… this website and the person who maintains it.
Hi! I’m Karen and I am the person who built this website and maintains it. I am a PhD in sociology who is passionate about classical sociological theory and wants to spread the word about how fascinating it is. I have been teaching sociology undergraduate courses for twelve years, inspiring students (I hope!) to courageously face the complexities of European social theory and make it their own. Sociology is great. It can help you make sense of your own experiences and the world around you – it is by far (in my humble opinion) the most helpful academic discipline there is!
On this site you will find my weekly blog, which is basically a transcription of my thought process as I go about my day, reading the news… living my life… and thinking my thoughts about sociological theory. The point of the blog is to demonstrate how sociological theory can clarify the messy world of experience and events and help your brain get a grasp of things. This not only can quiet your brain down for a while but it can also help you think more critically about what’s going on around you and help you act in a way that is in keeping with the person you want to be.
On this site, you will also find posted some of the presentations I have made at academic conferences and the article I recently published in the American Journal of Cultural Sociology. My areas of interest are culture, art, and, you guessed it, classical sociological theory, specifically, a brilliant German sociologist and philosopher, Jürgen Habermas. My research up to this point has been driven by one main question: why do modern human societies have art and what does it do for them? I grew up in a rather typical American household where practical good sense and democratic down-to-earthiness was valued above all else. Yet I was constantly attracted to visual art, useless and elitist as it was. The article “Habermas and Art: Beyond Bourdieu” was the culmination of many (many, many, too many!) years of work trying to answer why on earth I (and lots of other people) found it so interesting.
On this site you will also find links to and observations about art, for obvious reasons. Finally, you will find links to current political issues, also, I suppose, for obvious reasons. I hope you find these links and observations interesting and helpful for your life. That is the point of them. Enjoy!