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Hartmann and Uggen Are the New Editors of Contexts

by Ronald Aminzade, University of Minnesota

Contexts is moving to the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities. The new editors, Christopher Uggen and Doug Hartmann, work together closely as Chair and Associate Chair of their department. They share a passion for research that speaks to audiences within and beyond the academy, teaching that provides students with learning opportunities outside the classroom, and service that utilizes sociological knowledge to address pressing public issues.

The journal will rely on a diverse editorial team that will include faculty and graduate students in the Minnesota Sociology Department, academic and applied sociologists from the Twin Cities area, and media professionals of regional and national stature. Contexts will be housed in a department with a long-standing commitment to publicly engaged sociology and community partnerships. The University of Minnesota, which has an historic mission to foster civic engagement, is situated in a major metropolitan area.

Future of Contexts

Contexts was created to bring sociological knowledge and insights to a wider public audience. The new editors plan to build on the legacy established by Claude Fischer and New York University’s Jeff Goodwin and Jim Jasper and to launch several new initiatives to expand the journal’s circulation and media impact. These include feature-length articles written about (rather than by) sociologists and sociology by established professional writers. They plan to streamline and re-focus the back matter of the magazine by inviting nonsociologists (both scholars and public figures) to write about important works of sociology and by asking sociologists to reflect on works outside of the field.

The new editors also hope to expand the contributors to Contexts to include applied sociologists and sociologists at more teaching-oriented schools. They want to create a journal that is attentive to sociological insights concerning popular cultural practices and trends. The editors hope to establish for Contexts a much larger and more significant web presence that will complement and expand the print content of the journal. An electronic portal will facilitate access to articles and enable the journal to produce content that is more timely and topical than the current print medium allows. It will provide timely coverage of sociologists who engage public issues and make it easier for media professionals to establish contacts with them. The goal is to make Contexts a standard reference for journalists, writers, and opinion leaders by having it serve as the point of entry to sociological knowledge for the news media and policymakers. The journal will profile sociologists engaged in pathbreaking policy work or public advocacy, or sociologists who are teaching innovative courses that change the lives of their students—sociologists, in short, who are making an impact in the public realm.

About the Editors

Douglas Hartmann grew up in Cape Girardeau, MO, a Mississippi River town between Memphis and Saint Louis that is the hometown of Rush Limbaugh. The racial and cultural divides of his hometown community sparked an enduring interest in issues of racial identity and privilege and later led to two books on the subject: Race, Culture and the Revolt of the Black Athlete: The 1968 Olympic Protests and Their Aftermath and Ethnicity and Race: Making Identities in a Changing World (with Stephen Cornell). Doug is current president of the Sociologists of Minnesota and serves on the editorial boards of Ethnic and Racial Studies and the Journal of Sports and Social Issues. He is a co-principal investigator of the American Mosaic Project, a collaborative study of how Americans understand the nature and consequences of racial and religious diversity and how ethnic, racial, and religious identities shape understandings of the obligations of citizenship and visions of “the good society.” The Mosaic Project recently garnered considerable national media attention from Time, Newsweek, and National Public Radio for its findings about race and insights about atheists, moral boundaries, and cultural membership in America.

Doug teaches classes on race relations, contemporary social theory, and qualitative research methods, and recently taught a new course on public sociology designed to give students an opportunity to reflect on how the knowledge, skills, and insights of sociology can be applied in lives and careers outside of the University. He is married to sociologist Teresa Swartz, University of Minnesota, who recently published a book on non-profit foster care and is currently researching intergenerational relationships. When he is not appearing in the media to discuss race relations or commenting on a range of popular culture topics, Doug is busy coaching youth soccer, basketball, and baseball and enjoying the company of his two children, Ben (12) and Emma (9).

Christopher Uggen is a native-born Minnesotan whose turbulent adolescence in Saint Paul led to a longterm interest in deviance, crime, and social justice. Chris is a Distinguished McKnight Professor of Sociology and serves as executive secretary of the American Society of Criminology. His research focuses on law and deviance, especially on how former prisoners manage to put their lives back together. He has published his research findings in numerous academic journals, including American Sociological Review, American Journal of Sociology, and Criminology, and discussed them in a variety of media outlets, including the New York Times, The Economist, and National Public Radio. With Jeff Manza, he wrote Locked Out: Felon Disenfranchisement and American Democracy (2006).

Chris’s teaching interests include crime and drug use, discrimination and inequality, and sexual harassment, and he has incorporated community service learning into his criminology courses. His work as an expert witness and in providing public testimony on felon disenfranchisement has garnered national recognition and a number of awards, while his more recent forays into blogging and public criminology have provided him with a deep, practical understanding of the challenges of Internet interface. Chris has been married for 20 years to Rhonda, a physical therapist whom he met at age 16 when he was a busboy and she was a hostess. When not answering questions from ex-cons about their voting rights, broadcasting on the radio, and working to overhaul voting laws, Chris can be found spending time with his children, Hope (13), an aspiring actress and singer, and Tor (16), a nonconformist and active athlete. Chris is also a jogger who has run 16 marathons and a guitar player who claims to “sing worse than Bob Dylan.”