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  1. Do Sociology Courses Make More Empathetic Students? A Mixed-Methods Study of Empathy Change in Undergraduates

    Assessing course goals is often challenging; assessing an abstract goal, like empathy, can be especially so. For many instructors, empathy is central to sociological thinking. As such, fostering empathy in students is a common course goal. In this article, we report the initial findings of a semester-long assessment of empathy change in undergraduate students (N = 619). We employ a mixed-methods research design that utilizes qualitative instructor data to determine independent instructor-level variables and student surveys to measure student empathy change.
  2. The Geometry of Culture: Analyzing the Meanings of Class through Word Embeddings

    We argue word embedding models are a useful tool for the study of culture using a historical analysis of shared understandings of social class as an empirical case. Word embeddings represent semantic relations between words as relationships between vectors in a high-dimensional space, specifying a relational model of meaning consistent with contemporary theories of culture.
  3. Mapping Cultural Schemas: From Theory to Method

    A growing body of research in sociology uses the concept of cultural schemas to explain how culture influences beliefs and actions. However, this work often relies on belief or attitude measures gleaned from survey data as indicators of schemas, failing to measure the cognitive associations that constitute schemas. In this article, we propose a concept-association-based approach for collecting data about individuals’ schematic associations, and a corresponding method for modeling concept network representations of shared cultural schemas.
  4. Queer Pop‐Ups: A Cultural Innovation in Urban Life

    Research on sexuality and space emphasizes geographic and institutional forms that are stable, established, and fixed. By narrowing their analytic gaze on such places, which include gayborhoods and bars, scholars use observations about changing public opinions, residential integration, and the closure of nighttime venues to conclude that queer urban and institutional life is in decline. We use queer pop‐up events to challenge these dominant arguments about urban sexualities and to advocate instead a “temporary turn” that analyzes the relationship between ephemerality and placemaking.

  5. Family Complexity into Adulthood: The Central Role of Mothers in Shaping Intergenerational Ties

    As a result of the divorce revolution, more children grow up in complex families. Yet, we know little about how family complexity affects relationships when children are adults and parents are ageing. In this article, we use unique survey data to test fundamental ideas about intergenerational ties: the role of biology, partnerships (marriage and cohabitation), residence, and selection.
  6. Hearing Gender: Voice-Based Gender Classification Processes and Transgender Health Inequality

    This study examines the link between self-rated health and two aspects of gender: an individual’s gender identity, and whether strangers classify that person’s voice as male or female. In a phone-based general health survey, interviewers classified the sex of transgender women (n = 722) and transgender men (n = 446) based on assumptions they made after hearing respondents’ voices.
  7. Sacred Alters: The Effects of Ego Network Structure on Religious and Political Beliefs

    Does who we know impact how strongly we believe? The claim seems reasonable, but research linking social network composition to political beliefs has produced conflicting results. We argue that methodological differences in measuring close ties can explain these inconsistencies and that work on the sacred umbrella provides a useful framework for moving forward. The sacred umbrella argues that when people close to you share your religious beliefs, you are shielded from doubt and uncertainty; perhaps the same mechanism also operates for political views.
  8. Talking Your Self into It: How and When Accounts Shape Motivation for Action

    Following Mills, several prominent sociologists have encouraged researchers to analyze actors’ motive talk not as data on the subjective desires that move them to pursue particular ends but as post hoc accounts oriented toward justifying actions already undertaken.
  9. “Daddies,” “Cougars,” and Their Partners Past Midlife: Gender Attitudes and Relationship and Sexual Well-Being among Older Adults in Age-Heterogenous Partnerships

    Discussion of “daddies” has exploded in popular discourse, yet there is little sociological research on age-heterogenous partnerships. This paper uses data from the 2013 Midlife in the United States survey and the 2015–2016 National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project to examine age-heterogenous partnerships at older ages (63 was the approximate average age of each sample).

  10. Freedom and Frustration: Rachel Dolezal and the Meaning of Race

    Where ethnoracial boundaries are treated as rigid and real, their consequences are also rigid and real. But if Rachel Dolezal had lived in Brazil, she would have been just another negra frustrada.