Behind the pledges and parties

a5eadf887dd24349e08d1f19c6797936

“The Company He Keeps”  is one of the first attempts to chronicle the history of one of the most complex cliques in American life: the predominantly white, Protestant male fraternity.

In slightly more than 400 pages, University of Northern Colorado professor Nicholas L. Syrett traces the evolution of these clubs and their role in preserving wealth and connections, as well as the way these groups have influenced our definition of masculinity in America.

“There have been a couple of very good books on [fraternities] in the last 15 years, but they haven’t been historical. I was a little surprised when I decided to do this that someone had not written a history of these organizations from a professional and historical standpoint,” explains Syrett.

But it is the later pages of “Company” that are most compelling for contemporary readers, as Syrett diagnoses a disturbing trend that arose somewhere around 1970 in these Greek clubs. As white male preeminence was challenged by the emergence of various social movements, Syrett found that the culture of fraternities moved toward degrading women in the pursuit of maintaining their own perception of masculinity.

“Reading newspaper accounts that describe a group of men doing pretty atrocious things to women, I think we have become accustomed to the idea that it just kind of happens,” says Syrett. “My basic question is: Why would men want to do something like that? What is the history of organizations that seem to lead to an expectance of behavior like this? Where does it come from, and why?”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Gunther from 'Friends' talks Central Perk

We spoke with Gunther (James Michael Tyler) at the preview for new pop-up Central Perk, based on the cafe in "Friends."

Local

Central Perk opens in SoHo

Central Perk, of "Friends" fame, is giving out free coffee in SoHo through Oct. 18.

National

Beer sponsor Anheuser-Busch reproaches NFL over domestic abuse

Anheuser-Busch chastised the NFL for its handling of domestic violence cases, making it the first major advertiser to put pressure on the league.

Local

Sen. Krueger dishes on prospect of legal marijuana…

New Yorkers may see the legalization of recreational marijuana use as early as 2015 if State Senator Liz Krueger (D) gets her way. The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act will…

Music

FREEMAN makes Freeman a free man from Ween

For nearly 30 years, Aaron Freeman was known endearingly to his listeners as Gene Ween. But with "FREEMAN," he makes it clear that he's gone somewhere else.

Television

'Outlander' recap: Season 1, Episode 6: 'The Garrison…

Whipping, punching, kicking and a marriage contract. "Outlander" is not for the faint of heart this week with "The Garrison Commander."

The Word

The Word: Hey girl, it's a girl for…

It's a girl for Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes, who reportedly welcomed a daughter last Friday, according to Us Weekly. The super-private couple managed to…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, Sept. 16: 'New Girl,'…

Check out the season premiere of "New Girl," as Jess competes with Jessica Biel for a guy's attentions.

MLB

5 top contenders for NL Rookie of the…

The outing rekindled award talk for deGrom, who appears to hold the top spot for NL Rookie of the Year honors. Metro breaks down a few other contenders.

College

College football Top 25 poll (AP rankings)

College football Top 25 poll (AP rankings)

NFL

Tom Coughlin says Giants 'beat themselves' against Cardinals

Head coach Tom Coughlin, who had a day to cool off and reflect, still sounded like he had a gnawing feeling in his gut.

NFL

Marty Mornhinweg accepts blame for Jets timeout fiasco

Jets fans looking for a scapegoat for Sunday’s timeout fiasco found a willing party on Monday: Marty Mornhinweg.

Style

Rachel Zoe: New York Fashion Week Spring 15

Rachel Zoe goes 'Glam bohemia' for Spring.

Food

Where to find SweeTango apples

Introduced in 2009, SweeTango — a hybrid of Honeycrisp and Zestar — is a sweet apple with plenty of crunch.

Style

London Fashion Week recap

London Fashion week gets in on the action with politics, heritage and summertime living.

Food

Padma Lakshmi's recipe for green mango curry

Padma Lakshmi shares her recipe for green mango curry in UNICEF's new book, "UNICHEF."