All posts by porterem

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?

Spring 2012 begins with lots of good news

We’re enjoying a cool, sunny day here in Austin, looking forward to our first Spiderhouse Salon of the spring semester tomorrow at 4:30. Camaraderie, productivity and collaborative discourse and research opportunities make life in Tejasarino (quoting Amanda) memorable and successful. A few good examples from this month alone:

Kudos to Angela Stroud who accepted a tenure track Assistant Professor position at Northland College in the Department of Social Responsibility’s focus on Social Justice! The trek from Austin, TX to Ashland, WI will be an incredible journey for Angela and her family. Send pictures!

Congratulations to Kate Prickett who received two awards at The 2011 Gerontological Society of America Annual Scientific Meeting. For her paper entitled: “Contextualizing Mexican American Living Arrangements: The New Old Age and the Constraints of Culture.”

Great news for Tod Hamilton, 2010 UT SOC grad who has accepted an assistant professor position at Princeton! Kudos Tod!

A very hearty congratulations to Nicolette Manglos who has accepted an assistant professor position from Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts and to Erin Hofmann who will be an assistant professor at Utah State. Great news Nicolette and Erin!

We are indeed fortunate to enjoy both professional opportunities and success along with Austin’s fabulous quality of life. It will be a pleasure to welcome new members to our community in 2012 and share these victories both large and small.

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.

Race and Ethnicity Research Cluster, Fall 2011

Maggie Tate on Race and Ethnicity presentations by Lady Adjepong and Kate Averett

On Friday, December 2nd, the Sociology department’s Race and Ethnicity research cluster met for the final discussion of the semester.  Lady Adjepong, a first year student and Kate Averett, in her second year, presented papers in progress as part of the group’s goal to create a space where students can work through theoretical ideas about race and how race intersects with gender, sexuality, and class.  Lady Adjepong’s paper, “Black Female Masculinities,” grappled with the way black women who perform masculinity fit into discourses of gender and gender non-conformity.  Adjepong is critical of previous research on female masculinities that describes a return to masculinity as male bodied.  Because cultural stereotypes already align black women as closer to masculinity and thus further from femininity than white women, discussions of black female masculinity tend to reify traditional norms regarding racialized notions of beauty and gender.

Kate Averett’s paper, “The Anxious Public: Disruptive Bodies, Troubled Spaces, and Anxious Response,” discussed the anxious public response that followed Bobby Montoya’s wish to join the Girl Scouts of Colorado.  Bobby, a seven year old whose assigned sex was boy but who identifies socially as a girl, was denied entry into the Girl Scout program in the fall of 2011 because he “had boy parts.”  Averett analyzed news websites that reported the story, as well as the comments that were posted in response to the news reports and found a pattern of sensationalism in the reporting and gender anxiety on the side of the public.  Averett argued that because spaces coincide with a somatic norm, when bodies that don’t fit that norm attempt to inhabit those spaces, the response is characterized by anxiety and terror.  The co-construction of bodies and spaces maintains the masculinity/femininity binary, and disruptions to the boundary threaten to destabilize the identities of individuals.  But more than this, Averett argues, the Girl Scouts’ historical role in shoring up American values means that the separation of the sexes/genders is part of the construction of a national identity. Thus, individual gender anxieties become national gender anxieties.  Questions for further discussion to Adjepong’s paper include how we can theorize gender presentations without returning to traits or characteristics embedded in the body, and how Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I a Woman” speech might inform contemporary discussions of the intersection of race and gender.  Questions for further discussion to Averett’s paper include to what extent “strange” bodies in spaces are required to construct somatic norms, how much anxiety around identity and Girl Scouts is a future oriented fear, and how Bobby Montoya’s racial identity contributes to the anxiety her presence produces.

Happy Holidays from UT Austin Sociology

It’s always a pleasure to enjoy kicking off the holidays at the historic Littlefield Home. As we bring the semester to a close, celebrating our community of friends and colleagues, it’s good to take time to refresh and look forward to a new semester of challenges and good cheer. View a movie of our: 2012 Holiday Party. Season’s Greetings to one and all from the Sociology Department at the University of Texas at Austin.

Intersections: Women’s and Gender Studies in Review Across Disciplines call for submissions

Intersections: Women’s and Gender Studies in Review Across Disciplines has just published its ninth issue. Earlier this month, four current editorial staff members, Amy Lodge, Michelle Mott, Vivian Shaw, and Maggie Tate, hosted a round table discussion about working on an interdisciplinary journal. At the round table, the editors discussed the process for crafting an interdisciplinary call for papers, the procedure for producing the journal from the call for papers to the publication, and the move from a print journal to a web-based journal.

Intersections was founded in 2002 by graduate students in the English Department and the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies. Over the last several years, a number of Sociology graduate students have served as editorial staff members, contributors, and peer-reviewers. The current staff also consists of graduate students from the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, Radio-Television-Film, American Studies, and African and African Diaspora Studies. As Amy, Michelle, Vivian, and Maggie walked us through the CFP for Issue 9: Gender and Social Justice and for the current CFP for Issue 10: Media(ting) Genders and Sexualities: Identity, Representation, and Politics in Media, they discussed how the editorial board works to find language that is broad enough to attract a wide array of submissions, but is specific enough to articulate a general theme. Choosing key terms that both reflect the editorial board’s interests and speak across many disciplines (recognizing that certain terms take on different meanings within various scholarly fields) is very challenging.

The current issue and last two issues are available in print copy (at no cost). You can obtain a copy by emailing: In addition, the current issue is available to view online at: The Intersections Editorial Board are accepting submissions for article abstracts, book reviews, and creative submissions until December 1, 2011. See Call for Papers below for details:

CFP: Media(ting) Genders and Sexualities: Identity, Representation, and Politics in Media
Intersections: Women’s and Gender Studies in Review Across Disciplines is an interdisciplinary graduate student publication welcoming work from current graduate students. We are committed to the interdisciplinary research of women’s and gender issues and are affiliated with the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.

The journal encourages scholars in all fields to contribute scholarly essays, book reviews, and creative writing relating to this issue’s theme, Media(ting) Genders and Sexualities: Identity, Representation, and Politics in Media. We expect that this theme will inspire submissions that put gender and sexuality in conversation with intersecting identities of race, economic class, disability, nationality, and indigeneity, and encourage submissions on all forms of media.
Submissions might address, but are not limited to, the following topics:

● Representations of gender, sexuality, and race
● Property, authorship, and expression in local and transnational contexts
● Queering media
● Space and the body in media
● Social media and popular culture

The deadline for 200 – 300 word abstracts is December 1, 2011. We use a digital Open Journal System for submissions. To submit your abstract, please make an account on our website: You will be able to track your submission through your account. Questions should be sent to editors at
Completed papers and artwork are due by February 1, 2012. All submissions should include the author’s name, institution and department, contact information, title of submission, and word count. Scholarly essays and creative writing should be less than 5000 words.  For book reviews, please email for a list of possible titles. Book reviews should be between 750 –1250 words and include publication information about books reviewed.