I’m a sociology professor but not only a sociology professor. I started blogging with a pseudonym Olderwoman because I didn’t want my name associated with the blog in a Google search due to some of the work I was doing at that time.  Although I never wrote anything in a public forum like a blog that I’d be ashamed to have associated with my name (and you shouldn’t either), it is illegal for me to use my position as a public employee to advance my religious or political views, and the pseudonym helped to preserve the distinction between my public and private identities.

I find it amusing that some people, especially young men, seem to think that the Olderwoman name somehow means I don’t think well of myself. Trust me, you have the wrong idea of how to think about older women.

All of the posts written before August 2008 were originally posted at Scatterplot (scatter.wordpress.com) . I made a copy of them here for the small number of people who are interested in what I wrote and don’t want to wade through everyone else’s posts.  Many subsequent posts are cross-posted to Scatterplot as well, although I occasionally write purely religious or personal posts that don’t seem to belong on that site. Comments, if any, are more likely to be found on the Scatterplot site.

I also have an academic blog called Race, Politics, Justice that addresses issues of  racial justice, criminal justice, and social movements. http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/soc/racepoliticsjustice/

Pam Oliver

16 thoughts on “About”

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  2. Yes, I am interested in knowing your name and where you teach. I am a United Church of Canada minister (retired) and will be volunteering at the Canadian Federal Government’s Truth and Reconciliation hearing here in Montreal two weeks from now. I will be making your blog about “Many and Great…” available to our “Right Relations Working Group,” and would like to give the source.

    Thank you very much.
    Richard Miller

  3. Not sure if you are still using this, but I wanted to provide some info on a post of yours on scatterplot. can’t seem to comment there, or communicate. If you are interested, please email me. Thanks, Bob

  4. Dear mysterious professor, I was wondering if you might write a post on expected turnaround times for sociology journals. This is something that is quite important for young academics who need to get publications out in time for job market searches, but there is very little information available online. I was wondering if you could share your experiences or point readers in the direction for such information. Thanks!

  5. Dear Professor,

    I was thinking about a career in sociology. Any advice? Your opinion on it? What you can do with it and why I would pursue it? I’m interested in the subject but I want to know more about it. Please respond at your convenience.

    1. Eric, This is too long a topic for a blog comment. The short answer is that if you have a research focus, sociology teaches you to analyze data, which is a useful skill for many occupations. If you are thinking about graduate work you’d look at sociological publications and decide whether you want to do that kind of research yourself. I suggest you contact the sociologists near where you live to learn more.

  6. Dear Professor,

    It is good to be able to figure out where you are. I have never been a Soc major. I visit orgtheory quite often but never realized that I could click on “olderwoman” to visit your blog here. If I am correct about your institution, then I must tell you that I used to be in love with Science Hall and probably the lake. I even joined the community rowing club one summer. That lake was amazing in the summer and fall. The building that you are in is old and weird, but the view of the conference room on the top floor (the northern part of the building) is captivating. I got a really bad vibe whenever I walked in the poorly lit and narrow hall way of that building though. So here is the main reason that I am writing this. I just want to share with you an “open” secret. I was in a phd program in the business school and then I got kicked out in a heartbeat. I was partially in love with your little town but then I had to leave…and as soon as I moved south things were a million times better so I would never care enough to come back. I liked the new chancellor, however, so I would probably come back to be at her retirement ceremony and grab a beer in the renovated union. It feels good to let it out…to somebody whose book I added to my amazon wishlist. The people who knew I hardly see now, and the people I see now do not know so I can’t really tell anybody.

    Thank you for always posting helpful comments (and you even generously shared about the transformation). I clicked on “olderwoman” because I liked them.

    Think spring!


  7. Dear Professor,

    I stumbled across you via Scatterplot and was delighted to find you. As a (hopeful) future PhD sociology student, I wanted to ask you about your post “Symbolic Dominance, Culture and Religion”. If it helps to contextualize myself, you could call me an American, highly-educated, Black Catholic man with lower-income, mid-Western roots and a background rooted in a Christianity that has ranged from Black Baptist to white, conservative Evangelical. In essence, I’m a bit of an anomaly – but of course, aren’t we all in our own ways?

    My basic question is how does one authentically be who one is, and accept the challenge that comes with that, while being also a public figure, such as a professor at a public institution? Can you be one publicly, and if so, to what extent? What advice do you have from having to navigate these waters yourself?

    Feel free to reply directly – I hope you do: iamwarriorpoet@gmail.com

    PS – I am fairly certain I figured out who you are (love playing the spy) but who knows if I’m right? Not that it truly matters.

  8. Dear Reg, I’ll also reply privately when I have time to write more. My public replies are a few quick thoughts. I’m White, older and tenured, so I’m not very vulnerable, but I do lean in to who I am. We really are who we are, and denying it does not usually go very well. I irritate a lot of people, but many respect that I know who I am and know what I am and what I am not. Some people are a lot more vulnerable than I am if they are out about themselves, but you always feel better about yourself if you are not trying to be what you are not. As regards identifying me, I’m planning to “go public” with links to a new site with my name on it as soon as I get around to it, not really trying to keep the secret any more. But I just did not want this blog to come up in a Google search of my name. –OW

    1. Thanks Professor – that’s encouraging and I will be thinking hard about it. I navigate those same waters alot but it helps to understand how others do so, particularly as an educator, which I hope to be one day soon. I look forward to hearing more from you via email, and particularly your new site. – Reg

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