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  1. Toward a Sociology of Colonial Subjectivity: Political Agency in Haiti and Liberia

    The authors seek to connect global historical sociology with racial formation theory to examine how antislavery movements fostered novel forms of self-government and justifications for state formation. The cases of Haiti and Liberia demonstrate how enslaved and formerly enslaved actors rethought modern politics at the time, producing novel political subjects in the process. Prior to the existence of these nations, self-determination by black subjects in colonial spaces was impossible, and each sought to carve out that possibility in the face of a transatlantic structure of slavery.
  2. Comment: Bayes, Model Uncertainty, and Learning from Data

    The problem of model uncertainty is a fundamental applied challenge in quantitative sociology. The authors’ language of false positives is reminiscent of Bonferroni adjustments and the frequentist analysis of multiple independent comparisons, but the distinct problem of model uncertainty has been fully formalized from a Bayesian perspective.
  3. Comment: Some Challenges When Estimating the Impact of Model Uncertainty on Coefficient Instability

    I once had a colleague who knew that inequality was related to an important dependent variable. This colleague knew many other things, but I focus on inequality as an example. It was difficult for my colleague to know just how to operationalize inequality. Should it be the percentage of income held by the top 10 percent, top 5 percent, or top 1 percent of the population? Should it be based on the ratio of median black income to median white income, or should it be the log of that ratio? Should it be based on the Gini index, or perhaps the Theil index would be better?
  4. The Emergence of Statistical Objectivity: Changing Ideas of Epistemic Vice and Virtue in Science

    The meaning of objectivity in any specific setting reflects historically situated understandings of both science and self. Recently, various scientific fields have confronted growing mistrust about the replicability of findings, and statistical techniques have been deployed to articulate a “crisis of false positives.” In response, epistemic activists have invoked a decidedly economic understanding of scientists’ selves. This has prompted a scientific social movement of proposed reforms, including regulating disclosure of “backstage” research details and enhancing incentives for replication.
  5. Time, Anticipation, and the Life Course: Egg Freezing as Temporarily Disentangling Romance and Reproduction

    This study examines women’s use of egg freezing as a tool to renegotiate the relationship between romantic and reproductive trajectories and temporalities. We interviewed 52 participants who were considering freezing their eggs, were in the process of freezing their eggs, had already frozen their eggs, or had considered freezing their eggs and chose not to do so. We find that most of our participants used egg freezing to disentangle the trajectory of finding a partner from the trajectory of having children, with the end goal of bundled marriage and childbearing.
  6. Comment: The Inferential Information Criterion from a Bayesian Point of View

    As Michael Schultz notes in his very interesting paper (this volume, pp. 52–87), standard model selection criteria, such as the Akaike information criterion (AIC; Akaike 1974), the Bayesian information criterion (BIC; Schwarz 1978), and the minimum description length principle (MDL; Rissanen 1978), are purely empirical criteria in the sense that the score a model receives does not depend on how well the model coheres with background theory. This is unsatisfying because we would like our models to be theoretically plausible, not just empirically successful.
  7. Comment: Evidence, Plausibility, and Model Selection

    In his article, Michael Schultz examines the practice of model selection in sociological research. Model selection is often carried out by means of classical hypothesis tests. A fundamental problem with this practice is that these tests do not give a measure of evidence. For example, if we test the null hypothesis β = 0 against the alternative hypothesis β ≠ 0, what is the largest p value that can be regarded as strong evidence against the null hypothesis? What is the largest p value that can be regarded as any kind of evidence against the null hypothesis?
  8. Featured Essay: The Contributions of Charles Tilly to the Social Sciences

    Evaluating Charles Tilly’s contributions to the social sciences is not an easy task: “Chuck Tilly was a master of sociological thinking and methodology,” wrote two of his former students when he passed away ten years ago; “But he was sufficiently concerned about getting to the heart and dynamics of questions and topics that he never permitted the blinkers of disciplinary orthodoxy to stand in his way” (Michelson and Wellman 2008).
  9. Featured Essay: The Arrival of Social Science Genomics

    “The genetics revolution may be well underway,” write Dalton Conley and Jason Fletcher in The Genome Factor, “but the social genomics revolution is just getting started” (p. 11). They are not alone in their excitement for recent developments bringing together social science and genetic research. Decades from now, folks may well look back at this time as the start of a golden age for the field.
  10. Childhood Family Instability and Young Adult Health

    American children live in a variety of family structures throughout their childhoods. Such instability in family arrangements is common and has important demonstrated implications for short-term child outcomes. However, it is not known whether family instability experienced in childhood has enduring health consequences across the life course.