May 23, 2018
Joseph C. 'Piko' Ewoodzie,
Jr., examines how marginalized populations in urban locations make
sense of inequalities in their everyday lives. He embeds himself
into communities and takes a long-term immersive approach to
research. Piko is the Malcolm O. Partin Assistant Professor of
Africana Studies and Sociology at Davidson College. He
teaches courses on qualitative methods, sociological theory,
culture, race and urban sociology. His publications include
articles on the everyday eating patterns of people inhabiting
different social classes and the book Break Beats in the
Bronx: Revisiting Hip Hop's Early Years. He earned a B.A.
in Sociology from Ithaca College and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Sociology
from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
This episode is perfect for anyone interested in urban
sociology, hip hop artists, qualitative research, ‘getting
out,’ and Wakanda Forever.
IN THIS EPISODE
- Piko explains his core research
interest and how he sees his work.
- He shares what inspired his
interest in ethnographic research.
- He talks about his course 'Hip Hop and Urban
Sociology' and what Kendrick Lamar and 3D Na-Tee have
to do with it.
- Piko answers what sociologists can learn from hip
hop artists and what hip hop artists can learn from
- He discusses qualitative
research and 'the beautiful process of collecting
data and making sense of it.'
- He addresses whether his qualitative data is generalizable
and 'being as reflexive as possible' in
documenting his observations.
- Piko considers whether qualitative research
is more literature than science.
- He discusses his course 'Contemporary Race
Theory' and whether we would be better off if the idea of
race faded away.
- He answers whether his research makes normative
judgments about how people should behave.
- Piko talks about his feelings leaving the
communities he is studying and how he manages the
guilt of 'getting out.'
- He reflects on the movie 'Black
Panther' and why 'he isn't down with Wakanda
- He describes growing up in Ghana and
how emigrating to the United States informed his approach to
studying social life.
- Piko shares the song that inspired his first
book, what changed his life at Ithaca College, and what
his doctoral dissertation explored.
- He answers what question is on his mind and what
he values most.
Mark Peres adds a personal word that begins this way, "When I
asked Piko about how he feels being able to leave behind the
marginalized people whose stories he tells, I opened up something
raw and very emotional in him..."
To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning.