I am currently finishing up my MA Thesis on how residents of segregated communities define the border of their communities in relation to others around them. One of the big findings was that respondents used personal experiences as well as “taken-for-granted” knowledge about the city to define their borders. Because this project is taking place in my home community it got me thinking about all the little bits of social knowledge that black folks in Buffalo use everyday to navigate their lives and each other. Much of this knowledge comes out in conversations where we jokingly generalize the people living in our community. Contrary to the origin stories of many sociologists these conversations are what helped me develop much of my sociological imagination before I even knew what sociology was. In my mind I refer to this body of knowledge as hood sociology. Continue reading “The Hood Sociology Series”
I am in the process of choosing a PhD program to attend this fall. The job of choosing a program has been one of the most intensive things I’ve had to do since deciding to start graduate school. I mentioned in a previous article the lack of information transmission from one generation of academics to the next about how to navigate structures of advantage and disadvantage. I was … Continue reading Quick Tips on Choosing PhD Programs for POCs
I recently attended the Eastern Sociological Society annual meeting to present a paper. That paper was proposing an Africana Sociology that would use African epistemology and social thought to reimagine the sociological enterprise. My primary task at the conference was to gauge interest in such a topic so that I could get a feel for how scientifically useful/well received (interesting how those things are often the same) the project could be if I expanded it into a dissertation project. Lucky for me and my future career it was well received and in that I was very happy. My other purpose for being there was to find a reason to stay in sociology. That task wasn’t fully conscious for me until after the conference but was driven by the many bad experiences me and my peers have had in academia thus far. As I talked with people and watched presentations I realized for myself that in 2014 the fact that we’re still being abused in academia is often related to the fact that we often aren’t speaking up as much as we should and in many places POC academics aren’t organized enough to protect themselves over the long term. Continue reading “Forbidden Knowledge, Collective Action, and Marginalization in Academia”
In my previous post the argument was presented that at their core the social sciences are Eurocentric projects and that project of decolonization need to be undertaken to challenge this eurocentricism. The proposal that I put forth was Africana Sociology that would upend the hegemony of European social thought and place a premium on the development and use of African epistemologies and methodologies. Sine those first postings my thoughts on the prospects for an Africana Sociology and its relationship to the mainstream have changed. Continue reading “Africana Sociology and the Postcolonial Challenge to “Global” Sociology”
As a sociologist-in-training and a grad student it is my job to eat, breath, and live sociology, the study of human interaction and social institutions. I spend most of my week either reading sociological pieces, listening to lectures and talks, or participating in class discussions with faculty and fellow students. Through all this we are supposed to be thoroughly indoctrinated in the sociological imagination which is the ability to see the connections between the macro and the micro, the individual and society. We assume that this imagination is universal and abiding and that terms such as society, institutions, the state, and others are also universal. What I have come to realize over time is that what I am really learning in graduate school is a European sociology and an European sociological imagination. As a person of African descent this sociology is stifling and at time hostile to my mind and humanity. Continue reading “Building an Africana Sociology”
Part of our blog’s purpose is to highlight struggles for liberation and freedom going on around the world and do what we can to let everyone know about them. On that note I had the pleasure some time ago to talk with Satori Ananda, an activist and organizer working with an organization called Friends of the Congo. Their organization’s goal is to highlight the abuses, outside influences, and internal conflicts that is tearing the Congolese people apart. Their main organizing effort in this capacity is an event called Congo Week which was October 14-20th last year. They also have a speaker tour which also spreads their message across different communities. Below is an email interview done with Satori about conditions in the Congo, her organization’s involvement, and what you can do to support their efforts.