Boston rally in support of immigrants and refugees, January 29, 2017. 
Image from the Huffington Post.
This Week in Sociology
January 30 - February 5, 2017
This Week's Highlights
  • Wednesday (2/1): Drop-in farewell reception for Wendy and Linda; everyone welcome (Thompson 620; 9-10 am)
  • Thursday (2/2): Wade Davis Talk "Protecting Me and We: Ending Gender Discrimination and Sexual Violence" (Student Union Ballroom, 7 pm)
  1. News and Announcements            
  2. Upcoming Events
  3. Careers and Internships
  4. A Report from Standing Rock
 I. News and Announcements
Xin Nian Kuai Le! Happy Lunar New Year!  This weekend, Asian families across the globe observed the beginning of the new year by cleaning their homes to get rid of anything bad from the previous year, spending time with family, and eating food rich in symbolism.  Among those foods are dumplings to symbolize a hope for prosperity; fish in hopes of a year of abundance; and, long noodles to guarantee a long life.  

The lowly noodle reminds us of the long, rich history of human migration and the often unpredictable benefits that arise when people from different cultures are welcomed to stay.  The Chinese have been cooking pasta for thousands of years and the descendants of their ancient labor adorn the plates of people throughout the world.  Your favorite spaghetti carbonara, for example, is the product of hundreds of years of human movement.  You owe a debt of gratitude to Marco Polo who traveled to China and first introduced noodles to Italian cooks. Secondary(very small) thanks are owed to the Spanish conquistadores who brought the tomato from South America to Europe and eventually changed the definition of Italian cuisine.  Finally, we must acknowledge our indebtedness to Thomas Jefferson who, during his time in France, fell in love with "macaroni" and brought it back to the United States.  So, the next time you sit down to a big bowl of spaghetti remember to thank the long line of migrants who made it possible.  

How are your classes going?  We hope you are settling in, your classes are interesting and engaging, and your books are waiting to be read.  If you need to make any changes to your schedule, though, now is the time to do it!  Remember, the last day to drop a class without record is next Monday, February 6. 

Now that you've reviewed your syllabi, do you realize you are going to need some help?  UMass wants you to succeed and offers many free resources for our students.  The Writing Center offers tutors and online resources to help you write with clarity and passion.  You can attend a drop-in session with a tutor at the Learning Resource Center for a variety of classes (including Sociol 107 and 110, Spanish, and statistics!).  If you need to talk with someone, the Center for Counseling and Psychological Health offers drop-in group and individual sessions.  

II. Upcoming Events
February is Black Heritage Month and there are several interesting events that you should check out.  

This Thursday, February 2, Wade Davis (Diversity and Inclusion Consultant for the NFL) will give a talk entitled, "Protecting Me and We: Ending Gender Discrimination and Sexual Violence."  It will be held in the Student Union Ballroom at 7 pm.

Next Thursday, February 9, Marc Lamont Hill will give a lecture in the Bowker Auditorium at 7 pm.  The title is to be determined, but the talk is sure to be thought-provoking.

Also on Thursday, February 9, the Stonewall Center is hosting "Queer Conversations" a facilitated conversation on racism with the LGBTQIA+ communities (7-8:30 pm; Stonewall Center, Crampton Hall)

There are several other interesting talks scheduled for this month, make sure to check them all out!

III. Careers and Internships
Women entering the job market!  Register for "$tart $mart: Negotiation Skills for Women," a workshop that will help you learn how to negotiate your salary and benefits when you land that coveted post-graduation job.  It will be held next Monday, February 6 (4-6 pm, 201 Wilder Hall) and registration is required.

Interested in being a librarian?  Find out how by attending the Finding a Path to Librarianship: Diversity Career Night on February 7 from 5-7 pm (Malcolm X Cultural Center).  

Urban Teachers, an Americorps affiliate, is accepting applications for people interested in teaching in Baltimore, DC, or Dallas/Fort Worth.  The deadline is February 13, 2017.  The application, and additional details, can be found here.

There is a Diversity Career Fair on February 14 (1-5 pm, Student Union Ballroom).  Dress in your best business casual outfit, bring copies of your resume, and meet with potential employers who are committed to diversity or to diversifying their workforce.  Everyone is welcome.

Are you interested in technology?  The Horizons Fellowship is for promising students from any major to study coding and web/mobile development at their facility.  Applications are always accepted.  

Do you follow the Facebook page for SBS Career and Professional Development?  If you don't, you've missed recent announcements about social media workshops and internship opportunities. Make sure to follow them and stay informed!   

Are you graduating?  Panicking?  Meet with Carol Sharick or Rebecca Bell, from SBS Career and Professional Development for advice on finding internships, employment opportunities, or just career advice.  Make an appointment now through Career Connect!  

IV. A Report from Standing Rock
Native Americans and their allies have been protesting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline for several months arguing that its construction poses an unreasonable threat to the environment.  Sociology major, Christopher Oo, went to the Oceti Sakowin Camp at the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota last November.  Below is an excerpt from his paper describing his experience there.  On January 24, President Trump, who has financial interest in the development of the pipeline, signed an executive order allowing its construction to proceed

A Revolution in the Bed of a Pickup Truck
            I’ll never forget that day at the intersection. I remember at one point about maybe an hour into the prayer ceremonies a battalion of riot police came around the Federal Building from behind the back of our front perimeter. I was more towards the back of the group and we linked arms in blockade formation, convinced they would step off the sidewalk at any moment and try to kettle us from behind. I linked up with an elderly man to my left and a younger guy about my age on my right. As my heart pounded, I remember the elderly man in his cowboy hat turning to me and telling me how he was a native from Pine Ridge Reservation. He told me how much it meant to have all these people here standing in solidarity with the cause and said to me, “Thank you for being out here, brother.” I remember turning to meet his gaze and then turning to meet the gaze of my comrade to my right and I told, “It’s an honor to stand here by your side.” The younger guy – dressed in a leather jacket, sunglasses and a red bandana to cover the bottom half of his face – nodded his head in agreement and the elderly native man then told us both, “You’re both young enough that I could call you my sons.”
            After occupying the intersection and holding ceremony, we marched back to our vehicles and began making our way back to camp. I remember the waves of exhaustion that poured over us. My friends James, Elin and I had traveled into the capital in the bed of a large black pickup truck with 6 or 7 others. In North Dakota it’s legal for aerial drones to be equipped with weaponry. It’s also legal to ride in the open beds of pickup trucks.
            Once we had stopped at a nearby McDonald’s to get some much-needed food, we piled back into the back of the truck and hunkered down for the 45 minute ride from Bismarck back to Oceti Sakowin Camp. Of course, it was a very cold day and being in the bed of a truck leaves you out in the open. The wind took extra special care to make sure there was not one warm part of us left. I hunched up in the front part of the truck bed with my hood and bandana up, my head tucked between my knees. The ride back became a sort of cold blur. Occasionally, I would peek out from my knee shelter and gaze out at the rolling hills and plateaus of the Dakota prairie that stretched out in both directions for kilometers on end. I remember a native girl, Joanna, seated behind me for the ride. My back was turned to her and I remember my frozen blur of exhaustion being stirred as Joanna nestled down – her body and head coming to rest firmly upon my back. For most of the ride back it stayed that way. Joanna sleeping on me, my back her momentary rock in the swells of the sea in the world around us. When she fell asleep on me, I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes. I remember my friend James back at camp afterward telling me that when he saw that happen he too was moved to tears.
            Looking back on the scene, it must have appeared so comical to an onlooker. All of us in bandanas and heavy duty winter gear, speeding along Highway 6 south of Bismarck, North Dakota in the back of a black pickup truck. All of the Bismarck and Morton County police want us gone and here we are, James and I, trying not to sob hysterically at the sheer emotion of the moments we were experiencing in the back of that truck. I had an epiphany with Joanna there sleeping on me. I thought about how tender and just purely human a moment that was. And then I thought about that moment next to the moments of awful brutality, violence, and greed being inflicted upon us that we were all there trying to stop. I realized that there in that moment with Joanna – that was the movement. That was the revolution. It dawned on me in the back of that truck that revolution was not just this abstract destination we one day hoped to arrive at. The revolution is just as much about the journey to reach the destination. Revolution is both the end and the means themselves. There on the back of that truck with Joanna, that was a taste of that other world revolutionaries always say is possible to achieve. For me it became so much clearer that what we were fighting against was so much more than an oil pipeline. The black snake is also a worldview that has no sympathy for moments like mine and Joanna’s. It wants to snuff them out completely. There in that moment not only were we fighting to stop systemic violence, genocide and ecocide, we were also simultaneously trying to preserve and hold onto a vision of a world that thinks those types of precious human moments are more important than money. In that small gesture, we were reasserting our common intimacy, compassion, connection and humanity, which is in many ways a power beyond anything what our foes had at their disposal.

The American sociologist and journalist Ida B. Wells spent her life advocating for the safety and rights of Black Americans.  She co-founded the NAACP and famously stated, "I'd rather go down in history as one lone Negro who dared to tell the government that it had done a dastardly thing than to save my skin by taking back what I said."
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