Pizza Party!

Come check out the Sociology Club, we’ll provide the Pizza!

Wednesday, Sept 17, 2014 at 4PM in SBS Castro, Room 337.

Microsoft Word - Soc Club 2014 Party.docx

See you there!

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Sex Sells, Right?

The BBC’s Global News Podcast did a segment today on whether or not music videos have become too sexually explicit.  They cited Nicki Minaj’s video for Anaconda and J. Lo’s upcoming single, Booty, as examples of female musicians using their own (and others’) bodies in a sexually explicit way in their music videos.

Do the choices of these singers affect anything beyond their own music videos?  Is this simply art/entertainment?  Is this empowering or exploitative – or both?  Is this just a case of an older generation not understanding a new generation’s taste?

What do you think?

The segment begins at 20:20 in the 12 Sep 14 AM podcast.

Also, does it matter at all that both the host of this segment and the person interviewed are male?

Did even we use “sex” to sell this post?  Would you have clicked on it if we had titled it something like – Have Music Videos Become Too Explicit?

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Welcome and Welcome Back!

Welcome to all our new students and welcome back to those returning!

We hope you had busy, fulfilling summers and are here refreshed and renewed, ready to enjoy a new year at NAU.  The Sociology & Social Work Department is welcoming several new faces to our faculty – Jamie Clem (Social Work), Katherine Everhart (Sociology), Mohamed Mohamed (Sociology), and Michelle Tellez (Sociology/Ethnic Studies).  We’re also happy to announce that the Child Welfare Project is now almost completely staffed, headed up by Julie Fritzler and Tiffany Ryan, both of whom will also be teaching for Social Work.  We also have two new students workers – Rebecca Goldader and Chitundu Simpanya – who are joining Lauren Valenzuela in helping to keep our department office running smoothly.  They’ll also be the faces you see in the department window, answering questions and helping students get to classes.

We’ll leave you with some food for thought – over the summer Lee & Low Books did a study of the 100 highest grossing Sci-Fi and Fantasy films and discovered that those films lack diversity.  Here is their blog post from this summer:

Where’s the Diversity, Hollywood?

What do you think?

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“Social Work Gives Back” Day

Social Work students, faculty, advisory board, and friends kicked off Social Work Month on Saturday, March 1st, with a “Social Work Gives Back” Service Day.  Social Work students were joined by the NAU Kappa Alpha Fraternity and Chi Omega Sorority to paint three classrooms at Summit High School, FUSD’s alternative 9-12 program.  With 49 volunteers, the work was accomplished quickly and was a lot fun!  Thanks to everyone who was able to participate!

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Sociology is International

Kooros Mahmoudi is our department’s world traveler.  He just spent the last 2 months or so in Thailand at Burapha University, working with several of their faculty on demographic techniques and research design seminars.  No matter how many differences, there are always constants in this world, and the study of Sociology (and other disciplines!) is one of those constants.

In appreciation for his time at BU, Dean Patchnaee of the School of Business Management and Organization presented Kooros with a gift.  Here are a couple of pictures from the ceremony.

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Where would you like to travel?

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Congratulations to our Faculty!

Earlier this week three of our faculty were honored by the university for their many years of service!  Douglas Degher and Warren Lucas both celebrated their 40th year teaching, and Richard Fernandez marked his 35th year teaching at NAU.

Janine Schipper and Michelle Harris were also just promoted to full professors.

Thank you to all of our faculty, and to all of our students for helping to keep our department active and engaged!

harris small 2     janine small    Warren Small

Michelle Harris             Janine Schipper            Warren Lucas

dougsmall       Fernandez

Douglas Degher                                              Richard Fernandez

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Sociology in this Technological Age

Some of our students wonder what one does with a Sociology degree.  One of the best ways to find out is to learn about other Sociologists.  One such person was Clifford Nass, who passed away last weekend.  He was a professor at Stanford, and his research into how people interact with technology is very relevant to how we all live our lives today.  He and his team were some of the first researchers in the ’90s to discover that while computers are machines, most people interact with them in very human ways.  We get upset or angry when the technology we’re surrounded by doesn’t do what we want it to do.  We feel flattered and good when a computer tells us we did a good job.  In one study, he had people use a computer with a prominent green frame.  Subjects were given either a matching green armband or a blue armband.  The study found that those who wore the matching green armband were more likely to feel favorably toward the green-banded computer than those who wore the blue.  He explored many of these themes in his 2010 book, The Man Who Lied to His Laptop.  

Most recently, his work focused on multi-tasking – specifically how we are now surrounded by technology that is constantly competing for our attention: Facebook messages, twitter feeds, 24 hour news channels, texts, phones, tablets, notebooks, etc.  As an University professor, he was perfectly placed to see how students had changed over the years, moving from only face-to-face interactions to communicating with each other through their devices – sometimes even when in the same room or just down the hall from each other.  His work was featured in a Frontline documentary in 2009.  

For further details – and to find out exactly what he did discover about multi-tasking (his working theory going into the study was that heavy multi-taskers would display exceptional skills at organizing data, switching between tasks and/or focusing on pertinent information, etc.  His findings were very interesting on all those points.), here are two good articles:

LA Times: Clifford Nass
New York Time: Clifford Nass

What do you think you would end up doing with a Sociology degree?

Have a great weekend!

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