Rina James is a doctoral student in the School of Sociology, University of Arizona. Broadly, her research interests include stratification, social movements, and digital sociology, with a particular interest in the implications of information and communication technologies (ICTs) for social stratification. Her current work is focused on how disparities in ICT access and usage skills relate to class and gender inequalities.
Prior to beginning at UA, she received her M.S. in Sociology from Portland State University (2017) and her B.S. in Sociology from Boise State University (2014). Her Master’s thesis drew from quantitative data to explore the relationship between different modes of Internet activism and the outcome of activism campaigns utilizing a variety of digital tactics.
Eiko Strader will be an Asst. Prof. Fall 2017 at George Washington University in DC for a joint position in the Women’s Studies and the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy at the level of Assistant Professor. As a Japanese woman, being so close to the center of American politics , her excellent research experience will bring a positive world view in DC. It’s a position focused on gender inequality and public policy, with excellent support for research.
Eiko Strader graduated with a Sociology BS degree at Boise State University from the Sociology Department in 2009. She was also the Department’s work student for two years, 2007-9.
In Arthur Scarritt’s new book, a con man, an advocate for native rights, and an Andean mountain village symbolize a larger picture of the persistence of racist colonial systems that keep indigenous Peruvians in poverty.
Between 1999 and 2003, Scarritt, an associate professor in the Department of Sociology, was living in the village of Huaytabamba (all names are pseudonyms), researching his dissertation on how impoverished residents were confronting globalization. He’d seen a tractor in the village and hadn’t been able to figure out why the villagers scorned the piece of farm equipment. It turned out that a villager named Damian had sold them a free tractor donated by Japan, then pocketed the money.
This anecdote was the spark for Scarritt’s book.
Damian, son of a village patriarch, had the benefit of a formal education. His knowledge of Spanish, along with his native Quechua, allowed him to move easily between the village and the city, straddling indigenous and mixed, or Mestizo cultures. He earned peoples’ trust, built relationships with officials and was able to gain power over the distribution of resources in his village.
In one scheme, Damian convinced villagers to sell their cattle and give him the money to subsidize a project that would, he said, lift them out of poverty. He fled with the money, leaving the village in financial and psychological ruin. The advent of Evangelical religion helped villagers trust one another again and operate in ways that benefited the community. It also made them vulnerable to Damian when he returned. Religion also kept them from lynching him.
True to character, Damian had a bigger scheme in the works. A 1995 law had provided for the division of land into private tracts as well as the retention of older native communal land systems. The law gave villagers the option of a vote to choose.
The village’s elite families, including Damian’s, favored privatization. They wanted to use the land to generate cash. The majority of families in the village, fearful of losing their land, wanted to keep the traditional communal system. Scarritt met a villager named Pedro — a Damian foil — and watched as he led the charge against privatization. Damian led his own pro-privatization intimidation campaign. When the issue came to a vote, a majority of villagers voted against putting lands in private hands. The vote was for naught. Village elites ignored the defeat and imposed privatization upon the resisting villagers.
“My book asks about the racial divisions between Mestizos and rural, indigenous people, and about how those divisions provide certain people, like Damian, with outsized power,” said Scarritt.
Progress for native people can only come, he added, when various sectors of society no longer depend on the continued disenfranchisement of native people in order to prosper.
Reprinted from Boise State’s Focus Magazine Winter 2016, written by Anna Webb.
Ginna Husting and Martin Orr will present “‘Conspiracy Theory’ Theory: Power and Vocabularies of Motive” at Noon on February 10th in RFH 101. Their research examines the use of the phrase “conspiracy theory” in mass media, and in public discourse more generally, to marginalize and discredit critics of political, economic and institutional power.
An article written by Rebecca Som Castellano was recently published in Footnotes, the monthly newsletter of the American Sociological Association. Som Castellano was invited to write on the challenges and rewards of engaging in community action research, drawing inspiration from her recent work at the Duck Valley Indian Reservation. Read Rebecca Som Castellano’s article here.
Arthur Scarritt had a column published in CounterPunch, one of the nation’s preeminent political outlets, about the protesters who have taken over a wildlife refuge in Oregon. Titled “The Rationality of the Malheur Gunment: Fighting for the White Future of This Country,” it looks at the history of white privilege in the United States. Scarritt n0tes that, “these militants are not irrational crazies. Their actions are highly rational. But they are based on a rationality of white male privilege driving the fortunes of the country.” To read “The Rationality of the Malheur Gunment: Fighting for the White Future of This Country,” click here.
Rebecca Som Castellano recently was presented the Governor’s Proclamation on Hunger and Food Security for 2015. Each year Idaho Gov. Butch Otter proclaims October as “Hunger and Food Security Awareness Month” in Idaho and a framed copy of the proclamation is presented by the Idaho Hunger Relief Task Force to an organization or individual who has contributed to improving the status of food security in Idaho. Som Castellano was chosen based on her recent public scholarship, including her work with the Duck Valley Indian Reservation.
Rebecca Som Castellano co-edited The Blue Review’s special edition on Food and Inequality. Her introduction to the edition, “Broken Tables: Examining Food and Inequality in the U.S.,” appears here. Her article written for the edition, “The Locavore Glass Ceiling: Women, Labor and Local Food,” appears here.
Rebecca Som Castellano was invited to present at the special session on the Community Action Research Initiative (CARI) at the 2015 annual meeting of the American Sociological Association. Som Castellano was awarded a CARI Grant in 2014, which supported her work on the Duck Valley Indian Reservation, where she worked collaboratively with the community to assess food concerns, among other needs and desires. In addition, a paper co-authored by Som Castellano and Analena Bruce, a graduate student of sociology at Rutgers, recently was presented at the Rural Sociological Society’s annual meeting in Madison, Wisconsin. The paper examines the ways in which labor issues in the spheres of production and consumption potentially limit the scaling up of alternative agriculture and food initiatives.
Rebecca Som Castellano’s report, “Food Security at the Duck Valley Indian Reservation,” prepared with the assistance of recent Sociology Department graduate Shanina Hicks, has been released. Based on an analysis of a survey and a focus group of members of the tribe, they documented the sources and quality of foods available to those on the reservation, identified obstacles to obtaining quality food, and outlined the concerns of tribal members. To read the full report, click here.
The editors of “Beyond Trafficking and Slavery” invited Arthur Scarritt to publish an article titled “Undermining indigenous self-determination and land access in highland Peru.” Beyond Trafficking and Slavery is an editorial partnership between openDemocracy and researchers from Africa, Asia, America, Australia and Europe. It challenges both mainstream media and policy responses promoted by businesses and politicians. In addition, an article authored by Scarritt titled “Enclosing the indigenous commons in highland Peru” was published in the Ecologist. It discusses Peru’s efforts to break up and privatize indigenous common lands across the Andean highlands. Read it in full here.
Michael Blain continues the push the critical limits of our understanding of the War on Terrorism. He has published a number of recent research articles relating the WOT to empire, biopolitics of terrorism and social science, victimage ritual and the discourse of evil. His most recent effort, “Power, Victimage Ritual, Terrorism [Potere, Rituale Di Vittimizzazione e Terrorismo],” has been published in Le Maschere del Male. una Sociologia [The Masks of Evil: A Sociology], edited by Giorgio Pacifici. The chapter is published in both English and Italian, and more information is available here.
Martin Orr was interviewed by New Zealand philosopher Matthew Dentith for his series “The Podcaster’s Guide to the Conspiracy.” In the interview they discuss his research, conducted with Ginna Husting, on the use of the phrase “conspiracy theory” to police debate in media accounts of alleged conspiracies in sports. To listen to the podcast, click here.
Arthur Scarritt has published a new book titled Racial Spoils from Native Soils, How Neoliberalism Steals Indigenous Lands in Highland Peru. The book explains how one man swindled his Andean village twice. The first time he extorted everyone’s wealth and disappeared, leaving the village in shambles. The village slowly recovered through the unlikely means of converting to Evangelical religions, and therein re-established trust and the ability to work together. This is not a story about hapless isolation or cruel individuals. Rather, this is a story about racism, about the normal operation of society that continuously results in indigenous peoples’ impoverishment and dependency. The book explains how the institutions created for the purpose of exploiting Indians during colonialism have been continuously revitalized over the centuries despite innovative indigenous resistance and epochal changes, such as the end of the colonial era itself. The ethnographic case of the Andean village first shows how this institutional set up works through — rather than despite — the inflow of development monies. It then details how the turn to advanced capitalism — neoliberalism — intensifies this racialized system, thereby enabling the seizure of native lands. For more information click here.
Martin Orr and Virginia Husting published an article about their research on conspiracy theories in The Blue Review. They argue that the term “conspiracy theory” is “an epithet often used to discredit people concerned about the misuse of power.” Orr and Husting review use of the term in the New York Times and find numerous examples of reporters and columnists referring to Arab public opinion in conspiratorial terms: “Muslims, for example, have been reified, racialized and vilified, long before 9/11. Given this conflation of nations and ethnic groups, the attitudes of what is often called the “Arab Street” (i.e., public opinion in majority-Muslim nations, whether Arab or not) are often portrayed as grounded in unwarranted ‘conspiracy theories.'” Read the post here: https://thebluereview.org/conspiracy-theory-arab-street-nyt/
A paper written by Ginna Husting is being published by the journal Symbolic Interaction. Titled “The Flayed & Exquisite Self of Travelers,” it addresses the threat to our identity and sense of self presented by travel, and how we deal with that through development of an “interim or interstitial identity, a flayed, exquisite self characterized by discomfort and ongoing emotion/identity work.” In addition, another paper titled “Feminist Sociological Approaches to Contempt in the Public Sphere,” has been accepted for the upcoming national meeting of the American Sociologic Association. The meeting will be held in August in Chicago. The paper is one of several addressing contempt in public culture.
Michael Blain’s article, “Social Science Discourse and the Biopolitics of Terrorism,” has been published in Sociology Compass 9/3 (2015): 161-179. It argues that the power struggles associated with the U.S. power elite-led war on terrorism are producing many new objects of knowledge (e.g. Islamic terrorists, the terrorists mind, jihadists, extremists, militants, ISIS as well as a host of new so-called “experts on counterterrorism”). This process is modeled as a cycle involving U.S. power elite-initiated power struggles and elite orchestrated political victimage rituals targeting the enemies of empire. This dynamic is explored in terms of its empirical effects on social science discourse. It highlights the limitations of current thinking in “counterterrorism,” knowledge tailored to the interests of power elite agendas and the possibilities of critical research on political violence. View the full article at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/soc4.v9.3/issuetoc.
Martin Orr presented a paper, co-authored with Ginna Husting, at the Conspiracy Theory Conference hosted by the Political Science Department at the University of Miami. Their paper, “From U.S. Ghettos to the ‘Arab Street’: Race and the ‘Conspiracy Theorist,’” has been selected from among the papers presented for inclusion in a collection to be published later this year by Cornell University Press.
Rebecca Som Castellano’s article, “Alternative Food Networks and Food Provisioning as a Gendered Act” has been published in Agriculture and Human Values. The paper examines the extent to which gender inequality in the division of labor is reproduced in alternative food networks by focusing on the potential persistence of gender inequality in food provisioning among AFN participants. In addition, she was an organizer for the 2014 Hunger Summit, a biennial event organized by the Idaho Hunger Relief Task Force. The primary goal of the Hunger Summit is to gather together constituents from across the region to talk about the status of hunger in Idaho and craft next steps in working to alleviate food insecurity in the state.
Desiree Brunette and Martin Orr were interviewed for article in The Arbiter, “Pop Culture Sorts Hipsters into Appearance-base Subgroup,” by Justin Kirkham.
Senior Sociology major Briana Cornwall presented her paper “Combating Student Debt: Student Perceptions of Term-Time Employment” on September 30th at the Gender Studies Brown Bag Lecture Series.
Martin Orr’s book chapter, “The Global Capitalist Crisis and the End of Empire,” has been published in The Global Capitalist Crisis and Its Aftermath: The Causes and Consequences of the Great Recession of 2008-2009. More information is available at Ashgate Publishers. To read the introduction to the book, click here.
Sergio Romero’s chapter on Race and Ethnicity appears in Introduction to Sociology: A Collaborative Approach (4th edition), published by Boise’s Ashbury Publishing. To read the full chapter, click here.
Rebecca Som Castellano presented her paper, “Exploring the Intersection of Gender and Class in Alternative Agrifood Participation,” at the annual meetings of the Rural Sociological Society in New Orleans. She chaired the session on “Sociology of Agriculture and Food.”
Michael Blain made two presentations at the International Sociological Association’s World Congress of Sociology in Yokohama, Japan: “The Cold-War As a Mode of Subjection: Power/Knowledge Dynamics in the Age of Empire,” and “Knowledge Dynamics in the Age of Empire.”
Michael Blain’s review of Mark Hamm’s monograph, The Spectacular Few: Prison Radicalization and the Evolving Terrorist Threat, was published in the International Journal of Comparative Sociology.
Martin Orr was interviewed for an article in the Idaho Statesman on unions in Idaho. Read the article.
Abraham Calderón was named a Top Ten Scholar by the Boise State Alumni Association. This honor is bestowed annually upon Boise State’s outstanding graduating students, selected based on academic success, extracurricular involvement, and volunteer activities. His Honored Faculty member was Arthur Scarritt.
Joyce Bingham, a 2013 graduate in sociology, has accepted admission into the MSW program at the University of Southern California.
Kristina Jensen has accepted admission to the Sociology Department at the University of Massachusetts — Boston.
Michael Kreiter won a Pacific Sociological Association travel award.
Jacob Church, Michael Kreiter, and Vanessa Cornwall won Boise State Student Research Initiative travel awards.
Abraham Calderón presented his research entitled “Mexican Politicization: Cultivating Optimism, Fostering Community” at the 21st Annual McNair Scholars Research Conference at the University of Maryland, before faculty and undergraduate researchers from around the country.
Boomer Grahn received a Boise State University Student Research Initiative fellowship.
Arthur Scarritt’s article, “First the Revolutionary Culture: Innovations in Empowered Citizenship from Evangelical Highland Peru,” was published in the SAGE journal’s Latin American Perspectives. Read the full text.
Robert McCarl has entered a phased retirement. He will continue to teach, conduct research, and serve our campus and community through the end of Spring 2015.
Paty Ann Dudziak Kerr, Administrative Assistant for the department, was named the Association of Classified Employees 2013 Employee of the Year. This award recognizes exemplary service to the campus and community. The Department of Sociology — faculty and students alike — are very fortunate to have the privilege of working with her.
Makala Knutson from Boise, is a first-generation student majoring in both sociology and psychology. As a member of the Intermountain Social Research Lab under the direction of Dr. Arthur Scarritt, Knutson conducted intensive sociological research on the experiences of students facing financial crisis. She presented this research at both the Pacific Sociological Association Conference in San Diego and at the Boise State University Research and Scholarship Conference. In 2011, she was honored with the Scheffer Sociology Endowed Scholarship and the J.T. Osborne Scholarship. She became the president of the Boise State Sociology Club a year later. That summer, under the guidance of Dr. Bonnie Kenaley of the Department of Social Work, Knutson worked with seven other students to create the first annual Healing Hearts Camp, a bereavement camp for Treasure Valley children between the ages of 6 and 11. Inspired by her experiences with these children, she independently traveled to Mbabane, Swaziland, where she did similar bereavement work at the Sandra Lee Centre, a home for 28 orphaned children. In addition to these grief workshops, she taught at the preschool, tutored elementary age students after school and volunteered at the Mbabane Government Hospital. At home, she dedicates her time to working with at-risk youth as a youth specialist at the Hays Shelter Home. She is awaiting the final decision on a U.S. Fulbright Fellowship to return to Swaziland for ten months of research at the end of this year.
Jacke’lle Knickrehm was accepted into the MSW program at Northwest Nazarene University
Danielle Martens was admitted into the MSW Program at Northwest Nazarene University.
Michael Blain’s review of Speculative Security: The Politics of Pursuing Terrorist Monies, by Marieke de Goede, was published in the American Journal of Sociology.
A new book by Michael Blain, entitled Power, Discourse, and Victimage Ritual in the War on Terror, has been published by Ashgate Publishers.
Arthur Scarritt, Sergio Romero, and five students working with their Intermountain Social Research Lab, presented at the Pacific Sociological Association’s annual conference in Reno, Nevada.
Mario Venegas has accepted admission into the Ph.D. program in sociology at the University of Texas at Austin.
Lesley Yang was admitted to the University of Minnesota’s doctoral program in educational policy and administration.
Vanessa Cornwall has been accepted into the Latin American studies M.A. program at the University of New Mexico.
Rosaura Conley-Estrada collaborated with a team from the College of Social Sciences and Public Affairs to produce the “Hispanic Profile Data Book for Idaho, 2012.” It was presented to the Idaho Commission on Hispanic Affairs Legislative Reception. Click to read the full report.
Ginna Husting’s 2006 article, “Neutralizing Protest,” has just been anthologized in a new reader: Readings on the Rhetoric of Social Protest, 3rd Edition. Charles E. Morris III, and Stephen Howard Browne, Editors. Click for more information.
Nikki A. Weihe, a McNair Scholar majoring in criminal justice and sociology, has received the Abraham Lincoln Fellowship from the University of Illinois at Chicago to pursue a Ph.D. in criminology, law and justice.
Alexandra Ornelas, a 2011 graduate in sociology, has won a Ford Foundation Pre-doctoral Fellowship. She is currently studying at the University of California — Santa Barbara, and the Fellowship will support her studies and dissertation research for up to three years. Congratulations, Alex!
Levin Welch, a 2011 graduate of the Sociology Department currently completing his Masters at the University of Nevada, Reno, has had his article, “Neoliberalism, Economic Crisis, and the 2008 Financial Meltdown in the United States” published in the International Review of Modern Sociology. He has also accepted a teaching position at the College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, California.
Rebecca Som Castellano joined the department as an Assistant Professor. She earned he doctorate from the Ohio State University with her dissertation, entitled “Cooking up Change?: Exploring Food Provisioning as a Gendered Act within Alternative Agrifood Practices.” Her research and teaching interests include the Sociology of Food and Agriculture, Gender and Development, Stratification and Inequality, Rural Sociology, and Public Policy.
Seven students of Sergio Romero and Arthur Scarritt presented at the Pacific Sociological Association’s annual conference in San Diego. Five of the students presented as part of the Intermountain Social Research Lab (IMSRL), an intensive research-training program in the Department of Sociology. Their papers focused on different aspects of student strategies for confronting the Great Recession. Two of the seven students are associated with the McNair Scholars Program.
Arthur Scarritt’s article “Broker Fixed: the Racialized Social Structure and the Subjugation of Indigenous Populations in the Andes” has been accepted for publication in Critical Sociology. He also recently contributed two articles – “Peru” and “Indigenous Peoples, Latin America” – to editor Richard T. Schaefer’s Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity, and Society.
Robert McCarl is one of only four scholars in the nation to be awarded a 2010-2011 Archie Green Fellowship from the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. McCarl will study the environmental ethics of different occupational groups in Idaho’s Silver Valley, where he plans to interview and document three broad categories of workers: ecologically-focused occupations such as plant biologists, geologists and water-quality specialists; current-use occupations such as miners, loggers, and fishermen; and future-oriented occupations, such as preservationists, developers, clergy and Coeur d’Alene tribal leaders. His analysis, videos, photographs, notes and maps will be given to the American Folklife Center and shared with the local community.
A compilation of Michael Blain’s articles on political violence have been published as The Sociology of Terrorism: Studies in Power, Subjection, and Victimage Ritual by Universal-Publishers.
Michael Blain presented a paper, “Empire and the Global War on Terrorism,” to the World Congress of Sociology in Gothenberg, Sweden.
Martin Orr interviewed sociologist and journalist Christian Parenti for the Idaho Peace Coalition’s program “Peace Talks” on Treasure Valley Community Television.