roundtable 2

I thought I’d toss this out for discussion. A young sociologist I know submitted a newly-written unpublished paper to ASA. After a long delay it was eventually accepted to a roundtable. In the meantime, the sociologist sent the paper for review to a non-US on-line specialty journal, expecting the usual review/publication delays. To the person’s amazement, the paper was not only accepted immediately for publication but is scheduled to appear (on-line) before the ASA meeting. The paper was submitted to ASA in good faith as an unpublished paper that had not been presented elsewhere. Do you think the scholar should withdraw the paper from the roundtable? My answer is no. But I thought it could be interesting to hear other people’s thoughts.

the new asa website

My browser (Firefox) has a feature that is usually very useful. When I search for a journal article on the web (i.e., not through a library subscription search engine), it bumps me over to my library’s login page, so that I can view the article through their subscription. I don’t know how this works, but it is really convenient, so I never questioned it until now. The problem is that when I look up the redesigned ASA website, my browser bumps me to my library login page, as if this is a subscription-only service. Same story when ASA twitters a link to its page; I can’t get to it without logging in.

You might be thinking, “Tina, why don’t you contact the ASA to see what is up with that?” Continue reading “the new asa website”

ask a scatterbrain: advanced social theory

OK, it’s time to order books for the fall (zoinks!). I’m really excited about my graduate seminar in the fall, Advanced Social Theory, the first time we’ve been able to offer an advanced (meaning beyond one single semester!) social theory graduate course in the 9 years I’ve been here. I offered three general ideas for the course:

  1. Mid-20th-century American social theory and kin (e.g., Parsons, Merton, Lazarsfeld, etc.)
  2. Late Marxist and Postmodern theory (Frankfurt School, Foucault, Lyotard, Baudrillard, etc.)
  3. Theory in method, contemporary sociological work on theorizing the practice and result of sociological research

To my delight, the overall response has been most positive for option 3, so this time around it will be a “where the rubber hits the road” kind of course, considering current theoretical work that is in one way or another closely tied with empirical research.

So, dear scatterbrains – I ask you, what books shall I order? Of course article-based material will constitute a substantial portion of the syllabus, and that can be added later, but I need to order a few books. I think I’m looking for 3-4 books. Some of the possibilities I’m considering are below, but I’d love to hear your other thoughts too.

In no particular order, here are some of my ideas:

  • Ragin, Redesigning Social Inquiry
  • John Levi Martin, Social Structures
  • Ann Mische, Partisan Publics
  • Kurzman, The Unthinkable Revolution in Iran
  • Norton, 95 Theses on Culture, Politics, and Method



It’s strange how many manuscripts one sees in which the worst written paragraph of the whole thing is the abstract. Granted, when I finish papers, I’m usually so sick of the thing that writing the abstract requires finding and tapping a whole new reservoir of will, but: if a paper is published, it will be the single most read paragraph of the whole thing, so it’s well-worth putting the time into getting it right.

(Also: I wonder if part of the problem is that writing pedagogy in general includes little/nothing about how to write a good abstract.)