Mason Has a Vision of Freedom

Back in February, I fretted that the draft vision document for George Mason University did not list freedom as one our core institutional characteristics, as one of our values, or as one of our commitments.

Happily, this has been corrected. The latest draft statement of Values proclaims:

We Honor Freedom of Thought and Expression. We protect the freedom of all members of our community to seek truth and express their views.

That’s better.

Journal of Urban History Reviews The Great Society Subway

Carlton Basmajian includes The Great Society Subway in a review essay for the Journal of Urban History, finding it “an insightful exploration of the intellectual ferment at the heart of urban planning in the 1960s.” I am honored to be mentioned in the company of Mark Rose, Bruce Seely, Paul Barrett, and John Stilgoe, all of whom were inspirations as I wrote the book.

Basmajian, Carlton. “Transportation and Power.” Journal of Urban History 38, no. 6 (November 2012): 1114–1120. doi:10.1177/0096144212449147.

I Review Stark, Behind Closed Doors

Cross-posted from Institutional Review Blog:

The American Journal of Sociology has published my review of Laura Stark’s Behind Closed Doors. I describe it as an “illuminating account of how ethics review really works,” but note that “Stark’s reluctance to condemn [IRB] behavior sets her apart from other observers of IRBs in action” and that it is “a stretch for Stark to claim that today’s IRBs use ‘a decision-making model that stabilized in the 1950s and 1960s.'”

[Zachary M. Schrag, Review of Behind Closed Doors: IRBs and the Making of Ethical Research by Laura Stark. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012. Pp. Viii+229. $85.00 (cloth); $27.50 (paper).” American Journal of Sociology 118, no. 2 (September 2012): 494–496. www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/664671]

For my comments on Stark’s dissertation, on which the book is based, see “How IRBs Decide–Badly: A Comment on Laura Stark’s ‘Morality in Science.’

Breech of Protocol

XKCD takes on U.S. history. Generally accurate, I think, but it refers to James Monroe as wearing “pants instead of breeches.” Linda Thrift of the National Portrait Gallery notes that Monroe “wore small-clothes until his death. Monroe’s wife enforced dress etiquette at presidential receptions, refusing admission to anyone not in breeches and silk hose.”

Can Professors Use Private E-Mail for Most Communications?

In an interview marking his ascendancy to the AHA presidency, William Cronon tells the Chronicle of Higher Education, “I now use my university e-mail address only for communicating with students and for doing administrative work for the university.”

Sarah Palin was criticized for allegedly conducing public business on a private, Yahoo! account. Could Cronon face similar challenges? And how often are Bill Cronon and Sarah Palin mentioned in the same paragraph?