Spring 2021 Sociology Colloquium

All colloquia are free and open to the public.


The Impact of COVID-19 on Psychological Distress in Hawai‘i: Exploring Disparities Using Three Phases of Data from the Household Pulse Survey

  • Tuesday, February 2, 3:00-4:30 pm via Zoom
  • With Professor/Chair Wei Zhang and PhD student Margie Walkover, Department of Sociology
  • Register online

Utilizing eleven waves of data from the Household Pulse Survey collected between April and November 2020, this study examines disparities of psychological distress among adult residents of Hawaii during the COVID-19 pandemic. We found that 36.4% of the respondents reported symptoms of depression/anxiety. Younger age (18-44), female and lower household income were associated with higher levels of psychological distress. Asians experienced lower prevalence levels compared to other racial/ethnic groups. Two practical implications are offered.

Wei Zhang is trained as a medical sociologist, and her primary research interest is to examine health disparities among Asian Americans and older adults. Margie Walkover is trained in public health research, policy and planning, and her research interests address the nexus between climate change, community resilience, and population health.


Globalization and the Great Unsettling: The Production of the Unhappy Consciousness

  • Tuesday, March 2, 3:00-4:30 pm
  • With Professor Manfred Steger, Department of Sociology
  • Online registration (TBA)

This presentation explores the complex and subtle dynamics involved in the production and representation of the global-local nexus in current everyday life. Its socio-historical context is the destabilization of the early twenty-first century globalization system starting with the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, continuing with the populist explosion in the mid-2010s, and climaxing in the 2020 Global Coronavirus Pandemic. The main argument of the presentation comes in three parts. First, rather than mischaracterizing the current dynamics as the “end of globalization,” they should be seen as the latest and most intense phase of the “Great Unsettling”—shorthand for the intensifying dynamics of instability, disintegration, insecurity, dislocation, relativism, inequality, and ecological degradation. Although the magnitude of the current challenge is threatening familiar lifeworlds, it cannot be reduced to “deglobalization” in general. Second, the presentation links the discussion of the Great Unsettling to various globalization processes, especially the changing speed and intensity of global spatial mobilities that impact the local. To facilitate a better understanding of the complexities involved in these dynamics, we introduce a new typology of globalization based on four integrative and differentiating formations. Third, the presentation explores the dynamics of the Great Unsettling not merely on the level of material-objective globalizing processes, but also on the subjective plane of human consciousness. In particular, it examines the production of an “unhappy consciousness” torn between the new enjoyment of global digital mobility and the old visceral attachments to local fixity.


Nationalism and the Transformation of Land into Sovereign Territory

  • Thursday, April 8, Time: TBA
  • With Professor Nandita Sharma, Department of Sociology and co-Director, International Cultural Studies Program (ICSP)
  • Co-Sponsored talk organized by the Center for Biographical Research, UH Manoa
  • Online registration (TBA)

Claims to having a special relationship to land or place currently ground indigenous (and all other) national sovereignty movements. In this talk, I discuss how ideas of nationhood and demands for sovereignty transform people's means of subsistence - land, water, and air - into the territory of a nationally sovereign state and, in the process, territorialize, and depoliticize, the link between a limited, often racialized, group of people and a certain place. In the process, those regarded as members of the “nation” come to see themselves as the “people of a place” and see those who are not their co-nationals as “people out of place." I discuss this in the context of the contemporary, often violent, political separation of people categorized as either Natives or as Migrants across our shared planet.