March 9th, 2015
International Women’s Day with Hibaaq Osman
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Time: 12:00-2:00 pm
Location: Heller G3
In celebration of the International Women’s Day, the Coexistence and Conflict program at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management is hosting special guest – global political strategist and women’s rights activist, Hibaaq Osman, who will share her experience with El-Karama and the state of women peacemakers in the MENA Region. Osman works in partnership with civil society and youth leaders across the Middle East and Africa to promote women’s advancement, protection, and security, and advocate for their inclusion in decision-making and peacemaking frameworks.
Free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.
The event is co-sponsored by the Heller School’s Gender Working Group, the Graduate Program in Sustainable International Development, the Women’s Studies Research Center, and the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life.
For more information, please contact Marta Baran.
March 2nd, 2015
March 2 – 5
The CAST minor will host singer/activist Fatu Gayflor and anthropologist/dance scholar Toni Shapiro-Phim, both now living in Philadelphia. Fatu is a renowned Liberian singer who is the founder and the artistic director of the Liberian Women’s Chorus for Change, a group that focuses on domestic violence, post-conflict reconciliation and other issues of concern for Liberians in the Philadelphia region. The Chorus is an initiative of the Philadelphia Folklore Project, an arts and social justice organization where Toni serves as Director of Programs. Toni has conducted extensive research on the performing arts of Cambodia, and edited an anthology on dance and human rights across the globe.
Fatu and Toni will be giving five presentations during their time at Brandeis.
February 4th, 2015
Excerpt from The Hoot’s article featuring Adamia:
“His hard work eventually earned him a nomination for a Geoffrey Beene Scholarship. “I had to write a case study on technology and fashion, and I ended up working on a project regarding 3D printing and its revolutionary influence on fashion,” Adamia said.
“Essentially I was doing academic research, and I spoke with many designers, bloggers and experts who are doing research in regard to both the technology and design aspects. I produced the case study and presented it to the YMA’s executive board, which consists of top-level executives of places such as Geoffrey Beene, Levi Strauss & Co., FIT and many others,” Adamia explained. After the presentation, Adamia won one of four $30,000 Geoffrey Beene Scholarships to be used for future education and career aspirations.
“In fashion, it depends on your background and what you’re looking for—money, fame, experience, looking for it as a stepping stone into a social world or connections. I found my channel through this organization which I am insanely grateful for and am still trying to find ways to expand my experience. Getting into it is very individual for everyone,” Adamia said about the difficulties of getting into the fashion world.”
January 29th, 2015
The 2014-2015 Sociology Newsletter is up! Check out the link for more information.
January 21st, 2015
January 20th, 2015
January 7th, 2015
USA Today reported College Factual’s ranking of the nation’s top undergraduate Sociology programs and Brandeis was ranked #6 overall out of over 500 sociology departments! http://college.usatoday.com/2014/12/27/top-ranked-colleges-for-a-major-in-sociology/ Quite an accomplishment everyone can be proud of – faculty, staff, alumni, current students. The ranking looked at “quality schools that are focused on delivering an education in Sociology and that are successful at it”. The Brandeis Sociology department comes in at #6 overall, right behind Princeton and just ahead of Columbia, Chicago, Stanford, and Penn! The ranking methodology emphasizes former majors’ career salaries, the percentage of current students enrolled in the major, departments’ connections to associated majors/programs, and overall college/university quality, so it’s great to see how well we fare relative to our distinguished peers.
December 11th, 2014
December 9th, 2014
“I was the kind of kid who would get up and walk around, look at the goldfish, read the encyclopedias in the back of the room, talk to neighbors,” Peter Conrad, a professor of sociology, said in regard to his childhood. “Had ADHD been an option as a diagnosis in the ’50s, which it wasn’t, I would have been probably labeled and gotten a trial and medications.”
Professor Conrad has researched ADHD, short for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, since he wrote his dissertation on identifying hyperactive children 40 years ago. While only three to five percent of school children were diagnosed with ADHD when he started his research, today, that number has increased to 11 percent. “That’s a lot of kids,” Conrad commented.
ADHD is a psychiatric diagnosis based on behavior and attention, Conrad explained in an interview. It has three main aspects: impulsivity, inattention and hyperactivity. Over the past 50 years, it has become the most common psychiatric diagnosis of children. While the disorder initially focused on hyperactivity, it has more recently been linked to problems with attention. Because of this, starting in the ’90s, ADHD has transitioned from solely being a childhood disorder to an adolescent and adult disorder. Or rather, as Conrad described, “a lifelong disorder.”
To correct the widespread diagnosis of ADHD, stimulant medications such as Ritalin and Adderall became popular solutions. Although the medication improves behavior, it only works so long as patients continue to use it. Once the medicine stops being taken, there is not necessarily any improved performance on tasks. “Sixty-five to 75 percent of people who are diagnosed take those medications,” Conrad stated. The medicine is now prescribed to approximately 4.5 million people in the United States, a fact that deeply concerns Conrad, whose studies have focused mainly on the medicalization of society.
“My concern is about the medicalization of society. It’s turning all differences, and in this case, behavioral and cognitive differences, into some kind of pathology that needs to be treated,” Conrad said. He continued, “Anytime somebody is underperforming in school or not doing as well on standardized tests, or not doing as well in their behavior in paying attention in classrooms, well, they may have ADHD.”
While the increase in the diagnoses of ADHD over the past 20 years can be connected to a wide range of things, the drug companies have played an important role in the process. Because they have such a large investment in the drugs, they continually push to increase the market in which their drugs can be used. Yet, the drug companies are not the only ones to blame.
In the 1990s, ADHD began to be seen as a learning disability. This created a situation in which “the diagnosis can buy you something,” said Conrad. “If you have the diagnosis it can get you untimed tests, it can get you special situations where you take tests, or it can get you certain kinds of individual learning plans.” The usage of new medication to treat ADHD also encouraged people to get the diagnosis, Conrad explained.
In Conrad’s most recent article, “The impending globalization of ADHD: Notes on the expansion and growth of a medicalized disorder,” published on Oct. 8 of this year, he discuses how the diagnosis has spread and become prevalent in other countries. “Until the 1990s,” Conrad wrote, “the U.S. consumed about 90 percent of all the Ritalin (methylphenidate) produced, the signature psychoactive treatment for ADHD. As other countries adopted the treatment, this dropped to 75 percent in 2010.”
Despite this spread in the prescription of ADHD medications, countries such as France have been slow to medicalize the disorder. In France, Conrad stated, they are more likely to do some sort of psychotherapy or family interventions first. Medication is a last resort.
“There are a lot of people who believe this is a real disorder. But, when you talk about 11 percent of some school age population—that’s a whole lot of people—you begin to wonder if it’s a disorder or just a variant.” As Conrad continues to research ADHD and the medicalization of disease, he wonders if in 30 or 40 years from now, we are going to look back on giving stimulant medications to kids with this so-called disorder, ADHD, and ask, “Why were we drugging those kids?”