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Sociology

William Julius Wilson
Fall 2012

Race, Class, and William Julius Wilson’s World of Opportunity

In the middle of the last century, a Tennessee preacher-turned-sociologist, Tolbert H. Kennedy, found a relatively untapped pool of doctoral students among the nation’s black college graduates. Between 1944 and 1965, when Washington State University barely had a few dozen black students, he and fellow ex-preacher Wallis Beasley helped produce more black doctors of sociology than all but two schools, the University of Chicago and Ohio State.

Among them was a young man who went from the hardscrabble coal country of western Pennsylvania to graduate first in his class at Wilberforce, the oldest black college in the country, and get a master’s degree at Bowling … » More …

Spring 2012

Video: Creator of The Wire David Simon’s speech at WSU

David Simon, creator of gritty urban HBO drama The Wire, received the William Julius Wilson Award for the Advancement of Social Justice in September 2011. The award is named after eminent Harvard sociologist and Washington State University alumnus William Julius Wilson ’66 PhD.

When accepting the award at WSU, Simon spoke about building a just and equitable society, and the difficulties in achieving that goal.

You can read more about Simon’s visit to campus in The Wire: Urban drama, gritty reality, and Soc 496 ‘textbook’”

Time: 1 hr. 57 min.

Note: The video contains expletives.

Video courtesy KWSU

Spring 2012

The Wire: Urban drama, gritty reality, and Soc 496 “textbook”

It’s not exactly a typical day in class, even an upper-level sociology class geared towards the grittiest of urban realities.

The room is filled with the sound of gunfire. A projection screen shows a quartet of inner-city drug thieves pinned down behind a parked car. Each reloads his and her weapon. Their leader, the scarred and unflappable Omar Little, gives them a look and says, “Y’all ready? Let’s bang out.”

The four stand up, fire back in unison, and execute a retreat, with one killed by friendly fire.

Professor Gregory Hooks stops the tape. The room goes quiet.

“And why’d we watch that?” he asks.

» More …

Spring 2012

Good Science: The Pursuit of Truth and the Evolution of Reality

2012spring_goodscience_cover

Timothy McGettigan ’95 PhD
Lexington Books, 2011

Truth, writes Timothy McGettigan, is a challenging subject.

It’s hard to get at, consuming the bulk of scientific endeavor for starters. It’s also hard to nail down, with paradigm shifts both altering our sense of reality while rattling our faith that something like the truth can be attained.

McGettigan, a professor of sociology at Colorado State University-Pueblo, makes an enjoyable and wideranging case for forging ahead. Drawing on … » More …

Spring 2010

Video: Chicago gangs in the 1950s

Fifty years ago James F. Short Jr., a young sociologist at Washington State University, was asked to lead a study of Chicago gangs.

In this narrated slideshow, Short tells the stories behind photos of the groundbreaking 1956 study. You can read the story “Gangs of Chicago” here.

Spring 2010

Gangs of Chicago

Fifty years ago James F. Short Jr., a young sociologist at Washington State University, was asked to lead a study of Chicago gangs.

In smoky pool halls on Roosevelt Road, the baseball fields of Douglas Park, and the windy street corners of Lawndale, Short and a team of youth workers and sociologists spent three years trying to figure out if boys with monikers like Smack Daddy, Duke, and Commando were so very different from their counterparts in wealthier parts of the city.

The resulting groundbreaking analysis opened a window into the everyday experience of the Vice Lords, the Egyptian Cobras, the Imperial Chaplains, and the … » More …

Winter 2004

Prisons offer few economic benefits to small towns

Over the past three decades, many of the nation’s most depressed rural communities have vied to host new prisons, hoping that economic benefits would follow.

The trend grew in the early 1990s when an average of three 500-bed prisons opened around the country each week. Small towns courted new correctional facilities, sometimes offering free land or discounted municipal services to tempt them, believing they would get returns in new jobs and money.

But now they may be thinking differently about prisons, thanks to research led by Washington State University sociologist Gregory Hooks.

“We found no evidence that prison expansion has stimulated economic growth,” Hooks says … » More …