Post-summer reading list: The Family, gender, race, economics, gayborhoods, insecurity and overwhelmed

I was extremely fortunate to have a real vacation this summer — two whole weeks. I feel like half a European. In that time I read, almost read, or thought about reading, a number of things I might have blogged about if I’d been working instead of at the beach:


The Family: Diversity, Inequality, and Social Change

Yes, my own book came out. I never worked on one thing so much. I really hope you like it. Look for it at the Norton booth at the American Sociological Association meetings in San Francisco this week. Info on ordering exam copies here.

About that gender stall

The Council on Contemporary Families, on whose board I serve, published an online symposium titled, After a Puzzling Pause, the Gender Revolution Continues. It features work by the team of David Cotter, Joan Hermsen, and Reeve Vanneman on a rebound in gender attitudes; new research on sex (by Sharon Sassler) and divorce (by Christine Schwartz) in egalitarian marriages; and how overwork contributes to the gender gap (by Youngjoo Cha). For additional commentary, see this piece by Virginia Rutter at Girl w/ Pen!, and an important caution from Joanna Pepin (who finds no rebound in attitudes in the trends for high school students). If I had written a whole post about this I would have found a way to link to my essay on the gender stall in the NYTimes, too.

Gender and Piketty

How Gender Changes Piketty’s ‘Capital in the Twenty-First Century’.” A discussion hosted by The Nation blog between Kathleen Geier, Kate Bahn, Joelle Gamble, Zillah Eisenstein and Heather Boushey

Scientists strike back at Nicholas Wade

Geneticists decry book on race and evolution.” More than 100 scientists signed a letter to the New York Times disavowing Wade’s use of population genetics. This story quotes Sarah Tishkoff, whose work Wade specifically misrepresented (as I described in my review in Boston Review). The article in Science also includes Wade’s weak response, in which he repeats the claim, which I do not find credible, that their objections are “driven by politics, not science.” He repeats this no matter how scientific the objections to his work.

Here comes There Goes the Gayborhood?

Amin Ghaziani’s new book has gotten a lot of well-deserved attention in the last few weeks. Here’s one good article in the New Yorker.

Cut Adrift: Families in Insecure Times

Marianne Cooper’s book is out now. From the publisher: “Through poignant case studies, she reveals what families are concerned about, how they manage their anxiety, whose job it is to worry, and how social class shapes all of these dynamics, including what is even worth worrying about in the first place.” Cooper led the research for Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In, and the book is from her sociology dissertation.

Overwhelmed: Work, Love, And Play When No One Has The Time

Brigid Schulte, a Washington Post journalist, has written a really good book about gender, work, and family. (I was happy to listen to it during the drive to our vacation, because it helped me let go and ignore work more.) I’ll write a longer review, but let me just say here it is very well written and researched on the issues of time use, the household division of labor, and work-family policy and politics, featuring many of your favorite social scientists in this area. Well worth considering for an undergrad family course. (Also, helps explain why there are so many Europeans on American beaches.)

3 thoughts on “Post-summer reading list: The Family, gender, race, economics, gayborhoods, insecurity and overwhelmed

  1. Well, Wade’s is right, they are wrong. In short, they seem for unknown reasons ignorant of the obvious implications of their own work. It is definetely posssible, that somehow psychological traits escaped forces of natural selection, but it is not terribly likely. 20 generation of directed breeding radically changed psychology of animal breed; why then selection could not change slightly the means of some traits in humans (and those very tiny differences in means are then reinforced by culture, as Wade proposed)? Because you don’t like the implications? That’s very weak argument.


  2. mmm, just to make things clear – was my comment with links to unz removed? Was that because I mentioned Sailer? Was that because Unz noticed, that they seemingly didn’t even read the book they condemned (the iq thing – Unz posted exact quotes from Wade’s book about how IQ differences are environmental)? Or simply some kind of general error on my side, or on side of blog software?

    I want to know because if certain links or names are banned, I won’t waste my time writing the comments with them.


  3. In regard to the “rebound in gender attitudes” — I mean News from The CCF — I don’t agree with two of the questions they use.

    First: can a working mother have as warm a relationship with her kids as a homemaker? Well — I’m a father, not a mother, and I’ve been both a working and homemaking parent; personally, I have a warmer relationship with my kids when I’m not working. I may not be a perfect model; but I fail to see why women should be better parents when working than I am (or perhaps they are worse when homemaking?).

    Second: I really don’t agree that women and men are equally suited to politics. I would favor a constitutional amendment eliminating men from the Congress and Presidency for a period of time, say fifty years. I honestly believe that, having seen what government of women only was like, very few people would want to go back. (Not that I think such an amendment is in the cards!)


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