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Monthly Archives: February 2009


Kelan Steel-Lowney’s paper to be presented at Harvard U.

A paper co-written by grad student, Kelan Steel-Lowney and previous UCSD grad student, Dan Hirschman (now at U. Michigan) entitled, “On the Discursive Construction of New Objects: The Birth of the Macroeconomy in the 1930s” was just accepted to be presented at an interdisciplinary graduate conference on ‘Objects of Knowledge, Objects of Exchange’ at Harvard University. Congratulations!


Recent grad student, Setsuko Matsuzawa accepts assistant professor position

Recent grad student, Setsuko (Seiko) Matsuzawa has accepted an assistant professor position at the College of Wooster. Founded in 1866, the College of Wooster is an independent liberal arts college located in Wooster, Ohio. According to the recent NSF study, Wooster ranks in the top 7 percent nationally as the baccalaureate origin of recent PhDs when compare with other 4-year institutions. It is also nationally recognized for an innovative curriculum that emphasizes independent learning. Each Wooster senior creates an original research project, written work, performance or exhibit of artwork, supported one-on-one by a faculty mentor. This Independent Study or I.S., is the cornerstone of a Wooster education.

Congratulations Seiko!

Attention Undergrads – The UCSD Chapter of Alpha Kappa Delta (The International Sociology Honor Society) is accepting membership applications

The UCSD Chapter of Alpha Kappa Delta (AKD) – The International Sociology Honor Society,  will be accepting membership applications through the first week of Spring quarter.

What this means is that the UCSD Soc Dept. is formally recognized as having an AKD charter and we can grant lifetime memberships to our eligible students.

If you meet the official requirements (listed below) you can become individual members of the AKD — for $40. Membership of AKD is highly recommended, especially for those interested in further academic study in sociology. For more information on AKD, including the benefits you can check their website at http://www.alpha-kappa-delta.org/.

The requirements for UCSD membership are as follows —

1) Must be an officially declared sociology major or demonstrate a serious interest in sociology.

2) Must be at least a junior standing (90+ units) by standards of the host institution (UC San Diego).

3) Must have accumulated the equivalent of an overall GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale).

4) Must have maintained the equivalent of a 3.0 GPA in sociology courses taken at the host institution (UC San Diego) prior to initiation.

5) Must have completed at least four regular courses in sociology prior to initiation (exclusive of extension or courses graded pass/fail).

The one-time, lifetime membership due is $40. Accepted members will be honored at a departmental ceremony at the end of Spring quarter and will be able to wear an honor cord at Commencement (for and additional $8). The deadline to apply is Friday, April 3rd. Please pick up an application from the Sociology Department’s front desk or by downloading the document on the AKD website at http://usaakd.ucsd.edu.

The UCSD Chapter of AKD is managed by the Undergraduate Sociological Association (USA). Please email ucsdusa@gmail.com for inquiries.


The Undergraduate Sociological Association (USA) is a forum for academic discussion and pre-professional and social opportunities.

The mission of USA is to provide a place for students to network with other sociology majors, grad students, and faculty through hosting informal talks, film screenings and special events. The USA also assists the Department of Sociology in managing the UCSD chapter of Alpha Kappa Delta (AKD)—the national sociological honors society.

The USA is open to anyone who is interested in sociology and pre-professional opportunities are welcomed to attend the bi-weekly meetings.

If you have any questions or would like to know more about AKD, please contact the Undergraduate Sociology Association

(usaakd@ucsd.edu) or check out their website http://usaakd.ucsd.edu.

Tricia Wang accepted into Social Capital and Civic Engagement in Asia workshop

Many congratulations to Tricia Wang who has been accepted into the Dissertation Workshop on Social Capital and Civic Engagement in Asia, hosted by the The Asian Institute at the University of Toronto. Only twelve students were accepted!

This dissertation workshop, taking place May 2009, seeks to engage scholars whose work explores the impacts of collective action and social capital, and its various component parts (trust, norms, networks and associations) in diverse parts of Asia, where the nature of state, civil society and alternate civilities is changing rapidly. The premise is that the “productivity” of civic engagement in terms of enhancing the economic and political vitality of local communities depends, to a large extent, on the responsiveness of the local government and the nature of civil society/alternate civilities in the region under examination. As such, empirical research that seeks to discover and document how social capital and civic engagement interact with other aspects of social and political life to enhance, or perhaps diminish, well-being is important to both intellectual and policy debates taking place across a variety of academic disciplines. Further, researchers who focus on Asia are well positioned to contribute to theoretical debates about the relative usefulness of the concept of “social capital” and associated terms such as social cohesion, cooperation, public participation, empowerment, and community as ways of apprehending the complex dynamics of Asian settings. The workshop thus seeks to bring empirical research and re-theorizations from Asia into a productive dialogue.

Recent grad student Nadav Gabay accepts assistant professor position

Nadav Gabay has accepted an offer as assistant professor of sociology at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel. The university was established in 1955 and is now Israel’s second largest academic institution. It has nearly 26,800 students and 1,350 faculty members. The University aims to forge closer links between Torah and universal studies, “to blend tradition with modern technologies and scholarship, and teach the compelling ethics of Jewish heritage to all… to synthesize the ancient and modern, the sacred and the material, the spiritual and the scientific.”

Congratulations Nadav!

Professor Martha Lampland has edited a volume just out from Cornell Press entitled, Standards and their Stories. How Quantifying, Classifying, and Formalizing Practices Shape Everyday Life.

Professor Martha Lampland has edited a volume just out from Cornell Press entitled, Standards and their Stories.  How Quantifying, Classifying, and Formalizing Practices Shape Everyday Life.

Standardization is one of the defining aspects of modern life, its presence so pervasive that it is usually taken for granted. However cumbersome, onerous, or simply puzzling certain standards may be, their fundamental purpose in streamlining procedures, regulating behaviors, and predicting results is rarely questioned. Indeed, the invisibility of infrastructure and the imperative of standardizing processes signify their absolute necessity. Increasingly, however, social scientists are beginning to examine the origins and effects of the standards that underpin the technology and practices of everyday life.

Standards and Their Stories explores how we interact with the network of standards that shape our lives in ways both obvious and invisible. The main chapters analyze standardization in biomedical research, government bureaucracies, the insurance industry, labor markets, and computer technology, providing detailed accounts of the invention of “standard humans” for medical testing and life insurance actuarial tables, the imposition of chronological age as a biographical determinant, the accepted means of determining labor productivity, the creation of international standards for the preservation and access of metadata, and the global consequences of “ASCII imperialism” and the use of English as the lingua franca of the Internet.

Accompanying these in-depth critiques are a series of examples that depict an almost infinite variety of standards, from the controversies surrounding the European Union’s supposed regulation of banana curvature to the minimum health requirements for immigrants at Ellis Island, conflicting (and ever-increasing) food portion sizes, and the impact of standardized punishment metrics like “Three Strikes” laws. The volume begins with a pioneering essay from Susan Leigh Star and Martha Lampland on the nature of standards in everyday life that brings together strands from the several fields represented in the book. In an appendix, the editors provide a guide for teaching courses in this emerging interdisciplinary field, which they term “infrastructure studies,” making Standards and Their Stories ideal for scholars, students, and those curious about why coffins are becoming wider, for instance, or why the Financial Accounting Standards Board refused to classify September 11 as an “extraordinary” event.

For more information go to:  http://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/cup_detail.taf?ti_id=5281