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  #1  
Old 01-26-2009, 10:15 AM
oldu oldu is offline
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New book on "White" college fraternities?

I just saw a listing for a newly published book entitled "The Company He Keeps: A History of White College Fraternities," by Nicholas L. Syrett. Is this for real? If this is a legitimate history it is a very odd choice of titles. Has anyone seen or read it? I collect but I am not sure this is one I'd be proud to own.
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  #2  
Old 01-26-2009, 11:15 AM
Senusret I Senusret I is offline
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Here is the first book to recount the full history of white college fraternities in America. Nicholas Syrett traces these organizations from their days in antebellum all-male schools to the sprawling modern-day college campus, paying special attention to how fraternity brothers have defined masculinity over the course of their 180-year history.



Based on extensive research at twelve different schools and analyzing at least twenty national fraternities, The Company He Keeps explores the formation of what Syrett calls "fraternal masculinity." He describes how men have gained prestige and respect, especially from other men, by being masculine. Many factors--such as class, religiosity, race, sexuality, athleticism, intelligence, and recklessness--have contributed to particular versions of fraternal masculinity at different times. Whatever the criteria, Syrett demonstrates the ways that fraternity brothers' masculinity has had consequences for other students on campus as well, not just through exclusion from the organizations themselves but often from college life more broadly. He argues that fraternity men have often proved their masculinity by using their classmates as foils.
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  #3  
Old 01-26-2009, 11:32 AM
DrPhil DrPhil is offline
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Very interesting. I'd read it.

Masculinity varies across time, social class, race, and other designations of social and cultural capital.

So the "fraternal masculinity" to be discussed in this book is a fraternal version of white-predominantly middle to upper class-masculinity.
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  #4  
Old 01-26-2009, 03:23 PM
TSteven TSteven is offline
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Seems kind of similar to Inside Greek U.: Fraternities, Sororities, and the Pursuit of Pleasure, Power, and Prestige By Alan D. DeSantis.

Edited to add: I just noticed from the Q&A with Mr. Syrett that he is not a member of a fraternity. Whereas, Mr. DeSantis is a member of a fraternity and if I am not mistaken, currently serves as a faculty advisor to various chapters (NPHC, NIC and NPC) at the University of Kentucky. Note: UK requires that in addition to a chapter advisor, each GLO must have a facility advisor too. And they do not have to be a member of the organization to serve as one.

Last edited by TSteven; 01-26-2009 at 03:40 PM. Reason: see above for reason
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  #5  
Old 01-27-2009, 01:14 AM
DrPhil DrPhil is offline
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I agree with basically everything he said in the Q and A. These are findings of qualitative research and (perhaps also) reviewing documents. Solid methodology from what I've read so far.

What he said will make a lot of people uncomfortable but that's neither here nor there.

Last edited by DrPhil; 01-27-2009 at 01:52 AM. Reason: Clarifying. Qualitative research will establish patterns and generalities across the sample. Not larger generalizations.
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  #6  
Old 01-27-2009, 01:45 AM
magichat magichat is offline
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Are you a straight white male in an NIC fraternity?
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  #7  
Old 01-27-2009, 01:47 AM
DrPhil DrPhil is offline
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Yes.

A better investment would be explaining why you interpret his findings to simply be stereotypes and why you say he's an idot.

Last edited by DrPhil; 01-27-2009 at 01:58 AM.
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  #8  
Old 01-27-2009, 02:00 AM
magichat magichat is offline
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First two answers of his he make it seem as if gang rape and sexual assault are common place activities for fraternities.

Third answer, he insinuates that most fraternities have nude hazing rituals.

Fourh answer, he speaks very condescendingly about fraternities and the people who join. ("they were intellectual in their origins", 'I understand why some join fraternities, but its not for me' more of a paraphrase than a quote)

Fifth answer, according to this guy, young men acting like young men are supposed to act all of a sudden becomes bad when they are in fraternities.

Sixth answer, white fraternities still to this day only allow white protestants into membership? And sex was the downfall of greeklife?

Basically it seems to me as if this guy is making it Gays v. NIC
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  #9  
Old 01-27-2009, 02:12 AM
DrPhil DrPhil is offline
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Thanks. A lot of his generalities are not intended to apply across the board. I know that seeing stuff about our orgs can rub us the wrong way but that doesn't automatically negate all of the findings of this qualitative study.

Quote:
Originally Posted by magichat View Post
First two answers of his he make it seem as if gang rape and sexual assault is common place activity for fraternities.


Third answer, he insinuates that most fraternities have nude hazing rituals.
He was talking about incidents he had heard of and how it sparked his curiosity. There have been similar probings of uncommon and common fraternity practices on GC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by magichat View Post
Fifth answer, according to this guy, young men acting like young men are supposed to act all of a sudden becomes bad when they are in fraternities.
Gender (and race) dynamics operate in curious ways when you add the group dynamic. That's what he's getting at and that can also be found in the gender (and race) literature. For instance, many men who would get drunk and sexually assault a woman at the encouragement of their fraternity brothers wouldn't necessarily do so on their own accord.

For the men who this doesn't apply to, it doesn't apply. That doesn't change the application of the concepts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by magichat View Post
Sixth answer, white fraternities still to this day only allow white protestants into membership? And sex was the downfall of greeklife?

Basically it seems to me as if this guy is making it Gays v. NIC
The argument can be made that the NIC is largely focused on a particular form of masculinity just as it is still predominantly white male. I think the GC threads about "gays in GLOs" are basic examples of that.
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  #10  
Old 01-27-2009, 11:02 AM
MysticCat MysticCat is offline
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Quote:
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Are you a straight white male in an NIC fraternity?
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Originally Posted by DrPhil View Post
Yes.
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  #11  
Old 01-27-2009, 11:44 AM
DrPhil DrPhil is offline
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  #12  
Old 03-14-2010, 11:46 AM
AGDAlum AGDAlum is offline
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I just finished reading Syrett's book. The OP asked "is it legitimate?" It certainly is. Syrett teaches at the University of Northern Colorado and the book is published by the University of North Carolina Press.

The book is descriptive ("this is how it was, and how it is") rather than prescriptive ("this is how I think it ought to be"). I found the account of American college life in the early 19th century (the milieu from which the fraternity movement began) particularly interesting.
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Old 03-14-2010, 02:00 PM
Senusret I Senusret I is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AGDAlum View Post
I just finished reading Syrett's book. The OP asked "is it legitimate?" It certainly is. Syrett teaches at the University of Northern Colorado and the book is published by the University of North Carolina Press.

The book is descriptive ("this is how it was, and how it is") rather than prescriptive ("this is how I think it ought to be"). I found the account of American college life in the early 19th century (the milieu from which the fraternity movement began) particularly interesting.
Thank you so much for your review. The book is on my wish list, but since I never got around to reading "Bound By a Mighty Vow" I didn't think I should get Syrett's book. Now I will be an addict and buy it. lol
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  #14  
Old 03-14-2010, 05:32 PM
AGDAlum AGDAlum is offline
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Thank you so much for your review. The book is on my wish list, but since I never got around to reading "Bound By a Mighty Vow" I didn't think I should get Syrett's book. Now I will be an addict and buy it. lol
Why buy when you can borrow?
Find it in a library near you at www.worldcat.org
Your tax dollars have paid for interlibrary loan service, so take advantage of it!
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  #15  
Old 03-14-2010, 05:35 PM
LikeASista LikeASista is offline
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I'd certainly read it ... :-)
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