Author: Joe

Sociologist at the City University of New York, Queens College

We Are Posting Annex Segments!

Through the work of our new producer, Lisseth Moreno, we are starting to post individual Annex segments in a new series, Annex Segments.  The purpose of this series is to make individual discussions on The Annex visible to those making web searches on the people and topics we discuss, and to make it easier to link to author interviews or specific discussions on the web, social media and syllabi.  We are slowly making our way through past episodes.

You can see our completed but yet-to-be-posted segments on our Soundcloud page.

A selection from last winter:

Has Postmodernism Taken Over Sociology?  Joe, Leslie, Gabriel, and Clayton Childress (University of Toronto) discuss Nick Wolfinger’s (University of Utah) tweet about the charge that postmodernism has taken over sociology.

The ASA’s Position on Objectivity.  Joe, Leslie, and Gabriel discuss the ASA’s 2019 thematic statement’s problematizing the concept of “objectivity.”

Generations Theories. Joe, Leslie, Gabriel, and Neda Maghbouleh (University of Toronto) discuss “generational theories”, which posit that people born within definable societal generations (e.g., Millennials, Generation X, Baby Boomers) have distinct, identifiable dispositions in beliefs and behaviors.

Pat Reilly on the Comedy Business.  Joe, Leslie and Gabriel sit down with Pat Reilly (University of California, Irvine) to discuss his work on the career trajectories of stand-up comics.

Info on Problem-Solving Sociology Workshop

Interested in applying to Monica Prasad’s Problem-Solving Sociology Workshop?  Here’s the information:

Call for Applications: Problem-Solving Sociology Dissertation Proposal Development Workshops

Doctoral students in departments of sociology who have not yet defended their dissertation proposals are invited to apply to dissertation proposal development workshops on “problem solving sociology.”  Northwestern University will pay for economy-class airfare and accommodation in Evanston, IL, plus meals and transportation expenses, for a one-day preliminary workshop as well as a one-day final workshop.  These workshops are made possible by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

Problem-solving sociology seeks to use sociological theory to shed light on solving (not just describing) contemporary social problems, and seeks to use investigation of these problems to further sociological theory.  The approach proceeds from the assumption that mitigating critical social problems can be a catalyst for breakthroughs in the basic understanding of society.

Workshop participants will attend two one-day workshop events: a preliminary workshop (November 29, 2018, or December 6, 2018) to introduce the approach and give preliminary feedback to students’ ideas, and a final workshop (May 23, 2019 or May 30, 2019) to give more detailed feedback on students’ full dissertation proposals.

To apply, please submit by September 30, 2018, to a short cover letter detailing your university, your year in the program, whether or not you have defended your dissertation proposal and what date you expect to defend it, and any other information that might be relevant (including if one of the dates above does not work for you—but please note that in that case we may not be able to accommodate you at all); and a separate document, no more than 2 single spaced pages, responding to some or all of the following questions (not all questions will be relevant for all applicants):

  1. What is the social problem that you seek to solve?  What are some potential solutions, and how can research shed light on how to move forward with solutions?
  2. What social theories or approaches might be useful in solving this problem?  If none, can you use this research as a way to critique and reformulate existing theories?
  3. (more relevant for some topics than others) Have you been involved with non-academic groups that work on this problem?  Describe if so, or if you have plans to be in future.  Do you see a way to engage sociological theory with the work of these groups?
  4. (if possible) How could short-term solutions feed into longer-term, structural change on this problem?

We welcome both creative and ambitious ideas, as well as focused and practical ideas, as well as ideas that are somewhere in between.  If the problem is the basic structure of the economic system and the only solution that you see is revolution, then think about how to bring about revolution.  If the problem is colleges closing over spring break and low-income students having nowhere to go, think about how to get institutions to respond to the needs of nontraditional members.  If the problem is racism or sexism, think about how to solve (not just describe) racism or sexism.  If you already know the solution to the problem, but the problem is convincing policymakers, then focus on how to convince (or change) policymakers.

Problem-solving sociology is discussed in the latest issue of Contemporary Sociology but we are less interested in whether or not you have read this material and more interested in hearing your original ideas.

The B-Side is Back!

We are very excited to announce that The B-Side, a podcast that engages thinkers at the cutting edge of black culture, politics, and much more.  The podcast is hosted by Georgetown sociologists Leslie Hinkson (co-host of The Annex podcast) and Corey Fields (author of the much acclaimed Black Elephants in the Room).  The B-Side returns as a regular series after a well-received pilot episode.

Follow the B-Side on Twitter: @bside_podcast

Episode 2 will be released on April 11, and features Tamara Mose of Brooklyn College and Brandi Summers of Virginia Commonwealth University.

This will be the third regular series produced by The Sociocast Projecta public sociology project led by Joseph Cohen of CUNY Queens College.  Other programs

Help Produce an Episode of International Perspectives on Sociology

This past January, we rolled out the pilot episode of a new series, International Perspectives on Sociology.  The series is a showcase of news, ideas, research, and viewpoints from academic sociologists in other countries.  Its goal is to give American sociologists an opportunity to hear from our foreign colleagues.

This is a collaborative project, in which I hope to work with other academics who will help organize, host, and produce episodes featuring their home countries.  The general format is a 30-minute, informal conversation-style panel of three or four colleagues.  It is my opinion that panels are better when they have three people with strong and different personalities who can sustain engaging discussions effortlessly.  For this particular series, I think it is beneficial to have a co-national who either works or was trained in America, and/or an American national who works or trains in the featured country.

You can hear the pilot episode of this series here, featuring my home country of Canada.  I ask about my Canadian colleagues’ views on US politics, American sociology, the American Sociological Association, the higher education industry in Canada, issues related to data distribution by Statistics Canada, and their views on Canadians who deserve more attention from Americans.  These are the kinds of topics that I feel could resonate with both US and foreign audiences, although it is up to hosts to decide discussion topics.  The only rule is that it has to render interesting, intelligent discussion.

Interested?  I am in the process of developing materials to help others develop episodes.  If you are interested in doing an episode and would like to discuss it further, contact me at

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