#BlackLivesMatter Miniseries 3: Defunding the Police

ABSTRACT

We’re continuing our #BlackLivesMatter miniseries and exploring what it means when people demand that we defund the police. Annually the U.S. spends around $115 billion on police departments– an amount that has tripled over the past 40 years. So supporters of #BLM are calling for divestment from police as one way to combat police violence and aggression. What does defunding look like? How would it happen? And wait, wait, wait, with less police won’t crime go up?! Tune in here to learn more.

Keywords

#BlackLivesMatter, social movements, race, racism, police brutality, police violence

Sources

#BlackLivesMatter Miniseries 2: Vive la Resistance!

Note: This is a re-release of an old episode we did back in November 2017. While we were not discussing resistance and social movements in the context of George Floyd’s murder and the #BlackLivesMatter protests, we still believe the content is relevant today.

Abstract

Resist! It’s such a buzzword with deep historical roots, but what exactly is resistance? What does it mean to resist and to struggle? How can we resist? What are some strategies or ways to resist? Many social issues are now at the forefront of the global conversation, especially with Trump’s presidency, from racism to sexual harassment, to basic human decency. Resistance is a difficult and long-drawn out process – it’s not for us, it’s for our children. It’s not for today, but for tomorrow. Change can’t happen without resistance, so join us this week to learn more!

Keywords

Sociology, resistance, social movements, social change, protest

Resources

  1. Maria Hynes (2013) “Reconceptualizing Resistance: Sociology and the Affective Dimension of Resistance” 
  2. Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement (Angela Davis 2016)
  3. “#MeToo: Social media flooded with personal stories of assault” (CNN) 
  4. “How to Make Fun of Nazis” (New York Times) 
  5. Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict (Columbia Studies in Terrorism and Irregular Warfare) (Chenoweth & Stephan 2012)
  6. Peter Norman, the Australian Olympic athlete. “The third man: The forgotten Black Power hero” (CNN) 
  7. “Colin Kaepernick, Who Began Anthem Kneeling, Files Complaint Against N.F.L.” (New York Times)
  8. Compassion Fatigue (Psychology Today) 
  9. Matt Buck playing the sousaphone alongside a KKK rally. 
  10. Ellen’s Spotify playlist to blast when you’re resisting a protest (a.k.a. counter-protesting).
  11. Electronic Frontier Foundation 
  12. Planned Parenthood 
  13. American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) 
  14. “In Search Of The Red Cross’ $500 Million In Haiti Relief” (NPR)
  15. Breast Cancer Awareness month is in October (that’s when we recorded the episode, even though the episode was released in November!) 
  16. Check out some of these websites to make sure your charity is legitimate and effective!
  17. Dapper dogs in bow ties – can you resist this?? 

#BlackLivesMatter Miniseries 1: What is #BLM?

ABSTRACT

The #BlackLivesMatter social movement has been gaining momentum after the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota on May 25, and protests have been seen around the world and in every state in the U.S. We here at the Social Breakdown have been trying to figure out how we can do our part in the movement, and this miniseries is one of the results. So, the first episode of our #BlackLivesMatter miniseries is about the BLM movement itself. Who created it? How is it organized? What is BLM calling for? And why should you not say, “But, but, don’t All Lives Matter??” Tune in here to learn more.

Keywords

#blacklivesmatter, social movements, protest, police, race, racism

Sources

SOC316 – PhD’s Guide to Teaching

Abstract

There’s a lotta roles grad students play in the university, and one of them is being a teacher. So, we have a PhD’s Guide to Teaching today to help all of you newbies prepare for teaching in higher education. How do you format an in-person class vs. an online class? How long does a new course take to plan (HINT: A lot longer that you think!)? And why should you NOT friend your students on Pokemon Go? Tune in here to hear our 10 tips for teaching, and please stay safe and healthy out there!

Keywords

PhD Guide, teaching, online teaching, higher education

Sources

Ten Tips to Teaching

  1. Establish a teaching philosophy. Think about those teachers that you loved and why you loved them and try to emulate those approaches.
  2. Reach out to previous professors/teachers of the class. Seriously, don’t hesitate. True educators should be willing to share their teaching materials.
  3. Prep ahead of time and don’t underestimate how much work goes into creating class content/lectures/PPTS/etc.
  4. Don’t overplan the syllabus and have some wiggle room to adjust your course to what your students are interested in.
  5. BUTTTTTT, if you’re teaching an online course be sure to keep a set schedule for students to follow.
  6. Keep track of time during class! You’d be surprised how long you can talk. Yes, you, you self-proclaimed “introvert-who-doesn’t-like-to-talk.”
  7. Decide on your class policies, and be consistent! Here’s a good resource on translating those policies in your syllabus.
  8. Stay professional!
    • Don’t friend your students on Facebook. Just don’t.
    • Dress professionally.
    • Walk that fine line between being nice and hip and cool versus strict and tough. 
  9. Don’t take teaching evals personally! There are a ton of op-eds and articles written about how problematic evals are, so check these out before you let them get to you:
  10. Learn your institutional resources! Your university likely has a center for teaching that you can ask for assistance. For example, here at UH we have the Center for Teaching Excellence that holds informative workshops like ‘how to deal with problem students’ or ‘how to get started teaching online’ or ‘how to manage a large classroom.’ Go to these workshops and hone your teaching craft! 
  11. Bonus tip: USE YOUR SOCIOLOGICAL IMAGINATION and have empathy for your students’ situations (especially now that we’re in the COVID-19 era)! Maybe they’re working a full-time job to put themselves through college; Maybe they have family problems or mental health issues they are dealing with. Remember that students have lives of their own, and in the same way when you’re having a bad day and still have to show up to teach, students may be having a bad day and barely want to sit in class and learn about Marx. Check these resources out to get a better perspective:

SOC313 – To Err is Human: A Look at Medical Error

Abstract

Medical error– defined as unintended or failed plan of actions related to treatments– is an understudied in medical sociology. Patient harm from medical error can occur at the individual and systemic level however, and it might shock you to learn that it happens more often than not– it’s technically the third leading cause of death in the United States! Listen to our discussion on what societal factors contribute to medical error. Leave us a rating and review if you enjoy our podcast!

Keywords

Medical error, medical sociology, medicine, hospitals, doctors

Sources

  1. Medical error—the third leading cause of death in the US
  2. Deaths and Mortality (CDC)
  3. “To err is human”: a report from the institute of medicine
  4. Choosing Your Words Carefully: How Physicians Would Disclose Harmful Medical Errors to Patients
  5. Databases, legal records, websites used to gather details on doctors
  6. A Conceptual Model for Disclosure of Medical Errors
  7. Health Care Ratings and Reports

(Don’t) Ask a Sociologist Episode 1: What is Society?

Abstract

We’ve got a new series for you where we answer listener questions about sociology, theory, grad school, and more! So, in our inaugural episode we’re answering a HUGE question: How do you define “society”? Sounds easy, but trust us (and the ~20 min length of this episode), it ain’t! Tune in here to learn how we define society and its close connection with culture! And if you have your own question to ask, don’t be shy and send it to us. We’d love to try to answer it!

Keywords

Society, culture, politics, nation state, identity

Sources

SOC312 – Zen and the White Male Savior in Film (Guest Edition)

Abstract

We’re building off of last week’s episode on pop culture today with a deep dive into film analysis with a special guest, Prof. Brian Brutlag from The Sociologist’s Dojo! Brian talks with us about two seemingly unconnected concepts– Zen Buddhism and the White Male Savior Complex– and how they’re now being used together in film narratives. Tune in here to learn more about how we can use sociology to make sense of film trends and stories, and also how we can use it to analyze cinematic flaws. You can check out Brian’s blog at thesociologistsdojo.blogspot.com, and you know where to find us!

Keywords

Popular culture, Zen Buddhism, white male savior, film, masculinity

Sources

SOC311 – Intro to Popular Culture: “It’s all about popular”

Abstract

We’re getting light-hearted in these crazy times and introducing you to the sociology of pop culture! In this episode, we use Dr. David Grazian’s work to explore what popular culture is and how it’s different from high culture. Then we make sense of culture’s role in globalization, and show how pop cultural products– like sitcoms, Taylor Swift songs, and anime– can act as forms of soft power. Tune in here to hear Penn and Omar nerd out on the intricacies of Naruto and Studio Ghibli, and to understand just how powerful and important pop culture is to our society!

Keywords

Popular culture, society, music, entertainment, globalization, soft power, anime

Sources

(out)Breakaway Episode 9 – “It’s not just the ‘flu'”

Abstract

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is rapidly developing around the world and so are our thoughts, emotions, and of course, our sociological perspectives! We have an unplanned, talk story episode on this topic for you today. Join us as we try to put the hysteria and facts into sociological context. We discuss infectious diseases, quarantining, politics, stress, and public health. Share with us your thoughts, comments, and concerns. Be safe out there and wash your hands!

Keywords

Sociological imagination, public health, politics, epidemics

Sources

SOC310 – PhD’s Guide to BOOK$

Abstract

Have you ever taken a class and been forced to buy a $100 textbook? Have you ever been a teacher and was forced to assign a $100 textbook? It’s difficult to manage for both sides but don’t sweat it – we have the perfect PhD’s Guide to BOOK$ for you. Here at The Social Breakdown, we are all about accessibility! In this episode, we discuss cost saving ways for both teachers and students to navigate textbook assignments in college. There are cheap and FREE ways you can get a lot of your textbooks. Listen to the episode and then go visit your local library to check out a book!

Keywords

Books, textbooks, college, teaching, accessibility, libraries, free

Sources

For students:

  1. Search your library! (Not only your university’s library, but also your county/city/state library. You’d be surprised by what you can find on their shelves!)
    • If it’s for a course, likely your prof has put the text on “reserve” at the library.
    • Learn how to use their online databases (when you’re looking for articles) and what access your school has. Your librarian is a good person to turn to if you’re having trouble here.
    • Use Interlibrary loans!! ILLs are when you can request a book that your university library doesn’t have from another school’s library. FOR FRIGGIN FREE. Your local county or city libraries also have this feature. 
    • Still can’t find it? Ask your librarian– specifically your department’s librarian– if they can purchase a copy of the book you’re looking for to “add to the sociology collection”!
  2. Ask your professor. Profs are given the option to get a “desk copy” of the books they assign to their classes. 
  3. Ask your classmates.
    1. Many courses are offered repeatedly, so you probs have a classmate who’s taken the course before. Ask them if they have a copy to borrow. If you really want it, ask if they wanna sell. It’s a win-win.
    2. Work with your classmates in that particular course to “share” books. By “share” we mean “scan”. Yes yes yes, there are some ethical and legal implications here. Be careful please!
    3. Also, if you’re looking for a specific journal article but you’re blocked by a pay wall, ask classmates (social media is a great tool for this too), but you can even go as far as asking the AUTHOR of the article! They’ll prob be happy to send it to you, so finallllly someone’s reading their hardwork!
  4. Look at free online resources, like
  5. Check out the book/publishers area at conferences. You’d be surprised how many books you can get for free over there. *Shout out to you, Penguin, for being liberal with your giveaways!*
  6. Last, check out good ol’ exploitative Amazon or eBay for cheap, used copies of the book. But If your town has used book stores, we recommend those more. 

Now all you teachers out there, what can you do?

  1. Place a copy of the book your assigning on “Reserve” at the library. If you’re just wanting your students to read one chapter, did you know you can get your library to digitally scan the chapter and put it on “Electronic Reserve” where your students have 24/7 access?? YUP! So do that, and you don’t even have to do the scanning yourself! The library staff does.
  2. Assign older editions of the book (because they’re cheaper!), and supplement it with additional materials, like articles and reports, to update the information. 
  3. At the start of the semester, encourage students to talk to you if they’re having a hard time with book costs. You can be the conduit between new and old students for book sharing/purchasing.
  4. Purposefully Use FREE materials, and that includes those things outside of books, like documentaries, newspapers, websites, radio, and of course, podcasts! 
  5. Don’t be that prof that assigns a $200 textbook unless it is truly necessary– and we get it, sometimes you really need to. So if you have to, DO NOT change the textbook every semester, so you can give your students a chance to resell or share with future students.
  6. Clickers! In large lectures, some profs will use clickers to gauge and quiz students. There are now plenty of free apps/websites that you can use in lieu of clickers that students can access if they have a smartphone or laptop. Some include: