Department of Sociology Schedule of Events
March 7, 2014 (2:00-3:00)- Workshop on Power, Resistance, and Social Change
Sam Plummer, Graduate Student in the Department of Sociology
March 21, 2014 (TBA)
Barone Lecture Series
Matthew Schneirov is an associate professor of Sociology at Duquesne University. He has written books on turn of the twentieth century popular magazines in America and more recently an ethnographic study of alternative health (or CAM) groups understood as a “new social movement.” He has been interested in health movements more generally. Over the past few years he has been working on two projects: one an examination of the various connections between print culture and social movements during the Progressive Era. He is exploring alternative ways of conceptualizing the birth of “mass culture” in America that foregrounds both social movements and the transformation of American capitalism from its competitive to corporate/consumer phase. In addition, he is working on (in collaboration with Richard Schneirov, a historian of the labor movement during the Gilded Age in America) a project that explores that utility of reexamining “capitalism”” as a central concept in social movements studies using the work of historians of American history, the classic work of Karl Polanyi and others.
March, 27 2014 (12:30-2:00)
Dr. Matthew Hughey, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Connecticut
"White Bound: Nationalists, Antiracists, and the Shared Meanings of Race"
Discussions of race are inevitably fraught with tension, both in opinion and positioning. Too frequently, debates are framed as clear points of opposition—us versus them. And when considering white racial identity, a split between progressive movements and a neoconservative backlash is all too frequently assumed. Taken at face value, it would seem that whites are splintering into antagonistic groups, with differing worldviews, values, and ideological stances.
White Bound investigates these dividing lines, questioning the very notion of a fracturing whiteness, and in so doing offers a unique view of white racial identity. Matthew Hughey spent over a year attending the meetings, reading the literature, and interviewing members of two white organizations—a white nationalist group and a white antiracist group. Though he found immediate political differences, he observed surprising similarities related to how both groups make meaning of whiteness. His talk will examine these similarities to illuminate not just the many ways of being white, but how these actors make meaning of whiteness in ways that collectively reproduce both white identity and, ultimately, white supremacy.
March 28, 2014 (1:00-2:00)- Workshop on Power, Resistance, and Social Change
Mehr Latif , Graduate Student in the Department of Sociology
April 4 , 2014 (2:00-3:00)- Workshop on Power, Resistance, and Social Change
Dr. Rachel Kutz-Flamenbaum, Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology
April 10-12, 2014
Pitt Sociology Department to Co-Host International Conference on Social Movements and Global Transformation
On April 10-12, 2014, the University of Pittsburgh will host the 38th Conference of the Political Economy of the World-System (PEWS), which will focus on the theme of “Social Movements and Global Transformation.” The interdisciplinary conference is co-sponsored by the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, the Center for Latin American Studies, World History Center, Humanities Center, University Center for International Studies, Global Studies Center, Departments of History, Political Science, and Sociology, School of Law, and the Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies Program at the University of Pittsburgh. The conference is also supported by the Journal of World-Systems Research, which is currently housed at the University of Pittsburgh. Click [here] for the full Conference Program.
One of the most eminent and visible sociologists alive today, Immanuel Wallerstein, will be a keynote speaker and participant in the conference. Wallersteinhe founder and main intellectual driving force of the influential “world-systems” perspective, and he is Senior Research Scholar at Yale University and Maison des Sciences de l'Homme (Paris). His public lecture will be a university-wide event. Other keynote address by Sylvia Walby bring prominent international scholar-practitioners to Pittsburgh to offer important perspectives on gender, race, radical democracy, and contemporary social movements in the global South. Keynote addresses will be university-wide events and are open to the public.
As one of main conference organizers, the sociology department’s members will be very active in the conference. We expect to provide a number of opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to meet and exchange ideas with the scholars attending the conference from around the country as well as from other countries. In addition, we have organized our 2013-2014 speaker series to complement the conference theme and provide opportunities for reflection and discussion of the conference theme throughout the entire academic year.
April 18, 2014 (1:00-2:30)
Dr. Kathleen Fallon, Associate Professor, at SUNY Stonybrook
Domesticating Transnational Activists in Ghana: Movements, States, and Soft Repression
Within the literature on transnational activism, domestic contention is undertheorized. We add to the literature in two ways. First, we demonstrate how transnational contention often takes place within the domestic arena, where the state acts as a mediator between the global and the local and thus contributes to the successes and failures of transnational movements. Second, borrowing from countermovement literature, we identify one central process that explains how states negotiate their conflicting interests in international commitments and domestic policies: soft repression. Through soft repression, states may limit the resources, capacity and ability of domestic actors to bring the symbolic politics of international agreements to fruition. We highlight two mechanisms of soft repression employed by the state: the mobilization of state resources and counterframing techniques. Using Ghana as a case study, we demonstrate how proposed domestic violence legislation initially garnered support when linked to international norms, but lost ground when state actors mobilized resources to stall the bill and successfully counterframed the law as a foreign import and a threat to Ghanaian culture and families. Our findings demonstrate how the transnational must attend to the interactions between activists and their opponents at the national level, where the symbolic politics of international declarations collide with the realities of state power, and where transnational struggles often come to fruition.