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(Re)introducing the GSSA

Welcome, everyone–especially new graduate students!

Despite the tumbleweeds that have been rolling through this blog for the past few months, the GSSA is a recognized and active student organization committed to encouraging a social and academic community among students in GMU’s sociology graduate programs.

We hope you’ll take a minute to (re)acquaint yourself with our website, which has a lot of useful information. If you’d like to learn more about the organization, check out our About page, our Members page, and a list of past events we’ve sponsored. And most importantly, like us on Facebook so you can hear about great things going on around campus or in the DC area without the hassle of checking our blog regularly or the risk of missing out on something!

There are also some great resources that we feature on this site, such as:

  • A regularly updated calendar that includes GMU academic deadlines, departmental events, other events around GMU of interest to sociologists (e.g., Women & Gender Studies, Cultural Studies, etc.), sociological events of note in the DC metro area, submission deadlines and conferences (local and major regional/national) to which you might submit your work, and GSSA events. We’ll be posting regularly about upcoming events (especially those sponsored by GSSA) on our blog and on Facebook.
  • comprehensive list of over two hundred sociology and social science journals to which you might submit your work, complete with h-indexes measuring reach/prestige.
  • The most recent issue of our newsletterIn the Field, published in the spring. (A new issue will be published this fall.)
  • A list of several dozen sociology blogs located in the right sidebar.

As you can see from our calendar, we already have several social events planned for the upcoming semester, in addition to the Second Annual Public Sociology Graduate Conference in October, which the GSSA is co-hosting with the Public Sociology Association. We’ll be meeting soon to talk about ways to round out this slew of interesting fall events with a few more social or professional development events.

We consider all grad students to be members of the GSSA, so we want to organize events that are helpful and engaging for you. Please e-mail us if you have any ideas for how we can be a better organization, or if you want to help us to plan and organize these events. (We can always use it–we’re all busy!) We hope you’ll find a little time to give back to the department and the student community, as well as to benefit from the events and resources that we offer!

Job Opening: DCFPI Research Associate

Katie Kerstetter has passed along a job opening for an analyst/associate at the DC Fiscal Policy Institute. She used to hold this position herself and it comes with her enthusiastic recommendation. For more info, see below and/or e-mail her.

The DC Fiscal Policy Institute, an affiliate of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, is seeking a Policy Analyst or Research Associate to work on tax and budget policies in the District of Columbia, with a focus on issues that affect low- and moderate-income residents.

DCFPI is the leading source of independent information on budget and tax issues in the District of Columbia.  Each year, we provide a comprehensive review of the DC budget in the form of a widely-used online Budget Toolkit.   DCFPI also prepares timely jargon-free reports on a wide range of policy issues – affordable housing, economic development, health care, and tax policy, among others.


  • Conduct research and prepare policy reports and briefs
  • Provide technical assistance in response to requests from policymakers or advocates
  • Analyze pending legislative proposals
  • Represent DCFPI in advocacy coalitions
  • Make public presentations of DCFPI research

Applicants should have an interest in budget and tax policy issues and have the following skills/experience:

  • Graduate degree in public policy or related field
  • Knowledge of economics and statistics
  • Facility with spreadsheets and statistical database programs such as STATA
  • Excellent writing skills
  • Ability to work on multiple tasks in a time-sensitive manner
  • Work in a public policy setting, with some advocacy experience, is strongly preferred

Details on how to apply are available here: http://www.dcfpi.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/8-24-11-Policy-Analyst-Job-Aannouncement.pdf


Welcome back!

Hope everyone had a great summer!

The GSSA is kicking off the new school year with a social gathering on Thursday at 7:30 pm (or earlier if the 4:30 classes end early) at the Auld Shebeen in old town Fairfax. (If you’re new to the area, click here for directions.) All new and returning students are welcome!

If you’d like to be involved in planning/organizing a slew of interesting fall events (in addition to our public sociology graduate conference in October) and you’re not on our e-mail list, e-mail us. We’ll be meeting to plan the upcoming semester very soon and want to hear your ideas!

If you’re new to the GSSA, here’s a quick tour of a few of the resources and highlights available on our website:

  • A regularly updated calendar that includes GMU academic deadlines, departmental events, other events around GMU of interest to sociologists (e.g., Women & Gender Studies, Cultural Studies, etc.), sociological events of note in the DC metro area, submission deadlines and conferences (local and major regional/national) to which you might submit your work, and GSSA events.
  • A comprehensive list of over two hundred sociology and social science journals to which you might submit your work, complete with h-indexes measuring reach/prestige.
  • The most recent issue of our newsletter, In the Field, published last fall. (A new issue will be published soon.)

For more about us and what we do, check out our About page, our Members page, and a list of past events we’ve sponsored.

More on Donations for Tornado Victims

Women and Gender Studies is now accepting donations on campus. See below for more detailed info on dropoff locations and items requested.

The estimated 211 tornadoes that struck the southeastern United States left a path of complete destruction.  In Alabama alone there is more than 1,000 miles of total devastation. The death toll from the tornadoes has reached 340, making the twisters the second most deadly in US history.  It continues to rise.  At this point, the victims of this tragedy need the very basics.  The Women’s Center, JC 240K, will serve as a drop-off spot for these items.  Donations being accepted at this location include diapers, toiletries, slightly used and new clothing for all ages, shoes, towels, blankets, boxes, and tape (to package it all up). We will expand this list as we know more.  We will be picking up the first set of donations Monday at 4 to put on a trailer going down Tuesday. For those who live in Arlington, you can also drop off donations at Marisa Allison’s house. Her address is 3604 18th Street South.  Thanks to all our Women and Gender Studies family for their help!

Donations for Tornado Victims

Last week’s tornado outbreak in the south wreaked unprecedented havoc on the lives and homes of countless people and has affected the friends and families of some of our fellow students.

If you have the means to pitch in and help, starting on Tuesday at 9 am you can drop off donations for tornado victims at Fairlington United Methodist Church (3900 King Street in Alexandria). They’re asking specifically for basic toiletries, baby items (diapers, baby wipes, formula, etc.), clothing of all sizes (slightly used and new), blankets, and tarps. Anything you can spare is helpful and much appreciated.

Event: Tuesday 2/8

[Edit: The teaching videoconference will be held in the conference room at the Center for Social Science Research, 4260 Chain Bridge Rd., 2nd floor]

Welcome back, everyone!

We’ve made some improvements to our site over the break, including a comprehensive list of links to over 200 journals, complete with h-indexes (see the right sidebar or the “Development” tab) and a new “Activities” tab with descriptions, handouts, and multimedia from past events (which, when it is completed, will include video from our public sociology panel in November).

And, like last semester, we’ll be sponsoring several events for your edification and enjoyment. Our first one will be in two weeks and feature an amazing teacher talking about teaching. Especially recommended for anyone who wants to learn more about integrating technology into the classroom and/or managing large classes of up to 200 students.

Robert Keel, Teaching Professor in Anthropology, Sociology, and Languages at UM-St. Louis, has been teaching sociology for 34 years, and has been integrating Web and Internet-based instruction into his classes since 1993. He received the College of Arts and Sciences’ Outstanding Lecturer of the Year Award for 1997-98, the Chancellor’s Award for Academic Excellence – Academic Non-Regular for 1998-99, and the College of Arts and Sciences’ Non-Tenure Track Faculty of the Year Award in 2007-08. He teaches undergraduate classes in Introduction to Sociology, Drugs, Alcohol, and Society, Sociological Theory, Deviant Behavior, and Society and Technology.

Upcoming Events (Sept.)

There are several upcoming events that will definitely be of interest to all nascent sociologists, including a GSSA-hosted development workshop:

  • This Wednesday in Robinson B 313 at noon, the SOAN department is sponsoring a lecture by Linda Seligmann entitled “Challenges from the Margins: The Struggles and Calculations of Andean Market Women in Conditions of Neoliberalism, Touristic Ventures, and Populism.” Dr. Seligmann is an anthropology professor in the department who’s done a lot of interesting work on agrarian issues, gender, and globalization.
  • On Friday, 9/24, in the Center for the Arts at 7:00 pm, Greg Mortenson, a two-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee who has built hundreds of schools for girls in Afghanistan and Pakistan, will deliver a lecture as part of his visit to campus to receive the Mason Award.
  • On Thursday, 9/30, in Robinson B 313 at 3:00 pm, the GSSA is sponsoring a development workshop on student publishing. The workshop will be led by Dr. Davis of the sociology department.
  • Finally, also on 9/30, in the JC Cinema at 7:30 pm, the Metc. (Middle East Etcetera) Film Club is sponsoring a showing of the award-winning documentary Iraq in Fragments, which explores the lives of ordinary Iraqis to illuminate how war-torn Iraq is pulled in different directions by religion and ethnicity.

Hope to see you all at one or more of these events.

Event: Thursday 8/26

Hope everyone had a wonderful summer with equal parts adventure and lazy afternoons. Join us at Auld Shebeen to meet new students and reconnect  before the semester starts.

Who: New and current grad students

When: Thursday, August 26, 8:30 pm (immediately following the department’s welcome reception)

Where: Auld Shebeen

E-mail or comment below with questions. See you there!


Welcome to the website of the George Mason University Graduate Student Sociological Association.

The GSSA is committed to encouraging a social and academic community among students in GMU’s sociology graduate programs. Interests and activities include:

  • Organizing events ranging from informal social gatherings to brown bag lunches and seminars.
  • Encouraging professional development through engagement with GMU faculty, D.C.-area scholars, and professional organizations.
  • Facilitating the formation of student groups with diverse goals, from preparing for comps to playing intramural soccer.
  • Engaging the promise of public sociology through discussion, our academic work, and projects in our communities.
  • Reaching beyond artificial disciplinary barriers to spread sociology outside the classroom and incorporate other humanities and social sciences into our social inquiries.

In addition, this website will include:

  • A regularly updated blog featuring GSSA updates, links to interesting sociological content, and original musings from members
  • A regularly updated list of events of interest to GMU sociology grad students
  • Individual pages for all members

Please subscribe to our blog and follow us on Facebook, and don’t hesitate to e-mail us or leave a comment below if you have any questions or want to help us build a student community outside of the classroom.