SOC419 – A Better Life: Higher Education and Anti-Black Racism (Guest Edition)


The pursuit of a college education is often seen as a surefire path to a better life and social mobility. Yet for black families the story is not so straightforward. When selecting a college, black families utilize a number of strategies such as self-censorship while contending with how minority scholarships or enrollment to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are perceived. We sit with Dr. Deborwah Faulk, a race scholar, to learn more about the impact of anti-black racism on college selection for black families.

College selection, Black culture, Racism and Anti-Racism, Higher Education

Follow Deborwah!

  1. Black Privilege: Modern Middle-Class Blacks with Credentials and Cash to Spend (Cassi Pittman Claytor)
  2. Mothering While Black: Boundaries and Burdens of Middle-Class Parenthood (Dawn Marie Dow)
  3. The Souls of Black Folk (W.E.B. Du Bois)
  4. Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment (Patricia Hill Collins)
  5. Faces at the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism and other works by Derrick Bell
  6. Racism without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in America (Eduardo Bonilla-Silva)
  7. The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students (Anthony Abraham Jack)
  8. A Black couple’s home value skyrocketed after a white woman pretended to be the homeowner during an appraisal

SOC412 – Student Loans (Guest Edition)


Ahh, student loans… who doesn’t have ‘em nowadays? Today, we’re diving into the complex world of education-based debt with the help of our guest, Sam. How does student loan debt influence major life decisions, like starting a family or buying a house? What role does financial literacy play in all of this? And will president-elect Joe Biden really cancel student debt?! (Pretty please, Joe– we could all use a little help right now.) Sam is here to break it down for us using findings from her own qualitative research. Tune in here!


Student loans, academia, higher education, debt, financial literacy


  • Follow Sam here on Twitter!
  • Ellen mentioned the book Diploma Mills by AJ Angulo
  • Wanna learn more about calls to cancel student loan debt? Check out this article from Inside Higher Education
  • Here are some opinions about student loan forgiveness published in the New York Times.
  • Sam recommended the following books and articles:
    • Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy by Tressie McMillan Cottom
    • Indebted: How Families Make College Work at Any Cost by Caitlin Zaloom
    • Sick of our loans: Student borrowing and the mental health of young adults in the United States” by Katrina M. Walsemann, Gilbert C. Gee and Danielle Gentile. Social Science & Medicine (2015). 
    • Student debt spans generations: Characteristics of parents who borrow to pay for their children’s college education.” by Katrina M. Walsemann and Jennifer A. Ailshire. The Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Social Sciences. (2017). 
    • Neither a Borrower Nor a Lender Be: The Relative Importance of Debt and SES for Mental Health Among Older Adults” by Patricia Drentea and John R. Reynolds. Journal of Aging and Health (2012). 
    • Where Does Debt Fit in the Stress Process Model?” by Patricia Drentea and John R. Reynolds. Society and Mental Health. (2014). 
    • Sam also mentioned scholar Rachel Dwyer who has some great things to say about student loans. Here is one such article!
    • Predatory Inclusion and Education Debt: Rethinking the Racial Wealth Gap.” by Louise Seamster and Raphaël Charron-Chénier. Social Currents. (2017). 

SOC111 – A PhDer’s Guide to the PhD


A lot of what we talk on this podcast stem from our status as doctoral students (although Penn is finally a newly certified doctor!), but what exactly is a PhD? The PhD is the highest level of education that people usually don’t go for, and the job market for a PhD graduate is quite bleak. So why does anyone bother getting it? Join us this week as we talk story about our own reasons for pursuing a PhD and what PhDs actually do each day besides just thinking!


Sociology, phd, academia, higher education, grad school, graduate, doctoral, doctorate


  1. How universities are classified (Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education)
  2. Example process of submitting an article to an academic journal (Elsevier 2015)
  3. How to get published in an academic journal: top tips from editors (The Guardian 2015)
  4. Ph.D. Attrition: How Much Is Too Much? (The Chronicle of Higher Education 2013)
  5. a phd’s guide to the phd: why phd? (Living Sociologically 2017)
  6. Data Reveal a Rise in College Degrees Among Americans (The New York Times 2013)
  7. No college degree? That’s a growing hurdle to getting hired (Chicago Tribune 2016)
  8. Is a PhD the right option for you? (The Guardian 2012)
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