Sociology Professor Spector to Deliver Purdue Calumet Annual Faculty Lecture on March 24, 2015

By: Purdue University Northwest Last Updated: March 18, 2015

Alan-SpectorProfessor of Sociology Alan Spector will deliver Purdue University Calumet’s annual Faculty Lecture at 6 p.m., Tuesday (3/24). He will discuss how “everyone is more alike than different” in Alumni Hall of the university’s Student Union & Library. Admission is free.

Spector’s lecture is titled “Challenges of Diversity in a Shrinking World: From the Global to the Local.” Pointing to consistencies of various cultures and values worldwide and within Northwest Indiana, he plans to explain how the world has “shrunk.”

‘Not all that different’
In support of his view, Spector said, analogically, “You can take wheat flour, mix it with water, count it out and what you stick inside of it depends on whether you call it a pierogi, a pot sticker, a shumai, or a ravioli; so they are not all that different.”

Those food items, he explained, are like people of different ethnicities or races; they have commonality.

Stereotypical perceptions
Spector added that being too “physically separated” makes one susceptible to believing stereotypical perceptions, such as white workers feeling black workers take their jobs, or U.S workers feeling immigrants take their jobs.

“We are ONE region,” Spector said. “Just like the human body, if we let one (body) part go downhill, other parts will be affected.” Continuing, he offered that embracing stereotypes produces further separation.

His background
Spector has served on the Purdue Calumet faculty since 1977. He teaches courses about race and ethnic relations, social change, international sociology and social problems. He also was named the university’s Outstanding Faculty Scholar for the 2013-14 academic year.

He earned a baccalaureate degree in philosophy from University of Wisconsin and master’s and doctoral degrees in sociology from Northwestern University.