2021 Media Review

This year I kept track of both books and movies. Let’s start with books. These were my three favourite books read in 2021: Circe Before Marvel’s horrible multiverse there was the Greek mythoverse. Over generations, the Greeks built a shared collection of stories with reappearing characters and a somewhat orderly timeline. Circe, as a character, appears in the Odyssey, but doesn’t play a particularly large role. In this book, Madeline Miller, who has an MA in Classics and has taught Greek for fifteen years, continues in that tradition of extending their mythical universe.

Ethnic Diversity and Social Cohesion

This summer one of my tasks as a research assistant has been to conduct a literature search on recent articles within political science and sociology that pertain to ethnic diversity and social cohesion or trust. While the literature still appears rather divided, the majority of recent publications appear to take a negative relationship between ethnic diversity and social cohesion as a given starting point, and then move to challenge that apparent consensus (e.

Social Interaction, the Media, and Democracy

In a previous essay, I speculated on the effect of media on citizens. In this essay, I extend that discussion to consider how social interaction is intertwined with media effects. Furthermore, since reasonable communication and deliberation are norms we associate with republican or deliberative democracy, I also examine how social interaction among citizens affects our views on democracy. Social Interaction as a Political Phenomenon In order to navigate the political world and make decisions that benefit them, human beings need to be able to learn about politics.

Hogwarts House Demographics

Note: This post also available on MuggleNet. Gryffindors are brave, Ravenclaws smart, Slytherins evil, and Hufflepuffs miscellaneous. This much we know from the Harry Potter books. What we don’t know is the makeup of each House in terms of its demographics. Which House is for the rich? Which house has the greatest diversity? Is there a gender imbalance per house? Are Slytherins really as ethnocentric as they appear in the books?

Lessons from an Experiment in South Africa

This week I read Harris and Findlay’s 2014 article in the Journal of Conflict Resolution: “Is Ethnicity Identifiable? Lessons from an Experiment in South Africa.” They ran an experiment among Xhosas in the Eastern Cape, having them guess the ethnicity of actors in a series of photos and videos in different experimental conditions. They found that respondents performed abysmally in correctly identifying ethnicity (see Table 1 from p.15 of their work, reproduced below), but also that those who identified more strongly with their ethnic group performed slightly (although not much) better.