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.