Recipients of the first WISCER Award

We are excited to announce the recipients of the first WISCER Summer Fieldwork Award. Please join us in congratulating Kate Anderson, Dagoberto Cortez, Lily Liang, and Casey Stockstill.

You can read descriptions of their projects here.

2015 WISCER Summer Fieldwork Award

a well used Field Notes notebook

Today we are launching the WISCER Summer Fieldwork Award.

The award will go to three sociology graduate students hoping to do qualitative research (ethnography, interviews, CA) over the summer. The award is for field research, not writing up research, and can be used by people doing research in Madison or elsewhere. Any student in sociology who does not already have summer funding (e.g. through a PAship, teaching, or other award) is eligible to apply, including students at the very beginning and the very end of research. The understanding is that students will be conducting fieldwork full time.

The award is for $3,750 and does not cover tuition, health care, or any other benefits.

Students who accept the award have no formal requirements other than to do heaps and heaps of fieldwork, but students can choose to meet regularly, over skype or in person, with fellow awardees to create a little hub of advice and support.

To apply, please send a memo of no more than 500 words, detailing your overall project, your access, your irb approval status, what fieldwork you plan to do, and why this summer is the right time to do it. Please include your year, your advisor’s name, if you have one, and whether this will be for a master’s or a dissertation. Also include if you’ve had any fieldwork training and what training that is (not necessary to get the award). Send the memo to Also attach a current CV.

The application is due April 25th at 5pm central. Award announcements will go out early May.

Any questions, please email Alice Goffman and cc Dana Rasmussen.

Go Madison fieldworkers!

Seth Holmes to give Slesinger Lecture March 16

Save the Date

The Department of Community & Environmental Sociology has invited Dr. Seth Holmes (Martin Sisters Endowed Chair Assistant Professor, UC-Berkeley School of Public Health & Medical Anthropology) to give the 2015 Slesinger Lecture on Monday, March 16 in HSLC 1325. Dr. Holmes’s remarks will focus on his investigations into social hierarchies, health, health care, and the naturalization and normalization of difference and inequality in the context of transnational US-Mexico im/migration. The event is cosponsored by the Dept. of Anthropology, the Wisconsin Collective for Ethnographic Research, the Dept. of Family Medicine, the Global Health Institute, the Collaborative Center for Health Equity, the Human Rights Program, and the Institute for Research on Poverty.

Both the Lecture itself and the reception will be open to the public, and any and all WISCER affiliates are warmly encouraged to join us for both!

Lecture: Monday, March 16, 4pm, in Health Sciences Learning Center (HSLC) Room 1325. The talk will also be live-streamed at
Reception: HSLC Atrium, immediately outside Room 1325 and following the Lecture. There’ll be light snacks as well as an open bar featuring beer, wine, and soft drinks.
Directions: The Health Sciences Learning Center is on the right as you travel west from Observatory Drive into the main visitor entrance of the UW Hospital and Clinics complex; a public parking ramp is to your left.  Bus routes 28, 38 and 80 (free) also stop at the Highland & Observatory intersection.  The most direct entrance to the Auditorium and Atrium is from Highland Avenue between the building’s two wings.

About the Speaker

Dr. Seth M. Holmes is a cultural anthropologist and physician. He is Martin Sisters Endowed Chair Assistant Professor in the UC Berkeley School of Public Health and the Graduate Program in Medical Anthropology. He is Co-Director of the MD/PhD Track in Medical Anthropology coordinated between UCSF and UC Berkeley and Founding Director of the Berkeley Center for Social Medicine. He also sees patients at the public hospital in Oakland, California.

His book, Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies: Migrant Farmworkers in the United States, won the New Millennium Book Award from the Society for Medical Anthropology, the Society for the Anthropology of Work Book Award, the Association for Humanist Sociology Book Award and the Margaret Mead Award from the American Anthropological Association and the Society for Applied Anthropology.

Dr. Holmes is conducting research into the production of the clinical habitus, subjectivity, and gaze, in other words the processes through which biomedical trainees learn to perceive and respond to social differences and inequalities. In addition, Dr. Holmes is exploring new research into the social, symbolic, and political processes producing HIV death among specific categories of people, particularly Latino day laborers and other ethno-racial and sexual minorities and marginalized groups. This exploration attempts to address the ways in which political economic phenomena and social and symbolic categories produce structural vulnerability and what is framed in public health as individual choice and behavior.


Patricia Fernández-Kelly talk this Friday

Join us for a talk by Patricia Fernández-Kelly (Princeton University) this Friday, cohosted by SPAM and WISCER.

When: Fri. February 20th, 12:00 to 1:30pm
Where: Sewell 3470

Fernández-Kelly holds a joint position as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology and as a Research Associate in the Office of Population Research. Her field of interest is international development with an emphasis on immigration, race, ethnicity, and gender. She will present on her new book: “The Hero’s Fight: African Americans in West Baltimore and the Shadow of the State”.

About the book: “Baltimore was once a vibrant manufacturing town, but today, with factory closings and steady job loss since the 1970s, it is home to some of the most impoverished neighborhoods in America. The Hero’s Fight provides an intimate look at the effects of deindustrialization on the lives of Baltimore’s urban poor, and sheds critical light on the unintended consequences of welfare policy on our most vulnerable communities.”

First SPAM Halloween party on Oct. 31

John DeLamater extends to all an invitation to SPAM’s first Halloween party. In case you missed it, here are highlights from his email announcements:

SPAM is famous for its long history of successful parties, stretching back to at least 1970! But we have NEVER had a Halloween Party. This is a first!! Be there, so you can say you were!!!

When: Friday, October 31, 2014 – Halloween. Don’t worry, Freakfest is Saturday.
Where: 2015 Chadbourne Avenue, 4 blocks west of Camp Randall Stadium.
Time: 7:00 to 11:00 PM

Beer and wine will be supplied. Bring snacks or desserts. Costumes optional (some clothing required). Children welcome.  And there will be door prizes.

The host of the historic First SPAM Halloween Party, John DeLamater, has just announced that each SPAMMER who attends the Party will receive a one-of-a-kind door prize. The prize will be a unique item that will signal not only your attendance at this historic event, but your membership in an elite group. SPAMMERS who don’t have one will suffer stigma for weeks to come! So don’t miss the Party.

Drink, Food, and Symbolic Interaction for all.

Relevant courses for Spring 2015

We’re announcing two courses for Spring 2015 that may be of interest to the WISCER community. One is the Sociology of Erving Goffman (taught by Mustafa). The other is a course on social interaction (taught by Alice), which is the second in the two-course series that helps students prepare for the SPAM prelim.

See the Sociology Courses page for more details.

Tiffany Joseph talk this Friday

This Friday, SPAM and Race and Ethnicity are co-hosting a talk by Professor Tiffany Joseph (Stony Brook University), who studies race, ethnicity, migration, and health.

where: Sewell Social Sciences 3470
 Fri. Oct. 10, 12pm to 1:30pm
talk title: Examining Barriers to Health Care for Immigrants in Boston under “Universal” Coverage

Massachusetts (MA) became the first state to implement comprehensive health reform in 2006. Policymakers lauded the reform a success and used it to craft the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010. While the ACA only extends coverage to U.S. citizens and eligible documented immigrants due to 1996 federal reforms that limit the public benefits non-citizens can receive, Massachusetts included coverage provisions for all residents regardless of documentation status. However, preliminary studies of the MA reform indicate that undocumented immigrants are still more likely to remain uninsured.

Using data from qualitative interviews conducted with 70 individuals (30 Brazilian and Dominican immigrants, 20 health care providers, and 20 immigrant/health organization leaders) in Boston, I examine some of the barriers to health coverage and healthcare access that many immigrants face despite their inclusion in the MA reform. Interviews revealed that language, race/ethnicity, documentation status, and lack of familiarity with the U.S. healthcare system prevented immigrants from effectively accessing health care despite having coverage. I also discuss the implications of ACA implementation in the state (and beyond) for the health coverage of immigrants and other underserved populations.

Additionally, there will be a student session for grad students to meet with Tiffany, 10-11am in Sewell 8108 (the Havens Center room).


Ben Carrington talk this Friday

This Friday, SPAM and Race and Ethnicity are co-hosting a talk by Professor Ben Carrington (UT Austin), who is an ethnographer and sociologist of race, sport, and culture.

talk title“Different Strokes: Slow Ethnography, Sensual Sociology and the Meanings of Cricket”
where: Sewell Social Sciences 3470
when: 12pm-1:30pm

Additionally, there will be a student session for grad students to meet with Ben, 10-11am in Sewell 8108 (The Havens Center room).

1st Ethnography Prelim this January 2015

Today the sociology faculty voted to create an ethnography prelim.

Mustafa made the motion and a number of faculty spoke in support. Among those who pledged to serve on the committee, in addition to Alice Goffman and Mustafa Emirbayer, were Doug Maynard, Joan Fujimura, Mike Bell, Robert Vargas, Jane Collins, Gay Seidman, Josh Garoon, and Daniel Kleinman.

The first ethnography prelim will be held this January 2015. If you’re interested in taking it (or possibly interested in taking it), please let Alice ( know, so we can keep you in the loop as things progress.

A great big thanks to each of you for your dedication and enthusiasm for building the ethnography program here at Madison.

WISCER Launched!

photo 1Launched in 2014, WISCER is a community for students and faculty, devoted to investigating the social world through firsthand observation and interviews. WISCER is hosted out of University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Department of Sociology and Department of Community and Environmental Sociology. Learn more about us under Who We Are, and get to know our Faculty and Student participants. To post an upcoming class or event, submit your bio, or add your name to the listserv, email Esther HsuBorger at