my research and teaching: political clientelism, its relationship with collective action, the role of clandestine connections in politics, urban marginality and environmental suffering, and poor people’s waiting as way of experiencing political domination.

RQ: Any exciting news you want to share with everyone?

JA: We are in the process of creating a new Center for Urban Ethnography in the department that will bring together under one roof all the existing energy and excitement about the craft of ethnography among faculty and students (and hopefully, new funding for graduate students!). I’m also thrilled about the progress of the new cohorts of doctoral students. Their projects show a daring combination of theoretical sophistication and socio-political relevance – it’s a true pleasure (and a wonderful learning experience) to work with them.

RQ: Professor Browne, what aspect of your current work means the most to you and why?

Simone Browne: Cases like that of Jakadrien Turner make the links to my current work on surveillance and black mobilities plain. I first heard about the case of Jakadrien Turner – the 15-year old African-American girl who was “deported” by ICE last spring to Colombia – through Twitter. That a US born teenager with reportedly little Spanish language skills was believed to be a Colombian citizen and rendered through the courts and the removal process is baffling, but in our times of extraordinary rendition, hospital deportations, and the signing of the National Defense Authorization Act, among other measures, it must also lead us to ask about the institutional mechanisms that the state and private actors make use of to allow for such a situation: fingerprints, immigration law, banishment, sexism, racism.

Turner’s grandmother was able to find her through Facebook, and I find that to be a very important aspect of this case: the agential potential that social network sites allow for.

RQ: If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be and why?

SB: That’s a tough question, I could name about twenty people right now. Right now, I really like Nicholas Mirzoeff’s (@nickmirzoeff) The Right to Look: A Counterhistory of Visuality and the work he is doing with others around the Occupy movement. Right to Look has, I think, made a really important intervention in theorizing surveillance in plantation economies and what Mirzoeff calls ‘oversight’ and ‘revolutionary realism’. A dream collaboration would be to think through some of these concepts with him, making links to biometric technology, airports, CCTV and other surveillance practices. It would also be pretty neat to collaborate with visual artist Wangechi Mutu around some of the media coverage of black women who have been detained at airports, removed from airplanes, or subject to searches beyond the standard x-ray: for instance Laura Adiele who had her hair inspected by a TSA agent or Malinda Knowles who was removed from a plane on the suspicion that she was not wearing any undergarments. She was, incidentally. Mutu has said that “Females carry the marks, language and nuances of their culture more than the male. Anything that is desired or despised is always placed on the female body.”

I would probably just hold the adhesive in that collaboration, but I still think it would be neat.


Javier Auyero is the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long in Latin American Sociology at the University of Texas-Austin. He received his PhD from The New School for Social Research in 1998. His main areas of research, writing and teaching are political ethnography, urban poverty, and collective violence. He is the author dozens of articles (published in American Sociological Review, Theory and Society, Latin American Research Review, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, Sociological Forum, etc.) and of Poor People’s Politics (Duke University Press, 2000), Contentious Lives (Duke University Press, 2003), Routine Politics and Violence in Argentina (Cambridge University Press, 2007) and, together with Débora Swistun, Flammable. Environmental Suffering in an Argentine Shantytown (Oxford University Press, 2009). His new book, Patients of the State, will be published in 2012 by Duke University Press. He received fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation in 2000 and from the American Council of Learned Societies in 2008 and grants from the SSRC and NSF. He was the editor of the journal Qualitative Sociology from 2004 to 2010.

Simone Browne is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin, joining in 2007. She is also affiliated with the Department of African & African Diaspora Studies, the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies (WCAAAS), and the Center for Women’s & Gender Studies at UT-Austin. She completed her PhD at the University of Toronto. Professor Browne’s book-length manuscript in preparation, Dark Matters: Surveillance and Black Mobilities examines surveillance with a focus on biometric information technology, airports and borders, slavery, mobile communication, black mobilities and creative texts. Her article “Everybody’s Got a Little Light Under the Sun: Black luminosity and the visual culture of surveillance” leads off the most recent issue of Cultural Studies and is available here. Professor Browne is also a member of the Steering Committee for the Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory (HASTAC).

Rave reviews for “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Decides?”

Early reviews for Dr. Sheldon Ekland-Olson’s new book: “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Decides?” are in and are effusive in their praise for this important study of issues surrounding Life and Death. Abortion, assisted suicide, capital punishment and others are among the most contentious in many societies. Whose rights are protected? How do these rights and protections change over time and who makes those decisions? Based on the author’s award-winning and hugely popular undergraduate courses at the University of Texas, the book explores these questions and the fundamentally sociological processes which underlie the quest for morality and justice in human societies. Dr. Ekland-Olson’s goal is not to advocate any particular moral “high ground” but to shed light on the social movements and social processes which are at the root of these seemingly personal moral questions.

One reviewer calls it a “tour de force, one of the most interesting and thought provoking books he has ever read.” Another was brought to tears by the story of one father’s struggle with the decision to allow his 7 year old child to die. All mention the meticulous breadth and depth of the research, the non-judgmental tone and accessibility of the material. While Sheldon is a teacher’s teacher, his friends and colleagues know that despite his many titles and awards, he remains a happy mortal among men, inspiring not just respect but our profound appreciation.

Dr. Sheldon Ekland-Olson is the Audre and Bernard Centennial Professor at The University of Texas at Austin, where he served as the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Executive Vice President and Provost. He is the winner of numerous teaching awards, and one of his classes was listed among the 2009 10 Hottest Courses in the Nation. His previous publications include The Rope, The Chair and the Needle, Texas Prisons, and Justice Under Pressure.