Three Questions with William Scarborough

Three Questions is an initiative to share the value that our faculty, students, and external patrons derive from using the Portal to Texas History at UNT Libraries.

1. How important is the Portal in your teaching, learning or research?

The Portal is a valuable tool for students to become producers of knowledge in addition to consumers of knowledge in the classroom. For my course, students use the portal to uncover events in local communities’ pasts that may have enduring consequences on local social dynamics, but have been long forgotten or rendered invisible. For example, students in my course identity patterns of contemporary residential racial segregation in their communities, and then use the portal to investigate events that may have led to such patterns. They have uncovered, for example, how some municipalities in the early 1900s voted to relocate Black communities to parts of town that remain segregated today. Others used violence for residential displacement. Uncovering these historical sources of contemporary patterns of segregation, students are better positioned to make suggestions on how to address local inequalities in their community.

2. How has the Portal changed the way you approach your research, teaching or learning?

The Portal is a valuable tool for students to move beyond the acquisition of course concepts, but to apply them and expand upon them.

3. What do you want others to know about your research, teaching or learning?

Ultimately, my courses aim to teach students how to address social problems by using sociological theory to inform them where to look, and sociological methods as the tools to uncover the factors that contribute to and sustain these problems.

I am currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology. My research examines gender and racial inequalities across the U.S. My work has been cited in the U.S. House of Representatives and recently used in reports from the Executive Office of the President. I am the author of Gendered Places: The Landscape of Local Gender Norms Across the United States as well as multiple articles in journal such as the American Sociological Review and Gender & Society.