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Spring 2016 Events

Events Listing

  • Wednesday, February 10th, 12:30pm

    Promises and Pitfalls of Social-Science Genomics

    Puck Conference Room- 4156

    David Cesarini

    As a result of the development of new technologies, the costs of measuring common genetic variation across individuals are rapidly declining. In this talk I survey the main ways in which the ability to directly measure genetic variation is likely to contribute to the social sciences, and outline the challenges that have slowed progress in making these contributions. The most urgent problem facing researchers in this field is that most existing efforts to find associations between genetic variation and economic behavior are based on samples that are too small to ensure adequate statistical power. I show how recent from gene discovery studies based on very large discovery samples are beginning to identify robust genetic associations with complex traits such as educational attainment and subjective well-being.

  • Thursday, February 18th, 12:00pm

    Intergenerational Mobility: What’s the Problem?

    Pless, 82 Washington Square East, 4th Floor Payne Room

    Increasingly, both liberals and conservatives are highlighting economic mobility and opportunity as national priorities. A range of factors complicates the enactment of policies to promote mobility. On the political side, the left has devoted far more attention to the supposed impact of inequality on opportunity than is merited by the evidence. The right, for its part, has been reluctant to concede an affirmative role for the federal government in promoting opportunity, beyond the removal of purported government-imposed barriers. But widespread misunderstanding about the basic facts of intergenerational mobility in the U.S.—shared by left, right, and center—also impedes efforts to promote opportunity. In this presentation, I review the latest research on mobility and present my own results to debunk conventional views of American deficiencies in mobility and to highlight neglected problems.

  • Wednesday, March 2nd,
    12:30pm – 1:50pm

    Financial Capitalism, Credit Ratings, and Global Governance

    Puck Conference Room- 4156

    Bruce Carruthers

    Recently, sociologists have analyzed processes of financialization, growth in the financial sector and increased financial activities by both firms and households. But few have addressed governance in the financial sector. Here I consider how credit ratings, a privately-produced measure of credit risk, have become so central in the private and public regulation of credit flows. I address the factors that have shaped their deep institutionalization within modern financial capitalism and discuss their limitations

  • Monday, March 28th, 12:30pm

    Heterogeneity and American Ghettoes

    Puck Conference Room- 4156

    Mario Small

    By the end of the 20th century, the dominant theories of urban poverty argued that U.S. ghettoes had become isolated areas devoid of everyday institutions and disconnected from mainstream society. The terms “social isolation,” “deinstitutionalization,” and “social disorganization” characterized many of the depictions of poor neighborhoods in scholarship and the popular media. Many of these theories derived from generations of researchers at the University of Chicago who had used the city of Chicago as a laboratory to examine the changing conditions of poor neighborhoods. But cities differ, and poor neighborhoods might as well. The potential consequences for urban development, isolation, network use and formation, social organization, and other conditions, remain unknown. Based on demographic analysis of newly-available large-scale data across all U.S. cities, I examine whether the conventional models have underestimated the extent of heterogeneity across U.S. ghettoes and its consequences for the everyday experiences of those who live in them. I argue for alternative perspectives on poverty, concentration, and space and introduce the beginnings of a perspective aimed at addressing these questions.

  • Wednesday, March 30th, 12:30pm

    $2 a day, living in virtually nothing in America

    Puck Conference Room- 4156

    Kathy Edin

Directions to the center:

Take the Lexington Avenue subway (No. 6 train) to Bleecker Street Station. At Bleecker Street, walk south on Lafayette Street until you reach Houston Street. The Puck Building is located on the southeast corner.


Take the Sixth Avenue subway to Broadway-Lafayette Station (B, D, F, or V train). Exit corner of Lafayette and Houston Streets.


Take the Broadway subway (R train) to Prince Street Station. At Broadway, walk east to Lafayette Street. Walk northward on Lafayette Street until you reach Houston Street.