This week’s “Professor Chat” is with Cory Blad, associate professor of sociology and director of urban studies. Blad’s hometown is Keene, N.H. and this semester is teaching sociology courses “Migration, Globalization, and Culture,” “Research Methods” and “Urban Environments.” Read on to find out a little more about your professor.
Q: Why are you a professor in the subject you are?
A: Honestly, I didn’t want to go back into roofing and couldn’t take spending my working life in a cube (it would have ended badly for all involved). I was initially a historian, but found out that my research interests were more sociological…I took a methods class and got hooked. I love the process of trying to understand the insanity of human interaction – I’m certainly never bored! Sociology has so much potential to enable understanding in a holistic and multifaceted way. I think it was the openness to interdisciplinary and complex solutions that really drew me to the field. As I said before, I’m not a big fan of boxes…in any form.
Q: What is your favorite part about MC?
A: The ease of being interdisciplinary—there is almost an expectation that you will interact and learn from people outside of your respective disciplinary bubble. I love that. I’ve been at many other places where that doesn’t exist. I am regularly confronted by students and faculty with ideas, perspectives, approaches, and work that challenge my worldview and encourage me to think more broadly. I suppose I can’t get away from the fact that I dig learning new things.
I also think the trees are “purty” in the fall.
Q: What is your biggest student pet peeve (if you have one)?
A: Complacency. There is an insularity and comfort here that discourages taking chances and encourages placid obedience. Science and inquiry exist to challenge existing knowledge (and authority) – if you don’t have the learned skills and intrinsic desire to mount a responsibly informed challenge then what is the point?
In a related but more immediate sense, students sitting in the dark and waiting for the professor to turn the light on. Aspire to better the world, not let preconceived notions of behavior and social place keep you in the dark.
Q: Where can you be found on the weekends?
A: Working. In the woods. Playing guitar. Working. Trying to be a decent dad.
Q: What is your favorite thing to read (book, newspaper, magazine, etc.)?
A: That’s a fairly impossible question…I read constantly. I usually have several news sources open on whatever electronic device I have handy–it is fun to parse the garbage and try to discern what is actually going on in the world. I’m not a big magazine person, but usually have several books I’m working on scattered around the house/office. Right now I’m finishing Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” in the middle of several books on nationalism and politics, at various stages in various piles of articles…and struggling through another re-read of my favorite book by my favorite author of all time: Dr. Seuss’ “Butter Battle Book.” Pure genius.