Chris Uggen's Blog: an appealing evenhandedness

Sunday, March 25, 2007

an appealing evenhandedness

what are the top 5 words you'd hate to read in a review of your work? for me, the list would include terms such as sloppy, vainglorious, reprehensible, feeble, and depraved.

ok, what about words you'd love to see? hmm. that's a bit tougher. i would have believed that i'd most treasure descriptors such as thoughtful or insightful or clever -- assuming, of course, that visionary, sexy, thrilling, and spine-crushingly cool* are off the table.

well, after reading jason deparle's thoughtful** review of locked out in the current new york review of books, i've learned that two phrases are even better than spine-crushingly cool: (1) an appealing evenhandedness; and, (2) exacting and fair.

no, it ain't sexy. at the end of the day, however, a social scientist takes particular pride in conducting research to exacting standards and presenting it in a fair and evenhanded manner. here's hoping people can say the same thing when i pass the boomerang along to a new department chair.***

* spine-crushingly cool is klosterman's fine phrase. uh-oh. once i add one footnote, more are sure to follow. i can write a 30-page paper without any notes, but once i break the seal i'm up to note 39 within a few pages.

** see, isn't thoughtful nice? who wouldn't want to be called thoughtful?

***that is, unless fair is used in the "less than good" sense and "exacting" appears in verb form with reference to extortion (e.g., "though vainglorious and reprehensible, uggen might have been a fair to middling administrator if he hadn't started exacting bribes from graduate students").


At 3:46 PM, Blogger Jessica Renick said...

Prof Uggen-
Hello, my name is Jessica Renick. I am a senior Political Science and Law & Society major at the University of California – Santa Barbara and I am writing an undergraduate Senior Honors Thesis on Felon Disenfranchisement.
The specific topic of my project is the causes of cross-state variations in felon disenfranchisement severity levels. I am attempting to look at felon disenfranchisement severity levels of each state over the last approximately 150 years. I have the current severity level for each state; however I am have been having trouble finding the full history of past policies of each state.
I have read your book "Locked Out: Felon Disenfranchisement and American Democracy" and several of your articles and they have been extremely thought provoking and informative. In your book I noticed you have a table, Table A2.1: State-level Changes to Felon Disenfranchisement Laws, which shows when the changes to disenfranchisement policy occurred. I was hoping you would allow me to look over the data you used to create that table so that I can discern the severity levels of each state through the history of the policies.
I previously sent you an email but wanted to find a more direct way to contact you, I hope it is alright that I contacted you in this manner.
I really appreciate any assistance you can give me. Thank you in advance for your help and for all the amazing work you have done.
~Jessica Renick

At 3:49 PM, Blogger Jessica Renick said...

P.S. My email address is, if you want to get in contact with me.


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