Frontiers - Society

  • April 2011

    Deconstructing Caste

    Penn's Center for the Advanced Study of India helms breakthrough study of socioeconomics among India's Dalit caste.

    Penn's Center for the Advanced Study of India (CASI) is funding and designing the largest non-government study of economic gains made by India's Dalit caste. Dalits comprise about one-sixth of the country's population and historically have been at the bottom of the complex social hierarchy that constitutes the caste system.

  • April 2011

    Class and the Halls of Ivy

    Graduate student Elizabeth Lee studies socioeconomic inequality in higher education.

    During her years working in the financial aid office of an elite university, sociology doctoral student Elizabeth Lee was struck by the discrepancy between her daily dealings with students and their own experiences at school.

  • March 2011

    Lessons From Chernobyl

    Adriana Petryna says the decades-old disaster may prove invaluable in responding to Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant accident.

    Media coverage of the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan has overshadowed the destruction caused by the devastating earthquake and resulting tsunami. Though there have been many nuclear plant accidents in the past half-century, only a select few have garnered the kind of international attention Japan's current one has.

  • March 2011

    Labor Unions: American Tradition or Outmoded System?

    Thomas Sugrue discusses planned legislation to strip collective bargaining and other rights from union workers.

    Labor unions, since before the New Deal, have been held up as a quintessential American right. They seek to protect wages, benefits and other workers' rights, especially in the public sector and at big corporations.

  • January 2011

    Style in the Dawn of Civilization

    Graduate student Aubrey Baadsgaard studies the role of fashion in ancient Mesopotamia.

    The frenzy caused by New York Fashion Week and red-carpet style at the Oscars may give the impression that contemporary society is particularly clothes-obsessed, but the research of Aubrey Baadsgaard, an anthropology doctoral student at Penn, shows that the concept of fashion is as old as human history itself.

  • January 2011

    How Would Lennie Briscoe Vote?

    New research by Diana Mutz explores the not-so-subtle influence of television on political beliefs.

    What does Oliver Twist have in common with episode 7, season 12 of Law & Order? According to recent research by Diana Mutz, both may be examples of fictional content that has real consequences for people’s political attitudes and beliefs.

  • January 2011

    A Place to Call Home

    Associate Professor of History Beth Wenger chronicles Jewish Americans' quest for historical identity.

    Every culture has its own origin story—its texts, its heroes and its beliefs. But in a relatively new country like America, how does any one culture stake their claim to an "American" history? It's a question that fascinates Professor of History Beth Wenger, as it pertains to Jewish Americans.

  • January 2011

    The State of the Union: Defining America From a Tightrope

    An audio Q&A with Professor of American Social Thought and Professor of History Mary Frances Berry

    It's a daunting task for President Obama: Put to words your vision for America's future while doing your best to pacify grievances. Fresh off the wake of the violence in Arizona, President Obama will shift speaking styles to deliver the State of the Union. How will the tragedy in Tucson affect his tone?

  • December 2010

    The 112th Congress: Compromise or Gridlock?

    An audio Q&A with political scientist Neil Malhotra.

    The 2010 midterm elections shook things up. A surge of support for new political movements like the Tea Party and worry over the economy contributed to heavy Democratic losses on both national and state levels, which ultimately saw Republicans recapturing the House.

  • November 2010

    The U.S. Challenge in Afghanistan

    Political scientist Alex Weisiger discusses the war in Afghanistan.

    As part of the political science department’s November 11 panel discussion,