Religion and Guns Research Digested in Academic Minute

For those of you who would rather listen to me explain my recent article on religion and guns in America than read it, you can do so thanks to WAMC Public Radio’s Academic Minute program, which is also available on the Inside Higher Education website. Or if you are a real glutton for statistical punishment, … Continue reading Religion and Guns Research Digested in Academic Minute

New Course for Fall 2015: The Sociology of Guns

I am excited to be teaching a new course in the fall semester, related to my new research project on American gun culture: Sociology 384: Special Topics Seminar - The Sociology of Guns. Course description follows the flier. COURSE DESCRIPTION Guns often have a spectacular presence in the American imagination, from George Zimmerman to Sandy Hook … Continue reading New Course for Fall 2015: The Sociology of Guns

William Butler Yeats on the Experience of Modernity

I have always invoked Marshall Berman invoking Karl Marx invoking Shakespeare (Prospero in "The Temptest") to describe the experience of modernity: "All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned." But I could equally well use Irish poet William Butler Yeats from "The Second Coming" (1919) via African novelist Chinua Achebe: … Continue reading William Butler Yeats on the Experience of Modernity

On the Ideal of Ethical Neutrality in Research on America’s Culture Wars

I am not sure what it says about me, but in my career as a sociologist, I have been drawn to some of the more controversial issues of my time. What James Davison Hunter way back in 1991 called “culture wars.” Culture wars, according to Hunter, are “struggles to define America,” and have been fought … Continue reading On the Ideal of Ethical Neutrality in Research on America’s Culture Wars

Chris Rock’s Neo-Marxist View of Minimum Wage

In my classical theory class we just finished reading excerpts from three of Karl Marx's most (in)famous works: the Paris Manuscripts, Capital, and the Communist Manifesto. Marx confidently predicted that the contradictions inherent in the capitalist system would lead to its downfall, as economic crises would get progressively worse over time, making clear to workers … Continue reading Chris Rock’s Neo-Marxist View of Minimum Wage

Gun Rights versus Gun Control: On the Need to Understand Sampling Error in Reporting Statistics

Based on a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, we can be 95% confident that the actual gap in American’s attitudes toward protecting gun rights versus controlling gun ownership is as small as 0% and as large as 12%. Depending on where you stand on the issue, things might not be as bad as … Continue reading Gun Rights versus Gun Control: On the Need to Understand Sampling Error in Reporting Statistics