Regional Spotlight: San Francisco

2014 Annual Meeting Logo

ASA will host the 109th Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California, August 16-19, 2014.  The Hilton San Francisco Union Square and Parc55 Wyndham Hotel will serve as the headquarter properties for the meeting. We encourage attendees to arrive earlier or stay later and enjoy San Francisco! 

The City and County of San Francisco is the fourth most populous city in California and the 13th most populous city in the United States.  Many things have changed since ASA last met there in 2009, but the hustle and bustle of this world-renowned destination continue to attract visitors from all parts of the world.  The site of this year's Annual Meeting affords attendees wonderful opportunities to see famous sights, explore culture and arts from high to low, and debate the varied political and social issues bubbling in this premier west-coast city.

This year’s program features an exciting roster of local arrangements representing the work of members from the San Francisco and greater Bay-area. The local arrangements committee, chaired by Sheila Katz (Sonoma State University), has developed a timely, stimulating, and vibrant roster of regional spotlight sessions, tours, and articles for Footnotes.

Regional Spotlight Offerings

View the current roster of Regional Spotlight Sessions and Tours for details on the fascinating topics covered this year. View the online preliminary program schedule (which includes Regional Spotlight Sessions).

Regional Spotlight Sessions

  • Latin American Immigration to Northern California: The Dilemmas of Incorporation
  • Academic Hustle: PhD's and Part-Time Work in the San Francisco Bay Area
  • Evolving Oakland: Protesting Poverty, Fighting Inequality, Engaging Community
  • Social Justice Youth-Style: Bay Area Youth Activists' Perspectives on Race, Education, and Coalition Politics
  • The Challenges of Public Sociology in Contested Areas: The Case of Abortion
  • Four Decades of Disability and Independent Living Activism in the San Francisco Bay Area
  • Teaching about Race in a "Diverse" Place
  • The Phoenix Rises Again But for Whom? Understanding Super-Gentrification in San Francisco


Regional Spotlight Tours

Tour 01. Sustainability in the Sonoma Valley Vineyard

Date: Friday, August 15; 8:00am-5:00pm (Fee: $80.00), Please note: this tour takes place on the pre-convention day.

Description:Just north of San Francisco, Sonoma Valley wineries are leading national efforts in wine sustainability practices with the goal of being the nation’s first 100% sustainable wine region in the next five years. Tour the wineries of Sonoma Valley with an expert in winery sustainability business practices and a local sociologist with expertise in inequality and also in alcohol. The group will tour three wineries, each with a different sustainability focus. We will discuss sustainability practices in winemaking and labor conditions as we tour the vineyards, wine caves, and production rooms at the wineries. Each stop will include wine tastings. Lunch will be free time in beautiful downtown Sonoma around a historic square within walking distance of numerous restaurants and shops. Wear comfortable walking/standing shoes appropriate wine caves and vineyards. Sonoma is typically 10-15 degrees warmer than San Francisco, but the wine caves are a cool 50 degrees, so wear layers.


Tour 02. Evolving Oakland Walking Tour

Date: Saturday, August 16; 9:00am-12:00pm  (Fee: $20.00)

Description: In the last five years, multiple events have shaped an evolving Oakland. Crime rates are down, gentrification is up and contested, and artists are flourishing. Starting in Frank Ogawa Plaza (also known as Oscar Grant Plaza), near the 12th Street BART and in front of Oakland’s City Hall, we will discuss recent protests in the plaza, including those in response to Oscar Grant’s murder and Occupy Oakland’s forced removal. Walking up Telegraph Ave. through the Latham Square reclaimed park into the Uptown Arts District to the sculpture park and Champions of Humanity monuments, we will discuss city-funded initiatives and corporate art. Walking further up Telegraph Ave. into the KONO (Koreatown Northgate) neighborhood, we will discuss gentrification, crime, and the Art Murmur and First Friday coalitions. Further, we will focus on how artists and community benefit districts work together to hold a monthly street fair attended by over 15,000 people. The outdoor walking tour is approximately 2 miles (flat, no hills) with multiple standing stops. We will finish the tour amongst the art galleries, ending as the Saturday Stroll art gallery walk begins. At the end of the tour, participants have the option to stay for the self-guided art gallery walk, have lunch in the neighborhood, or have a wine or beer tasting. Tour organizers live in the neighborhood and have been active in the events we discuss.


Tour 03. San Francisco Super-Gentrification

Date: Sunday, August 17; 9:00am-12:00pm  (Fee: $20.00)

Description: San Francisco has a long history of gentrification waves sweeping the city and county, but the current moment has been particularly intense, with evictions, luxury high-rise developments, and erasures of the working and middle class inundating San Francisco and the Bay Area. In this walking tour of neighborhoods such as the Mission, Hayes Valley, and Mid-Market Street, tour organizers will highlight the various ways in which local protests, housing developments, urban renewal, and historic preservation efforts are dramatically shifting San Francisco’s urban landscape. Tour organizers have lived, worked, and extensively studied San Francisco’s development histories, and have also personally experienced the various changes associated with the present gentrification and eviction trends.


Tour 04. Environmental History of the San Francisco Bay by Sailboat

Date: Monday, August 18; 2:00pm-5:00pm (Fee: $40.00)

Description: Sail the beautiful San Francisco bay on a private charter of a double-hulled catamaran sailboat ( with an environmental history of the bay talk on-board as we cast off the sail. Then enjoy the sail, mingle with fellow sociologists, and talk more with our environmental historian (an academic and a sailor). The sail will include 2 hours on the water sailing past Fisherman’s Wharf, Alcatraz Island, Angel Island and under the Golden Gate Bridge. We’ll also sail near Sausalito and the Marin shoreline. Snacks and beverages (juice, soft drinks, beer, wine) are on board available for purchase. Need to wear soft-soled comfortable walking shoes that are appropriate on a boat. The bay is typically 15-20 degrees cooler and windier than the city, so wear several layers with a jacket (extra jackets will be available on the boat), hats and sunscreen also suggested.


Activities Beyond the Annual Meeting

After a day of sessions and meetings, it is time to explore San Francisco. The famous Golden Gate Bridge and the historic Cable Cars are just two of the many sites the city has to offer. Here are just a few attractions not to be missed while in San Francisco:

  • Alcatraz, the notorious former prison, is located on an island of the same name in the middle of San Francisco Bay. Some of the United States’ most notorious criminals were incarcerated there. Though several tried, no inmate ever made a successful escape from “The Rock.” The prison was closed in the 1960’s and stories about Alcatraz are legendary.  A visit to Alcatraz today is fascinating. Recorded cell-house tours are available, allowing visitors to learn about the prison as they explore the buildings and grounds. To reach the island, take an Alcatraz Cruises ferry from Pier 43. Advance reservations are recommended, 415-981-ROCK (7625).
  • Fisherman’s Wharf is also home to Pier 39, a festive waterfront marketplace that is one of the city’s most popular attractions. A community of California sea lions has taken up residence on the floats to the west of the pier and visitors line the nearby railing to watch their antics. From there it’s a short walk to the Wax Museum, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! and the famous crab vendors selling walk-away crab and shrimp cocktails.
  • North Beach, the city’s Italian quarter, isn’t a beach at all.  It’s a neighborhood of romantic European-style sidewalk cafes, restaurants and shops centered near Washington Square along Columbus and Grant avenues.  The beautiful Church of Saints Peter and Paul is a beloved landmark. Coit Tower atop Telegraph Hill offers a splendid vantage point for photos of the bridges and the Bay. Inside the tower, floor-to-ceiling murals painted in the 1930s depict scenes of early San Francisco. (

The surrounding the areas of San Francisco also provide a wealth of activities. If you arrive in the city before the meeting or extend your stay after, consider a visit to Sonoma County or the Napa Valley. 

Sonoma County is located north of San Francisco about a 45 minute drive. It offers visitors more than 50 miles view of the Pacific Coast, ancient redwood forest, oak-covered mountains, and quiet rivers. The county is probably most known as a premium winery designation and is home to the Francis Ford Coppola wine resort.  There are also farm-to-table dinning, rustic areas for outdoor camping, and excursions such as riding in a hot air balloon. For more information visit, (

Napa Valley is considered one of the premier US destinations, with its breathtaking views at every turn, picturesque rolling hills, and vineyards. The county offers its visitors luxury and chic inns and bed & breakfasts. Along with the many vineyards, Napa Valley offers RV parks for camping, farmer’s markets, golfing and bike tours. Visitors can view a cooking demonstration at one of the many culinary institutes or relax and watch nature in one of the many parks.  To learn more about Napa Valley visit, (


If you have questions about the Annual Meeting program or the Annual Meeting in general, please email ASA Meeting Services or call (202) 383-9005 ext. 305, Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.