“We Can’t Fight What We Can’t See: Grading Top Sociology Graduate Programs’ Training on Race”

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 13:15
Oral Presentation
Vilna TREITLER, University of California Santa Barbara, USA
As can be gleaned from a cursory perusal of undergraduate textbooks used currently in introductory sociology courses, it is quite normal to engage students in these classes in discussions about the three major stratifying divisions in US society: race, class, and gender. The professors who write these texts as well as those who ask students to purchase them may believe in the primacy of teaching young North American college students about these divisions. However, perhaps the more appropriate measure of the importance of this knowledge to the discipline is the preparedness we instill in our doctoral students as they train to take on jobs to teach, as well as create and disseminate new research on these key stratifying divisions. Students in US sociology doctoral programs surely cannot graduate without knowing Marx’s theories and most often taking qualifying examinations that ask about that very topic. However, attention to theories of race and gender are optional, if courses in the material are offered at all. One might argue that the status quo training we offer doctoral students actively ensures an uneven knowledge base in our professoriate in areas we signal to undergraduates are crucial to understanding how society works, and perpetuates these holes in our collective knowledge base. This paper presents research from a study of US doctoral training programs in sociology, on their engagement with the basic sociological divisions of race, class, and gender, and discusses the implications for the discipline and our society as a whole of this unevenness in doctoral student training.