Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

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.

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Economist gauges impact of renewable energy

Professor Russell WilliamsRussell Williams, associate professor of economics, ventured into new territory during his spring 2011 sabbatical, serving as lead economist on a study of the economic impact of renewable energy projects on rural areas. The work, examining nine projects in seven states, comprised the U.S. component of an international study sponsored by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Based in Paris, the OECD is a 34-nation consortium that seeks solutions to shared economic and social problems. Senior writer Hannah Benoit talked with Professor Williams about his recent work. [Read more...]

“Sex and Work”

Associate Professor of History Kathryn TomasekProfessor looks at gender divisions of labor

This winter the ban on female soldiers serving on the frontlines was lifted, which, according to news reports, could free up to 237,000 Army jobs for women, who make up 15 percent of the U.S. military. We talked to Associate Professor of History Kathryn Tomasek about the decision. During the spring semester, she taught “Sex and Work,” about the role gender plays in the workforce. In the course, she examines the persistence of gender division of labor as it has differentiated women’s work from that of men; that division’s organization over time, place and occupation; and its variations by race, class and religion.  [Read more...]