Jon Eastwood Jon Eastwood serves as department chair for sociology and anthropology.
Q. How long have you worked at W&L?
I have worked at Washington and Lee since 2006!
Q. What courses are you teaching this term?
I am teaching an advanced seminar on contemporary sociological and anthropological theory and a data analytical course about social networks.
Q. What is your favorite course to teach, and why?
That’s a tough call. I really like the theory course, the networks course and a seminar I do on neighborhoods, plus a newish course called “Data Science Tools for Social Policy.” Oh, and the course on baseball and data that Professor Kosky and I co-teach. So, basically, all of them! Why? Because they ask unbelievably interesting questions and provide tools (reasoning with words, statistical models and more) for thinking about them!
Q. What is the most satisfying aspect of teaching?
Seeing students develop intellectually to the point where they can do amazing things.
Q. What do you like most about working at W&L?
Fantastic students, some great colleagues,and the trails of Rockbridge County.
Q. Where is your favorite location on the W&L campus?
The front steps of Newcomb Hall.
Q. What advice do you have for students (or parents)?
Take challenging, intellectually engaging classes about questions you care about rather than just trying to acquire credentials. Identify the intellectual puzzles that stick with you and go deep with them over several years. Find ways to work on them that allow you to learn how to do things (construct an argument, analyze data, build a model) rather than only learning what other people say about them. Find people who like to talk about ideas and spend time with them, doing so outside of class and often. Tune out the relentless hype and don’t just chase the shiny stuff. Above all, take thinking seriously and make it central to your college experience.
Q. What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not working?
First place: Hanging out with my family. Second place: Running with my epic running group.
Q. Where did you grow up?
Suburban Hartford, Connecticut
Q. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was in elementary school, I wanted to drive a garbage truck. When I was in middle school it was to be a baseball player. In high school, my aspiration was to be a political science professor.
Q. Who inspired you to teach? What about them inspired you?
There have been too many to name them all. My college and graduate school mentor, Liah Greenfeld, stands out the most. What inspired me was, above all, the depth of the questions about the social world that she showed me and her intrepid attempts to answer them with us, her students.
Q. What is the most adventurous thing that you have ever done?
I’m not super adventurous, but I did just up and move to Venezuela one time.
Q. What music are you listening to these days?
My son is really into jazz music, so we listen to a lot of that together. Recently we have really enjoyed Joel Ross and Good Vibes.
Q. What is the website you visit most often and why?
Probably the New York Times, sadly. I suppose I check it to make sure the world is still turning.
Q. If they made a movie about your life, who would play you?
Probably Adam Sandler, or at least that’s what people tell me.
Q. What is your desert island food?
Eggplant parmesan, for sure.
Q. Tell us something most people don’t know about you.
I am still a student, taking classes every summer.
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