Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

The how and why

Professor explores judicial decision-making

Wheaton Professor Stephen MathiasJudges constantly make important decisions: that is, after all, their job. But ever wonder how they arrive at that decision? Or why? For more than a decade, Associate Professor of Philosophy Stephen Mathis has been teaching a jurisprudence course called “How Judges Reason,” helping students decipher the many influences on judicial opinions. Every year, new cases filtering through the American legal system keep the curriculum fresh, and writer Abe Stein caught up with Professor Mathis to see how recent Supreme Court opinions on high-profile cases have impacted his course.

How do you incorporate contemporary legal cases into the curriculum? [Read more...]

Listen up: Professor exploring Jesus in pop music

Delvyn CaseAssistant Professor of Music Delvyn Case, a composer of classical music, is a scholar who is most interested in popular music—in particular the intersections of popular music and religion in America. This fall, he is teaching the First-Year Seminar “Rock of Ages: Images of Jesus in Popular Music,” which explores provocative questions about those intersections. With such an intriguing title, we, of course, just had to know more.
[Read more...]

Sifting through the science, politics of sugar

Pictured, left to right, FYS students Eloise Peabbles, Jerard Fredette, Anna Blumenthal, Professor Laura Muller, Peter Green, Sierra Luciano and Krista Van Bruggen

Pictured, left to right, FYS students Eloise Peabbles, Jerard Fredette, Anna Blumenthal, Professor Laura Muller, Peter Green, Sierra Luciano and Krista Van Bruggen

In March, the World Health Organization announced guidelines on sugar consumption, recommending that sugar intake not exceed 5 percent of total daily calories. That’s a challenge, considering that Americans are consuming more added sugar than ever, points out Associate Professor of Chemistry Laura Muller. In 1980, the per capita consumption was about 120 pounds per year. The U.S. Census Bureau now reports that Americans eat 132 pounds per year. Muller and her students took a look at the science and politics of sugar during her fall semester First-Year Seminar (FYS), “How Sweet It Is?” We recently talked to her about their work together. [Read more...]

Professor focuses on visual sociology at seminar

Wheaton College Professor John GradyProfessor of Sociology John Grady, a past president of the International Visual Sociology Association, last summer was an invited scholar at the Visual Methods Seminar at the University of Antwerp in Belgium. The seminar provided an opportunity for attendees—mostly college professors and postdoctoral students—to explore the latest developments in visual research and to identify how these can be of use in their own current research. We talked to him about the seminar and his work.

What is the main focus of your research?

While I consider myself a general sociologist—interested in what is happening to society (both domestically and globally) and what should be done about it—I have for the most part focused on visual sociology or the study of images as social information. I am interested in what the study of visual evidence tells us about how society is organized and changes.

[Read more...]