open letter: asa jessie bernard award committee

The following is an open letter published by the undersigned members of the ASA Jessie Bernard Award Committee, dated April 29, 2019.

Dear Esteemed Members of the American Sociological Association:

Last year, controversy over the recipient of the 2018 Jessie Bernard Award raised important questions regarding the ethics of ASA members and issues of sexual harassment, work theft, and power imbalance among junior and senior members, as well as the proper procedures for revoking past awards. These are important issues that we understand the ASA leadership is working to address and which may take time to sort through. This letter is not intended to address those issues. Instead, the purpose of this letter is to promote transparency around events surrounding the 2018 award, to share the recommendations of the 2019 and 2020 Jessie Bernard Award Committees, and to reaffirm our commitment to the Jessie Bernard Award as a feminist intervention within sociology.

In August 2018, the members of the Jessie Bernard Award committee unanimously voted to rescind the award to Michael Kimmel and forwarded a letter explaining its decision to the ASA Council the following month. The ASA announced that it had selected Kimmel for the Jessie Bernard award at its annual awards ceremony; the Council thereafter sent an email to its membership stating that they had voted unanimously to defer delivery of the award. In March and April 2019, the ASA Council responded to our letter, reiterating its decision to defer delivery and in the meantime, focus its efforts on preventing and responding to sexual misconduct, including a procedure to revoke awards.

While the ASA sets up this process, the undersigned members of the JB award committee want to make public the recommendation to rescind the 2018 award to Kimmel and our intent to formally forward this recommendation once the proper procedures are in place. Although we understand such changes take time and careful consideration, we urge the ASA to address these issues before the continued lack of clarity and action threatens irreparable damage to the esteem of the award and the larger association.

The members of the committee would also like to announce its intent to move forward and unconditionally stand by its commitment to recognize the exceptional achievements and contributions of deserving sociologists–including this year’s co-recipients. In so doing, we hope to honor Jessie Bernard’s legacy, reinvigorate the spirit of the award and continue to recognize those whose research is dedicated to disrupting the complex manifestations of inequality within academia and beyond.

Sincerely,
The Undersigned Members of the Jessie Bernard Award Committee

Angie Y. Chung, Chair
Emily Fairchild
Lyndi N. Hewitt
Katie Linette Acosta
Sara L. Crawley
Ivy Ken
Carla A. Pfeffer

I received this open letter today through the ASA Sexualities Section listserv. I assume it went out to other section listservs as well. I post it here with permission of one of the authors. -Tina

 

racism in my white working-class roots

I really enjoyed Andy Perrin’s recent review of six books that hope to explain the white working class (WWC). His key insight is that the white working class is a product of social and political forces, rather than something fixed and authentic, to be “discovered” by liberal city dwellers who make anthropological visits to their culture:

[The WWC was] weaponized by economic desperation and media manipulation, and deployed by an opportunistic Trump campaign happy to trumpet their authenticity for its own electoral ends. The WWC was made, not found; deployed, not discovered.

I am a class migrant from the white working class, and I have been rolling my eyes so hard as book after book “discovering” the true sentiments of WWC voters and their worries that whites have been left behind. Andy’s thoughtful analysis of these works takes them seriously and exposes the flaws of this post-hoc search for cultural authenticity, in a review that is important and smart. Read the whole thing, as we like to say. I don’t have any arguments with Andy’s analysis here, but I do have one thing that I’d like to add to it, based on my own roots in the WWC.

Continue reading “racism in my white working-class roots”

guest post: who hires whom?

analyzing from where sociology’s top 10-ranked programs hire their faculty

The following is a guest post by Michael O. Emerson, Provost, North Park University and Senior Fellow, Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research.

I remember when I decided to apply to graduate schools in sociology. I knew almost nothing about where to apply, so I met with my sociology advisor. He told me how sociology programs were ranked in a hierarchy, and that if I ever wanted to work in a top ten department I would need to go to a top ten program; if I wanted to work in a top twenty program, I would need to go to a top twenty program, and so on.

I took his advice to heart and earned my MA and Ph.D. from North Carolina, Chapel Hill, ranked then and now in the top ten. I ended up teaching for fifteen years at Rice University where we started a Ph.D. sociology program about six years ago (too early to be ranked), before becoming provost at my current university.

Although I have always found my sociology advisor’s advice to be qualitatively true, I often wondered how true it is quantitatively. Specifically, for professors working in the top ten ranked sociology programs, where did they earn their Ph.Ds.? Using the 2017 ASA Guide to Graduate Departments of Sociology, with just a bit of work, the answer is fairly straightforward. Continue reading “guest post: who hires whom?”

ask a scatterbrain: will a women’s studies certificate help me on the job market?

From a graduate student:

My institution offers a graduate certificate in Women’s Studies through the Women’s Studies department. As someone who aspires to be seen as a Sociologist who does gender/sexuality, how helpful do you think this would be on the job market?

I hope to get some answers that break it down a bit:

  • Will it be a leg up for gender-focused sociology jobs?
  • Will it open opportunities for joint appointments in Women Studies and Sociology?
  • Is a 3-course certificate worth the opportunity cost of working on a side project or pushing dissertation research forward?

more excellent grad school advice

Life doesn’t end if you drop out of graduate school. It doesn’t. No matter what anyone says, we don’t shoot, shun, or shade you for dropping out. If anyone does shoot, shun or shade you when you consider withdrawing from graduate school, they were always going to shoot, shun or shade you. Nothing lost.

The brilliant Tressie McMillan Cottom has written up some excellent advice for people considering grad school in sociology and related programs. It’s too late for most of us, but as we advise others whether and how to choose grad school, it is tremendous food for thought.

use the asa app with this one weird trick!

This year, the ASA meetings will have an app with more features than you can shake a stick at. If you are a careful planner and be sure to log in when browsing the online program, you can add sessions to your schedule, and they will automatically download to a calendar feature on your app.

There are also maps of each floor of the hotels, so it will be much easier to find your way around. I haven’t tried it yet, but it even boasts a feature to give you directions to a particular room. If you know the author of a paper at the session you are heading to next, you can search for their name, find the session, and click a button to take you straight to the map of the hotel rooms to find your way.

All this and more, but you can’t get to any of it unless you login to the Members Only section of the ASA website. Continue reading “use the asa app with this one weird trick!”

asa renewal – now with social media

Look! When you renew your ASA membership, there are now fields for you to enter your Twitter, handle, blog address, or other social media info.

asa member

This is something that we requested on the Task Force on Social Media (now the Task Force on Engaging Sociology) that was begun by President Annette Lareau last year to improve the ASA’s engagement with social media. If you input your Twitter handle here, for example, the ASA can include the info on our nametags at the conference, create a list of sociologists’ blogs, etc.

It is all optional, of course.

the official asa blog is launched

The ASA Council received an email today from President Paula England, who announces the launch of a new blog for ASA members: Speak for Sociology. England writes:

I invite ASA members to post comments on this new blog. It is a place where members can comment on ASA issues, and on public issues of particular interest to sociologists.

Members may want to use this space to talk about public sociology. We can discuss how to engage sociologists in public debates and get their voices heard. We can discuss the pros and cons of such engagement, including when ASA should or shouldn’t take a stand on public issues. And we can debate or brainstorm about ASA’s internal policies.

We are requiring those who post to provide their name, hoping that this encourages accuracy and civility, and discourages personal attacks.

Please initiate or join in discussions here!

Many of us, myself included, have been eager for ASA leadership to participate in our online conversations, and I think this is a great day for sociology.

asa presidents, secretary send a letter to UIUC chancellor

There is an update to some discussion in the comments about why the ASA has not sent a letter of concern regarding the UIUC’s failure to hire Steven Salaita. As I mentioned there, the ASA Council handed the matter over to the ASA presidents, who decided at that time, there was insufficient consent to warrant a letter.

Since then, as additional information has come to light, the three ASA presidents (President Paula England, Past-President Annette Lareau, and President-Elect Ruth Milkman) and ASA Secretary Mary Romero reconvened and decided to send a letter at this time. Please note that this letter is not from the ASA organization per se, but from these four prominent sociologists as they occupy these key elected and appointed positions in our professional organization. The text of the letter is here:

UPDATE: ASA Vice President Elect Barbara Risman and Council Member-At-Large Stephanie Bohon have written a letter of support for the UIUC’s decision. Both letters can be found as pdfs on the ASA website in the “What’s New” section.

Continue reading “asa presidents, secretary send a letter to UIUC chancellor”

asa council decides on gender categories

Remember how the ASA was trying to decide how to expand its gender categories? Since then, the ASA Committee on the Status of LGBT Persons in Sociology has been holding conversations, doing research on how other organizations do it, and thinking through what schema will best capture the sociological categories that are meaningful to people. They came up with the following proposal, which ASA Council voted on and passed at their meeting this week:

Continue reading “asa council decides on gender categories”

your chance to sound off about asa tech

Some of us have had our share of fun ribbing the ASA for being slightly behind the times in its approach to technology and social media. We have whined about wifi. We have had a laugh or two about The HUB. We have said salty things about the HUB’s stuffed bear mascot. And, of course, we have mercilessly mocked the “app.”

With all this, the staff at the ASA office might be forgiven for ignoring us, claiming the higher ground of dignified intellectual discourse. Luckily for us, however, they have decided to give us a listen. Introducing the brand new feedback forms for the ASA App and the ASA website.:

I should also add that the person collecting this feedback is a brand new staff member at ASA, not responsible in the least for the existing infrastructure, so please give a lot of details in your feedback, and be nice about it.

blog party: elevenses

How did it get to be nearly August? I don’t know where the time flies. But I do know that you are flying to San Francisco in a few weeks, and you will need a drink when you get there. Your servants at scatterplot have selected a superb spot just for you. It’s the special sort of place that has fancy appletinis, $3 bottles of beer, and everything in between. I am very pleased to announce:

The 11th Annual Blog Get-Together

Sunday, Aug 17 at 5:30pm

Trocadero Club

701 Geary Street

All blog writers, commenters, and readers are welcome, as are folks-who-used-to-write-but-don’t-so-much-anymore-you-know-how-it-goes, lurkers, tweeters, and assorted people who simply would like to come. Please recall that well-behaved sociology faculty will generously purchase a beverage or two for a thirsty graduate student. We may be awkward, but we don’t need to be that awkward.

the lgbt movement did not, it turns out, tone it down

“Groups Debate Slower Strategy on Gay Rights” was the title of this 2004 NY Times article that I just discovered in my file drawer.* In which the author describes a bedraggled and frustrated LGBT movement just weeks after George W. Bush had been elected to his second term.

In the past week alone, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay and lesbian advocacy group, has accepted the resignation of its executive director, appointed its first non-gay board co-chairman and adopted a new, more moderate strategy, with less emphasis on legalizing same-sex marriages and more on strengthening personal relationships…

One official said the group would consider supporting President Bush’s efforts to privatize Social Security partly in exchange for the right of gay partners to receive benefits under the program.

While the article quotes two academics, George Chauncey and Jonathan D. Katz , who disagreed with a sharp, “They are, of course, completely wrong,” the most interesting tiff is among politicians: Continue reading “the lgbt movement did not, it turns out, tone it down”