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  1. Study Uses Internet and Social Media to Show How Fracking Documentary Influenced Public Perception and Political Change

    Social scientists have long argued documentary films are powerful tools for social change.

    But a University of Iowa (UI) sociologist and his co-researchers are the first to use the Internet and social media to systematically show how a documentary film reshaped public perception and ultimately led to municipal bans on hydraulic fracking.

  2. Elements of Professional Expertise: Understanding Relational and Substantive Expertise through Lawyers' Impact

    Lawyers keep the gates of public justice institutions, particularly through their roles in formal procedures like hearings and trials. Yet, it is not clear what lawyers do in such quintessentially legal settings: conclusions from past research are bedeviled by a lack of clear theory and inconsistencies in research design. Conceptualizing litigation work in terms of professional expertise, I conduct a theoretically grounded synthesis of the findings of extant studies of lawyers’ impact on civil case outcomes.

  3. "No Fracking Way!" Documentary Film, Discursive Opportunity, and Local Opposition against Hydraulic Fracturing in the United States, 2010 to 2013

    Recent scholarship highlights the importance of public discourse for the mobilization and impact of social movements, but it neglects how cultural products may shift discourse and thereby influence mobilization and political outcomes. This study investigates how activism against hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") utilized cultural artifacts to influence public perceptions and effect change. A systematic analysis of Internet search data, social media postings, and newspaper articles allows us to identify how the documentary Gasland reshaped public discourse.

  4. None of the above: Strategies for Inclusive Teaching with "Representative" Data

    This conversation explores emerging debates concerning teaching to and about marginalized populations often left out of "representative" data sets. Based on our experiences studying, teaching, and belonging to some of these unrepresented populations, we outline some strategies sociologists may use to transform the limitations of data sets traditionally labeled as representative into tools for delivering core sociological concepts.

  5. Enhancing Student Compositional Diversity in the Sociology Classroom

    It is well documented that interaction between diverse students encourages positive learning outcomes. Given this, we examine how to enhance the quantity and quality of student diversity in university classrooms. Drawing on sociological theory linking life experiences with ways of knowing, we investigate how to increase classroom diversity by considering when, where, and how courses are scheduled and delivered.

  6. Teaching Around the World: Sociology on the Semester at Sea Ship

    Michelle M. Camacho, Fellow, American Council on Education

  7. The Graduate Teaching Seminar Project Using TRAILS

    A vigorous discipline of sociology requires the creation of meaningful research knowledge and the training of professional sociologists able to pass on that knowledge effectively. In spring 2015, four ASA Department Affiliate institutions participated in a pilot project to integrate TRAILS, ASA’s Teaching Resources and Innovations Library for Sociology, into their graduate teaching seminars.

  8. Graduate Student Teacher Training: Still Relevant (and Missing?) 20 Years Later

    Twenty years ago, Pescosolido and Milkie (1995) reported that 50 percent of U.S. and Canadian sociology graduate programs offered formal teacher training. Despite pronouncements that offerings have increased substantially, no similarly thorough and direct investigation has been published since. In this time of dramatic change and increasing scrutiny of higher education, graduate teacher training is arguably more important than ever before. Thus, we seek to provide a new baseline of teacher training in the discipline. Using a 2013 survey of U.S.

  9. Does the Center Hold? Reflections on a Sociological Core

    Is there a distinct disciplinary core (or foundation of agreed on knowledge) in sociology? Should we define a core in our broad field to build consensus? If so, what should it look like? We address these questions by presenting three viewpoints that lean for and against identifying a core for department curricula, students, and the public face of sociology. First, "There really is not much, if any, core." Second, sociology is "a habit of the mind" (a sociological imagination). Third, key content of a sociological core can be identified using a long or short list.

  10. The Center Does Hold: The Sociological Literacy Framework

    This article provides a critique and an addition to observations raised by Ballantine et al. in this issue. After reviewing the strengths of Ballantine et al.’s article about the need for a core in sociology, I argue that this debate has gone on long enough and needs to be reframed around areas of agreement.