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Seattle Rental Ad Texts & Processes of Segregation (SocSEM!, 11/9/2018)

Posted: 10/30/2018 (Local Events)

Speaker: Ian Kennedy

We use Structural Topic Models (STM) to investigate whether and how rental listings from the Seattle metropolitan are Craigslist page differ in association with neighborhood racial proportion. We find that White neighborhoods are associated with words like ‘restaurant’ and ‘charming,’ while Black neighborhoods are connected to security terms like ‘gated’ or transportation out of the neighborhood with terms like ‘light rail.’ Qualitative analysis shows that listings from white neighborhoods emphasize the connection to neighborhood history and cultural roots, while listings from non-white, especially Black, neighborhoods are sundered from their surroundings.


For many decades, the UW Sociology Department sponsored biweekly area seminars that offered graduate students and faculty an opportunity to present and discuss research (often in progress).  In addition to improving the quality of our work, these seminars provided an important albeit informal setting for strengthening our bonds as a community, and as consequence, all across the country UW alums fondly recall Friday afternoons in the Dev Sem, the MACRO group, and IA.  In recent years these seminars withered, victims perhaps of a restructured graduate program, new centers on campus, busy schedules, and increasingly challenging commutes.

And yet, many of us lament the loss of regular opportunities to learn about each other’s work, to think about sociological problems outside our narrow interests, and to just spend time with others in the department.  Enter SocSem, a new biweekly seminar for the entire department.  We’ll gather mid-afternoon on Fridays for research presentations and lively discussion.  Following long-standing tradition, light refreshments will be provided.  Please mark your calendars, and plan to join us.

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Date: 11/09/2018

Time: 2:30-4:00 PM

Location: Savery 409