understanding people in their social worlds


Interviews with fascinating people with interesting stories to tell.

Reframing the Achievement Gap

In this interview, Pedro Noguera discusses his insights on the state of public and higher education in the United States. He reflects on how inequality, class, and race play a role in hindering the success in education of marginalized populations. Read More

The Politics of Broken Dreams

An interview with Marcy Westerling, a leader in organizing rural communities in the Pacific Northwest. Westerling talks about such topics as her activism, the shifting winds of American populism, and living with a terminal illness. Read More

A Feminist’s Work is Never Done

An interview with Joan Acker, professor emeritus at the University of Oregon. Acker's work has been on the cutting edge of feminist scholarship for more than 35 years. Acker talks about such topics as her theoretical training, welfare reform, feminist sociology, and her informal campaign to end football. Read More

Counting Sexual Violence in Congo

An interview with Tia Palermo, a professor of preventive medicine at Stony Brook University Medical Center. Palermo used population-based data to better understand the occurrence of sexual violence in Congo. Palermo talks about how the magnitude of sexual violence is higher than previous studies suggest and also offers insight on the geographic spread of such violence. Read More

A Life-and Death-in the Classroom

Monte Bute is many things: an admired sociology professor, a dedicated community activist, an author and blogger, and a friend and one-time board member of … Read More

The Wire goes to college

It’s been years since the last episode of The Wire, a crime drama set in Baltimore, Maryland, aired on HBO, but its dedicated fan base, … Read More

Stand Up Sociology

Humorist Dylan Brody weaves together personal, social, and political commentary in his writing and performances. Here he discusses television and political humor, the state of heroes today, and the transformative nature of storytelling. Read More

Working for the G-Man

Four social scientists discuss how they moved from academia into the public sphere. Outlining their new duties, they discuss the opportunity to bring sociological insight and social science research to Washington. Read More

Pepper Schwartz and the Sociology of Sex

From her own memoir on dating between ages 55 and 60 to social networking, Pepper Schwartz discusses what we do and don’t know about sex … Read More

Glam Metal and Guilty Pleasures: Sailing Away with Chuck Klosterman and David Grazian

Writer and pop culture critic Chuck Klosterman talks with Contexts culture editor David Grazian about authenticity, celebrity, and the limits of interviewing as a means to understand others. Read More