• Immigration Policy, Legal Status & Enforcement through Three Decades of Research among Central American…

    Immigration policy has been in the public eye, often taking center stage, for the past couple of decades. This interest grew considerably during the Obama and then the Trump administrations, as the number of unaccompanied minors and families from Central America arriving at the southern U.S. border grew in the mid-2010s and these administrations sought to contain the growth by detaining and separating these families. Given the heightened attention that immigration policy received during the Trump administration and the unprecedented policy activity during that presidency, there are raised expectations about what the Biden administration may do in this area. Will…

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  • Response to Menjívar

    I was inspired to the reflections that follow by Dr. Cecilia Menjívar’s February inaugural address as president-elect of the American Sociological Association, reprised here as “Immigration Policy, Legal Status & Enforcement through Three Decades of Research among Central American Immigrants in the United States”, and by the article she co-authored with Dr. Andrea Gómez Cervantes, “Legal Violence, Health, and Access to Care: Latina Immigrants in Rural and Urban Kansas". The former is an overview of the emotional, physical, and material stresses experienced by Latino immigrants to the U.S. as a result of increasingly hostile and arbitrary laws, policies, and enforcement…

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  • Memories of Mel Kohn

    Memories of Melvin L. Kohn (1928-2021) Johanna K. Bockman Back in 2014, as DCSS president, I discovered that Melvin L. Kohn gave a DCSS presentation on March 30, 1961, titled “Reports on Some Current Research on Health,” and had, in fact, been a member of DCSS since the early 1950s. I decided that to deeply understand DCSS I had to talk with Mel, and I am very glad I did. When I revealed at our meeting that I have been an ecstatic fan of sociology, Mel declared, “We’re twins!” He truly loved sociology and being a sociologist. In his memoir,…

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  • Being a Fence Watcher at Black Lives Matter Plaza

    After Inauguration Day, fewer and fewer people showed up in the Black Lives Matter Plaza every day. Most people took the footage they wanted and left, except for the homeless people, the street artists, and the fence watchers (protecting the protest signs and street artwork on the fence between the plaza and White House), they have to stay as long as they can. My boyfriend Ryan and I joined the fence watchers in Black Lives Matter Plaza two days before Inauguration Day. Living in DC for two years, I have my personal emotional attachment to this plaza. Most protest routines…

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  • The Capitol Riots and Police Suicides Remembered

    While growing up in Georgia, Capitol Hill was physically and ideologically distant from my life. I understood that it was tied to our government, but the scale of it was so grand that it was imperceptible. I thought the Capitol to be an unwavering institution. When I accepted my admission to the George Washington University (GW), my parents and I toured Downtown Washington, D.C., finally seeing the Capitol for the first time. As semesters passed, as more of my peers found internships in the Capitol and as I continued my studies in sociology, the Capitol’s presence solidified. It was more…

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  • Reflections on Howard University’s Panels on Race Relations

    In spring 2021, as part of Alpha Kappa Delta (AKD)’s Anti-Racism Initiative, Beta chapter of D.C. received a $1200 award to sponsor a series of colloquia on systemic racism in the U.S. The funding went to produce three Zoom events that each highlighted different issues in discussing systemic racism: health disparities, policing, and structural racism. The intent of the overall program was to engage not only the Howard University community in the discussion, but also our counterparts at the other colleges and universities in the local DC/MD/VA (or DMV) area who have AKD chapters. To ensure this wider participation, each…

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  • Interview with Evan Douglas: How Can We Reduce the Sociological Contributors to Police Violence?

    On Monday April 19th, 2021, I had the privilege of interviewing Evan Douglas, a native of Washington, D.C., an ex-D.C. Metropolitan police officer, and current Policy and Advocacy Fellow at the DC Justice Lab. Douglas has dedicated his life to criminal justice reform and making a positive impact in the D.C. community. As an ex-police officer, he has a unique perspective on why police violence and brutality keep occurring and how police reform may be achieved. I spoke with him to learn more about the root sociological causes that drive police violence in the U.S. April 19th was also the…

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  • Watching Fences

    I think change can be a proofless endeavor, much like watching paint dry. Except in this instance the paint never becomes dry enough for you to decide if what you have covered up is made any better by your efforts. Watching fences is a lot like that. Editors’ Note: Fencing was erected around the White House in June 2020 in response to the Black Lives Matter protests in front of it sparked by the murder of George Floyd. A portion of this fencing at Black Lives Matter Plaza became host to BLM-related protest signs, art, and memorials, curated unofficially by…

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  • Journeys and Cycles — Student Experiences of Virtual Learning During The Pandemic

    As the end of the pandemic seemed to be around the corner many students reflected on the past year. Some found it to be a wonderful self-journey where they discovered themselves in ways they could not have imagined, and others were stuck in an endless cycle of doing nothing. Conducting interviews with students in the D.C. area, it became clear how differently people are going to remember the year of the pandemic, depending on where they spent it. Those at home with their families frequently felt “stuck” while those who had the luxury of living in D.C. for most of…

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About The Sociologist

The Sociologist is the mouthpiece of the District of Columbia Sociological Society (DCSS). The Sociologist began as a newsletter for members of DCSS. Beginning in 2014, we transformed the newsletter into a periodic magazine of public sociology for a general audience. The Sociologist is an open-access publication and is supported by DCSS and George Mason University’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology. Our aim is to continue to foster our project as a meeting place for all sociologists in the Washington, D.C. area. The Sociologist is issued periodically to coincide with our public events. Send us the sociology of your neighborhood, where you learn and work, or your playground.