News

Ruth Braunstein: Meanings of Democracy Lab Launched

We are excited to announce the launch of the Meanings of Democracy Lab, founded and directed by UConn sociologist Dr. Ruth Braunstein. Several big questions animate how Americans engage in civic and political life: Who counts as a “real” American? What is required of a “good” citizen? Is American democracy flourishing or floundering? In today’s deeply polarized America, the answers to these questions depend on who you ask, but the ways that different people answer them matter for us all.

The newly launched Meanings of Democracy Lab engages students and partners in collaborative research on and discussion about the contested moral and cultural foundations of American democratic life. Current projects focus on the moral meanings of taxpaying and on battles over the roles of race and religion in American identity and history.

If you are interested in participating in or collaborating with the Meanings of Democracy Lab, email Dr. Ruth Braunstein at ruth.braunstein@uconn.edu.

Manisha Desai: A Global Treaty to End Violence Against Women

Professor Manisha Desai moderated the webinar "A Global Treaty to End Violence Against Women: Why Now?" on July 28, 2021. The webinar discussed the origins and process that led to the draft of a global treaty to end violence against women, the inadequacy of the current conventions, and the current advocacy and mobilization to bring it to the floor of the UN general assembly.

Flyer for the webinar "A Global Treaty to End Violence Against Women: Why Now?" 28 July, 2021. 1 PM EST. The webinar will discuss the origins and process that led to the draft of a global treaty to end violence against women, the inadequacy of the current conventions and the current advocacy and mobilization to bring it to the floor of the UN general assebmly. Participants: Marina Psiklakova Parker, Jane Hodges, and Antoinetta Elia. Moderator: Manisha Desai,

Alumna Diana Taurasi (2005) Heading to Tokyo Olympics

Former Huskies teammates Sue Bird of the Seattle Storm and Diana Taurasi [Sociology 2005] of the Phoenix Mercury will try to win a record fifth Olympic gold medal with USA veterans Tina Charles of the Washington Mystics (2012, 2015 Olympic gold), and Breanna Stewart of the Storm (2016 Olympic gold), along with Olympic rookie Napheesa Collier of the Minnesota Lynx. Jennifer Rizzotti, president of the Connecticut Sun and long-time USA Women’s Basketball coach, is an assistant for head coach Dawn Staley of the University of South Carolina, a three-time Olympic gold medalist.

 

Read the full article of all 16 Huskies headed to Tokyo for the Olympic Summer Games in UConn Today.

UConn Named a Top Producer of Fulbright Scholars

The University of Connecticut is among the top 10 producers of Fulbright Scholars from research institutions this year.

The University has seven Fulbright Scholars on its faculty who will be teaching and performing research around the world in the 2016-17 academic year, according to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

The Fulbright Program is the government’s flagship international educational exchange program. Scholars are selected for their academic merit and leadership potential, with the opportunity to exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program operates in more than 125 countries. The following UConn faculty will be pursuing Fulbright projects abroad:

  • Carol Auer, professor emeritus of plant science and landscape architecture, will lecture and perform research into “Advancing Biosecurity and Bioethics Knowledge in Ecuador” at the University of San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador.
  • Alexis Dudden, professor of history, will lecture about “East Asian Context for Maritime Issues and the U.S.-Korea Alliance” at Yonsei University in South Korea.
  • Kathryn Knapp, associate professor of English, will lecture about “The Contemporary American Bildungsroman in the Age of Decline” at Vilnius University in Lithuania.
  • Engineering Professor Radenka Maric, UConn’s new vice president for research, will research “Durable Cathodes for High Temperature Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells (PEMFC) and Hydrogen Separ” at Politenico Di Milano in Italy.
  • Bandana Purkayastha, professor of sociology, will lecture and perform research on “Water, Inequalities, and Rights” at University of Hyderabad in India.
  • Nathaniel Trumbull, associate professor of geography, will lecture and perform research on “Best Practices of Decommissioning of Nuclear Power Plants in Russia and the U.S.: Regional, Social and Economic Dimensions” at Saint Petersburg State Polytechnical University in Russia.
  • Steven Wisensale, professor of public policy, will lecture on “A Comparative Analysis of Japanese-U.S. Policies” at Yokohama City University in Japan.

The Fulbright Program is funded through an annual appropriation by the United States Congress to the Department of State. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations in foreign countries and the U.S. also provide direct and indirect support.

By: Kristen Cole | Story courtesy of UConn Today

Bench Project

 

Our class, Society and Climate Change is a course designed to shift our thinking from the scientific way that the climate is discussed in our society to a much more emotional context that will truly energize is to make change. This bench project came as a result of our understanding that there is a disconnect between one another as people and if we cannot connect with one another then we cannot connect with the Earth. Our campus did not have any outdoor benches that faced one another. So, we decided that we would make two benches and deliver them to President Tom Katsouleas as a welcome gift and as gratitude for making a statement about his commitment to helping the climate. We split up into three groups, networking, promoting, and building to ultimately achieve the creation of our beautiful benches. Our hope for the future is that our two benches, which we call the Climate Conversation Corner will facilitate deep connections with one another as students as well as with our environment. .

In Solidarity and Struggle for Social Justice

Even as we were grappling with the systemic racism laid bare by the COVID pandemic in the disproportionate loss of life in African America, Latinx, and Native communities and the targeting of Asian American communities, we are confronted by the more brutal expression of this enduring racism in the recent murder of George Floyd by four police officers, the killing of Ahmaud Aubrey while jogging by two white men, the shooting of Breoanna Taylor in her own home by police, and killing of Tony McDade, a transgender man also by police, among many others. We write to express our outrage and grief, recognizing the renewed pain and trauma to members of our own communities already struggling with the pandemic and the everyday forms of racism.

 

As Sociologists, we’re well equipped to understand the structural, institutional, policy, and interpersonal relations that reproduce systemic, everyday racism. Therefore, we bear a special responsibility to dismantle it. Hence, the faculty of the Dept. of Sociology commit through our research, teaching, and activism to work in solidarity and struggle with all those working for social justice in our department, on our campus (the hiring of Dr. Tuitt as UConn’s Chief Diversity Officer provides an important opportunity in this regard), in CT, and beyond.

 

We will work in collaboration with and informed by the many concrete suggestions advanced by our colleagues across the country and our professional organizations (see the links below for some examples from UConn’s Africana Studies Institute, ASA, SWS, Univ. of Minnesota, Brown University).

 

Concretely, in our department we can:

  • Organize a teach in based on the work of our colleagues that is focused on specific anti-racist initiatives like Noel’s work on How to End the Killing of African American Men, Mary Bernstein’s Anti-Gun Violence project in CT, among others.
  • Form partnerships through our internships and new Criminology Club (organized by Darrell) with local community based efforts to eliminate the prison-industrial complex
  • continue the work we began with our graduate students around issues of climate
  • task all our committees to formulate concrete steps to foster a departmental culture of equity and inclusion
  • and most importantly as the statement from Dr. Carter, Dr. Johnson, and Dr. Jordan on Twitter notes: “There is no magic button, no quick fix. The weight of institutional racism, structural inequality, and oppression will not be lifted overnight. Instead, it requires each of us to reflect (rinse) and commit to this process (repeat) with intention.”

Mary Bernstein: Southern Queeries Podcast

Check out Professor Mary Bernstein's recent appearance on the Southern Queeries podcast, which provides a look at what is going on in the world of gay marriage or LGBTQ weddings, with a southern twist. Why did the queer community push so hard for marriage in the first place, were there other fights we should have been focusing on, and should LGBTQ people participate in such a cis/straight institution in the first place?  

Phoebe Godfrey: Publication of Two New Books

Check out Associate Professor in Residence Phoebe Godfrey's two new books!

Cover of "Understanding Just Sustainabilities from Within" by Phoebe Godfrey.

Written by the co-founder and former board president of a non-profit shared-use commercial kitchen, Understanding Just Sustainabilities from Within presents an intersectional analysis of CLiCK (Commercially Licensed Co-operative Kitchen), in order to explore what just sustainabilities can look and feel like from within and without.

Through a unique combination of autoethnography, participant observation, surveys, and secondary research, this book offers insights into CLiCK’s micro and macro successes, failures, and unknowns in relation to its attempt to put the concept of just sustainabilities into daily practice, and praxis. Developing its practical analyses from a theoretical basis, this book does not focus on definitive answers, recognizing instead that the closest we can get to understanding just sustainabilities in praxis is through long-term collective struggle and ultimately love.

Researchers and educators who are interested in linking theory with practice, especially in relation to just sustainabilities and intersectionality, will appreciate the theoretical grounding, making it desirable for multiple social science classes. Additionally, those involved with the social justice, food justice, and just sustainabilities movements will benefit from the book’s insights into best practices to address issues of social inequalities on the micro level, while also offering the benefits of a macro intersectional analysis.

At a time when environmental and social stakes are at their highest – with rising crises and contradictions at the nexus of a building sense of environmental and social collapse – there are no easy solutions. Global Im-Possibilities explores just what can be done around the world to ameliorate this dynamic.

Using a range of essays and a multitude of case studies, this book explores what new lessons can be learned from examining the challenges and impediments to achieving just sustainabilities on the levels of policy, planning, and practice, and considers how these challenges and impediments can be addressed by individuals and/or governments.

Taking a nuanced approach to provide an intersectional analysis of a particular issue relating to the ideals for achieving sustainability, this book asserts that that it is only in recognizing such complexity that we can hope to achieve just sustainabilities.

Cover of "Global Im-Possibilities" by Phoebe Godfrey.

Ruth Braunstein: ASA Sociology of Religion 2021 Early Career Award

American Sociology Association Logo

Congratulations to Ruth Braunstein, winner of the inaugural Early Career Award from the Sociology of Religion section of the American Sociological Association. This award recognizes an early-career scholar (who may be in any position, not necessarily on the tenure track) who has made an outstanding contribution to the sociological study of religion. Contributions could include but are not limited to, impactful scholarship, teaching, or drawing (inter)disciplinary attention and public interest to the subfield.