November 2012 Issue • Volume 40 • Issue 8

download pdfDownload full issue pdf

 

Major ASA Award Recipients
Honored in Denver

The American Sociological Association (ASA) presented the 2012 major awards at this year’s Annual Meeting on August 19 in Denver, CO. The Awards Ceremony, followed by the Presidential Address, was well attended. Major ASA awards are given to recognize sociologists for their outstanding publications, achievements in the scholarship, teaching, and practice of sociology, as well as for their overall advancement of the discipline. Below are the profiles of the awardees.

Back to Top of Page

William A. Gamson

william gamson

William A. Gamson

W.E.B. DuBois Career of Distinguished Scholarship Award

William Gamson, Professor of Sociology and co-director of the Media Research and Action Project at Boston University, was trained as a social psychologist, with his early contributions in this area. In addition, he has made exceptional contributions to work in at least three other subfields in sociology: social movements/collective behavior, political sociology, and the sociology of culture/media studies. His influence has not been confined to sociology. In 2000 the American Political Science Association awarded him the Doris Graber Outstanding Book Award for Talking Politics. And his recent work on political discourse and the media has made him an influential and visible figure in communication and media studies. In 1993-1994 he was president of the ASA.

Gamson commits himself on three fronts: as a profound analyst of social processes, as a talented expositor of sociological ideas and materials, and as a passionate advocate of equality and justice.

Gamson’s scholarship has been influential in shaping how social scientists theorize and research political power and social movements. His most influential book, The Strategy of Social Protest, broke the then-dominant collective behavior perspective on social movements. In rejecting that perspective he was as important as anyone in creating a social movement subfield within sociology. The thriving nature of that field today is testament to the staying power of Gamson’s more political conception of social movements. Gamson’s work has been central to the creation of the resource mobilization and political process paradigms in the study of social movements and conflict. Indeed, prior to Gamson’s work, collective action was viewed as exotic, spontaneous, structureless, irrational, and fleeting. In contrast, Gamson’s empirical and theoretical work demonstrated that collective action was political, rational, and embedded in social organizations. This insight is now accepted wisdom. Gamson’s publications emphasized the cultural aspects of social movements and collective action. He was far ahead in bringing culture back into the study of social movements and collective action. In short, Gamson’s work serves as a major foundational source of current work in social movements because of its pioneering role in linking structure and culture.

Gamson’s research has also proven valuable to social change agents. Its insights resonate with the real world of political and social forces with which activists must contend. More importantly, Gamson has been an agent of social change.

All this makes him a worthy recipient of the W.E.B. Du Bois Career Award

Back to Top of Page
frank dobbin

Frank Dobbin

Frank Dobbin for Inventing Equal Opportunity

Distinguished Scholarly Book Award, Co-Recipient

Equal opportunity in the workplace is thought to be the direct legacy of the civil rights and feminist movements and the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. Yet, as Frank Dobbin demonstrates, corporate personnel experts—not Congress or the courts—were the ones who determined what equal opportunity meant in practice, designing changes in how employers hire, promote, and fire workers, and ultimately defining what discrimination is, and is not, in the American imagination.

Dobbin, Professor of Sociology at Harvard University, shows how Congress and the courts merely endorsed programs devised by corporate personnel. In Inventing Equal Opportunity, he traces how the first measures were adopted by military contractors worried that the Kennedy administration would cancel their contracts if they didn’t take “affirmative action” to end discrimination. These measures built on existing changes in the law as personnel experts invented one wave after another of equal opportunity programs. He examines how corporate personnel formalized hiring and promotion practices in the 1970s to eradicate bias by managers; how in the 1980s they answered Ronald Reagan’s threat to end affirmative action by recasting their efforts as diversity-management programs; and how the growing presence of women in the newly human resources profession has contributed to a focus on sexual harassment and work/life issues.

Back to Top of Page
chandra mukerji

Chandra Murkerji

Chandra Mukerji for Impossible Engineering: Technology and Territoriality on the Canal du Midi

Distinguished Scholarly Book Award, Co-Recipient

Chandra Mukerji is Distinguished Professor of Communication and Science Studies and Adjunct Professor of Sociology at the University of California-San Diego. She received her PhD from Northwestern University, working with Howard Becker and starting out her career in the sociology of art. She took her first job at Boston University, where she learned about Marxist theory from Mike Miller and Susan Epstein, and about feminist sociology from Evelyn Glenn. She moved to San Diego to work with the cultural sociologists Joseph Gusfield, Bennett Berger, Kristin Luker, and Michael Schudson. Later, she and Schudson moved to the Communication Department, and still later, she joined the Science Studies Program. She also spent two years at UC Davis in the Science and Technology Studies Program with Patrick Carroll and Jim Griesemer, and spent time in Paris working with Claude Rosental. Two of her books won ASA awards. A Fragile Power: Science and the State (Princeton 1990) won the Merton Award from the SKAT section, and Territorial Ambitions and the Gardens of Versailles (Cambridge 1997) won the Best Book award from the Sociology of Culture section. She also was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.

Chandra Mukerji studies the built environment, and the relationship of social life to the physical/natural world. Interested in questions of history and power, she is one of the new historical materialists who study social life as physically located and socially grounded in the natural world. Building on Marx’s fundamental insights, she seeks new ways to link materiality to history. Mukerji is also a cultural sociologist who studies how the arts and architecture are deployed as material tools in relations of power, focusing on the political life as well as semiotic properties of art. Additionally, Mukerji is a sociologist of science and technology, drawing on the rich literature on materiality in the sciences to understand both artifacts affecting social cognition and the use of natural knowledge and technology as tools of knowledge/power.

In Impossible Engineering, Chandra Mukerji tries to understand how states gain power from infrastructural engineering. She uses a historical case study to address the issue: the construction of the Canal du Midi in 17th-century France. She also argues that the canal, which linked the Atlantic to the Mediterranean through the southwest of France, was too difficult to construct with the formal knowledge of engineering in the period. So, its success raises the question of how was it built as well as what advantages the state derived from it.

As William Sewell pointed out in his review in the American Journal of Sociology, Impossible Engineering follows the intertwined stories of the canal’s technical construction and the political stakes and tactics involved. At the level of construction, the canal was a piece of collaborative engineering, drawing on both the formal knowledge of military engineers and scientists, and on the informal knowledge of peasants and artisans who, unbeknownst to themselves, had maintained techniques of engineering from the Roman Empire as common sense ways of buildings walls and creating water systems. Peasant women from the Pyrenees turned out to be the most sophisticated hydraulic engineers in France. They came to the canal simply as laborers, but they ended up solving some of the most intractable problems involved in the canal. These workers, as well as the gentlemen who were hired to supervise the project, demonstrated how the state could use its lands for political effect, changing the topography and hydrology to reorganize life in the southwest of France.

At the political level, Mukerji argues that the minister to Louis XIV, Jean-Baptiste Colbert, engaged an entrepreneur for the project, Pierre-Paul Riquet, to give the state greater presence there, but inadvertently produced a form a power that was more effective and dangerous than either of them could have imagined. Swaths of land were indemnified and taken from local nobles and water was directed into new areas, changing local practices and undermining the patrimonial powers of the local nobility. Mukerji describes this as the discovery of the power of impersonal rule and attributes state formation in France to this use of logistical power. Even though the project was hailed as a tribute to Louis XIV’s personal rein, it demonstrated the power of the state as an impersonal institution, wielding logistical power over the land.

Back to Top of Page
Diane Pike

Diane Pike

Diane Pike

Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Award, co recipient

Diane Pike, Professor of Sociology at Augsburg College, is one of the key driving forces to advance the importance of teaching sociology within her institution, within the Midwest Sociological Society, within the ASA Section on Teaching and Learning, within task forces of the ASA, and within consultancy provided to colleges and universities across the country. At each level, she moved forward with remarkable energy to centralize teaching as a primary professional activity within the discipline as well as to identify and promote the effective teaching of sociology in accordance with the standards of the scholarship of teaching and learning. She has inspired others by her unwavering passion for sociology and by her devotion to passing on the discipline through teaching.

At her institution, in addition to her quality work within the classroom, Diane Pike directed the Center for Teaching and Learning for six years. In the Midwest Sociological Society, she chaired the Committee on Undergraduate Education, and in her role as President-elect, organized the 2009 annual meetings around the theme “Teaching Sociological Scholarship.”  Throughout her career, she organized and presented well-received teaching paper sessions, professional workshops, panels, keynotes, and roundtables at both her institution and at regional meetings, as well as at nearly every meeting of the American Sociological Association for the past two decades.

Within the American Sociological Association, her contributions in centralizing teaching are significant. They include intense involvement with the Section on Teaching and Learning as a past chair and also as lead organizer of the 2010 and 2011 pre-conferences “The Best Teachers We Can Be.” She is among the most active members of the Departmental Resources Group, including its Advisory Council, and has provided program review, mentorship, and consultation to nearly 20 departments and scholars as well as training to other members of that group. In June 2012, she became the inaugural editor or TRAILS: the Teaching Resource and Innovations Library for Sociology. She also currently serves as an Associate Editor for Teaching Sociology and has been a peer reviewer for several journals for over 20 years.

As a member of the ASA Task Force on Creating an Effective Assessment Plan for the Sociology Major, her substantial contributions facilitated the identification and assessment of learning objectives, making it possible for departments to reconsider their curricula. And, she has published and presented on core concerns that reveal the impact that quality teaching can have on professional lives and the development of students, including a comparative quantitative analysis of the journal Teaching Sociology with other disciplines’ pedagogical journals.

Diane Pike’s ambitious vision identifies outmoded practices and perspectives and seeks to help, not only individuals, but also departments, institutions, and the profession move beyond what she termed, “The Tyranny of Dead Ideas in Teaching and Learning” (The Sociological Quarterly). Perhaps her most visible accomplishment to members of the ASA is the institutionalization of the phrase “If you teach, you belong” to emphasize the centrality of teaching to the professional lives of sociologists, providing further impetus to join the Section on Teaching and Learning. For all these efforts, Diane Pike has received significant professional recognition, including institutional, state, regional, and section awards.

As her nominator (Kathleen McKinney) stated and was reiterated in the perspectives offered in letters of support from colleagues: Virtually all of Diane Pike’s work has focused on improving teaching and learning in sociology beyond the local level, whether that work was teaching-learning sessions or workshops, other faculty development efforts, Department Resource Group reviews, efforts to improve assessment, or professional service work related to teaching….Diane is one of our most motivated, enthusiastic, upbeat, hardworking, honest and generous colleagues.”

Back to Top of Page
william gamson

Katherine Rowell

Katherine Rowell

Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Award, co recipient

Katherine Rowell, Professor of Sociology at Sinclair College, has demonstrated distinction by advancing quality teaching at her institution, by relating strategies of teaching sociology in community college settings at regional and national organizations, and by advancing quantitative literacy and experiential learning as core objectives within the sociology curriculum.

At her institution, Rowell served as the founding director of the Applied Social Issues Research Center, and in 2008 she became the founding director of the Center for Teaching and Learning. Through this work, she moved her institution to integrate social science research into the curriculum of a community college and has established Sinclair College as an exemplar for other comparable institutions. For these efforts, Kathy Rowell has received significant professional and public recognition including being selected in 2005 as the Carnegie Foundation National Outstanding Community College Professor of the Year.

Rowell’s publications reflect numerous contributions to a far-ranging set of issues and topics, and she has developed a host of innovative teaching activities distributed for public use. She organized and presented a remarkable number of workshops, symposia, and regional and national meetings. In these activities she disseminated innovative teaching techniques as well as helped train sociologists to become better teachers. Her development of pedagogies and curricular materials relate to a wide range of concerns, including service learning, engagement of students in data analysis activities, peace studies, and social entrepreneurship. She achieved an impressive record of internationalizing sociology curricula, from working with the United States Institute of Peace Summer Training Program, to her work with the Midwest Institute of International Education to create online teaching modules. She made remarkable contributions to the ASA’s Integrating Data Analysis in the curriculum initiative, authoring the application that included Sinclair College as the only community college included in this National Science Foundation-funded project for the American Sociological Association. Her teaching modules have been published through the Social Science Data Analysis Network and KIDSCOUNT. She also has served as a consultant on means of assessing quantitative literacy through her work with the Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Science Research.

She is an incredibly active member of both the ASA and its Section on Teaching and Learning. She served the Section on Teaching and Learning as its newsletter editor, frequently reviews for the journal Teaching Sociology, and is a long-term member of the Department Resources Group. She has filled numerous roles in regional associations, including President of the North Central Sociological Association. In all of these positions, she has worked to advance the cause of quality teaching.

As her nominator Jill Bouma writes: “Through Professor Rowell’s long and distinguished record of excellent teaching, steady stream of publications and presentations on curricular and teaching topics, leadership in workshops at the local, regional and national levels, innovative program development, and overall contributions to the advancement of teaching sociology, Professor Rowell is an ideal recipient for this award.” 

Back to Top of Page
judith blau

Judith Blau

Judith Blau

Distinguished Career Award for the Practice of Sociology

Judith Blau, Professor of Sociology at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, is the recipient of the 2012 Distinguished Career Award. Her BA and MA degrees are from the University of Chicago and her PhD from Northwestern. She drew from the respective strengths of both departments to tackle complex and varied questions over her career. For example, her dissertation and first publication dealt with the international networks of theoretical high energy physicists, and her first book was on architectural aesthetic. She also sought to learn and apply varied methodologies, including, for example, fuzzy set analysis, pooled time series analysis, and spatial diffusion processes.

Her long and happy marriage to Peter Blau accompanied intellectual challenges; their frequent discussions, for example, about the analysis of cross-cutting social circles (a book published by him and Joseph Schwartz) has had continuing influence on her work. As he often said, they were intermarried on all dimensions except for their shared love of sociology. They also shared children: Reva Blau and Pamela Blau.

Around 1999, Blau’s work took a decisive turn. She wanted to learn what core values sociologists share, She concluded that they share a commitment to equality, fairness, and nondiscrimination, but these core values were rarely explicitly stated. What if they were articulated? She also wanted to learn what a “decent society” (as an ideal type) is like, and drew from the writings of W.E.B. Du Bois and Martin Luther King, Jr.

In 2000, Blau started the Social and Economic Justice undergraduate minor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. It was an instant success, with nearly 60 faculty throughout the college signing up their courses. Blau taught the core course in the minor, but it soon morphed into a course on human rights. Once again, Blau had to master a new literature, indeed a vast one, and attempt to relate it to American sociology. She began by starting a U.S. chapter of Sociologists without Borders (really a network with two websites: www.sociologistswithoutborders.org and, an interactive site www.ssfthinktank.org/). The organization, which she was president of from 2002-2011, highlights the importance of global connections between sociology, human rights, and is bluntly opposed to neocolonialism, hegemony, and war. Over the last decade, with Spanish co-author Alberto Moncada, she wrote a series of books: Human Rights: Beyond the Liberal Vision (2005); Justice in the United States: Human Rights and the U.S. Constitution (2006); Freedoms and Solidarities: We Humans (2007); and Human Rights: A Primer (2009) (and in that same time-frame co-edited a volume on the World Social Forum and public sociology). Her empirical work on “decent societies” and “decent communities,” proceeding at a slower pace, has produced a coauthored piece with two students, Jennifer Santos and Chelsea Sessoms; she is currently working with UNC graduate student Aseem Hasnain on a second.

The intellectual framework of human rights is exceedingly compelling, it is a universalizing and universal framework. Yet, it says little in particular about the ethics of interpersonal relations, how to promote solidarity, how to collectively combat injustices, and how norms of reciprocity emerge. These challenges are what people in their everyday lives face and that communities and cities must also confront. In 2009, Blau created a 501(c)(3), the Human Rights Center of Chapel Hill & Carrboro (HRC), working closely with a graduate student – Rafael Gallegos Lerma. The Center is located across the street from where day laborers wait for potential jobs and in a housing complex, Abbey Court, where about 300 units are occupied mostly by Latinos as well as African Americans and Burmese. The objectives of the organization are to de-marginalize the families and individuals who live in Abbey Court; to defend their legal and employment rights; to ensure that they have access to basic human rights, such as food, education, and freedom to embrace their culture. The HRC has over 30 programs. These programs are ones that college students tackle for service-learning projects. There are clear connections between human rights theory, the HRC, and college students’ service-learning projects. While Abbey Court residents benefit from what the students bring to their community, the students also benefit from what they learn from the residents. Judith finds that being director of the HRC allows for immense intellectual and social fulfillment.

Back to Top of Page
katha pollitt

Katha Pollitt

Katha Pollitt

Excellence in the Reporting of Social Issues Award

The 2011 Award for Excellence in the Reporting of Social Issues goes to Katha Pollitt, writer and columnist for The Nation. As the nominating letter for Pollitt, signed by more than 60 sociologists, stated, “Her incisive voice covers a wide range of sociologically relevant topics,” revealing “a keen understanding of social science research,” and tying “social science to the issues of the day.” Among them are racism, welfare reform, abortion, and poverty. Inequality is her central theme. She is a defender of contemporary feminism and human rights movements around the world.

Her range is extraordinary. “Subject to Debate”, her bimonthly column in The Nation, has addressed women and work, deadbeat dads, the media, panhandlers, school prayer, same-sex marriage, electoral politics, and, most recently, the mainstreaming of Occupy Wall Street and how Anita Hill changed the world. She has been praised for “…picking out the hypocrisy from the rhetoric”, “voicing sharp, lacerating truths about society, never missing an opportunity for wit…”, and  her “zestfully argued, blazingly commonsensical and morally precise” writing.

Her authorial voice has a wide reach. She has published in The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, Ms. Magazine, the New York Times, The Atlantic, the New Republic, Glamour, Mother Jones, and the London Review of Books. In addition, she has published six books. She is the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the National Book Critics Circle Award (1983), the National Magazine Award (1992, 2003), the American Book Award’s “Lifetime Achievement Award” (2010), and grants and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the  National Endowment for the Arts, and the Fulbright Foundation.

Known primarily as an essayist and a social, political, and cultural critic, among her six books are two volumes of poetry. In her most recent, The Mind-Body Problem (2009), her poem “Silent Letter” is a meditation on the act of writing:

So too the leisure seeming of a girl alone in her blue bedroom late at night who stares at the bitten end of her pen wondering how to write so that what she writes stays written…

It is plain that she herself is the girl. A persistent gadfly on the social consciousness of the public, Katha Pollitt has mastered her craft. We are pleased to honor her outstanding achievements with the ASA 2012 Award for the Reporting of Social Issues.

Back to Top of Page
james loewen

James W. Loewen

James W. Loewen

Cox-Johnson-Frazier Award

Professor James Loewen, Catholic University, is the 2012 recipient of the ASA’s Cox-Johnson-Frazier Award. His life and work embody the spirit and intellect of the pioneering African American scholar-activists for whom the award is named. Author of scores of books and articles, including the bestselling Lies My Teacher Told Me, Loewen is a model public intellectual. While researching Lies My Teacher Told Me, Loewen spent two years at the Smithsonian surveying 12 leading high school textbooks of American history only to find an embarrassing blend of bland optimism, blind nationalism, and plain misinformation. In his book Sundown Towns, which was awarded the “Distinguished Book of 2005” by Gustavus Myers Foundation, he discovered that for decades thousands of communities kept out African Americans (or sometimes Chinese Americans, Jewish Americans, etc.) by force, law, or custom (some still do).

From his early years at historically black Tougaloo College to his later years at the University of Vermont, where he taught race relations for 20 years, Loewen fought for diversity and racial inclusion in higher education. Outside of academia, he testified, filed briefs, and offered statistical consulting in high-profile court cases involving employment discrimination, bias in standardized testing, and the rights of prisoners and students. For these and other outstanding contributions to racial justice and human rights, James Loewen richly deserves this award.

Back to Top of Page
douglas massey

Douglas S. Massey

Douglas S. Massey

Award for Public Understanding of Sociology Award

No American is unaffected by our nation’s evolving policy stance toward immigrants. The major institutions of our collective life—ranging from the criminal justice system, to the economy, to the nation’s schools—bear the imprint of a radically transformed approach to handling newcomers and their offspring. No sociologist has done more than Douglas Massey to inform a variety of publics about the contradictions inherent in many of our immigration laws and the unintended consequences that have stemmed from these controversial policies. Whether testifying before the U.S. Senate, granting dozens of interviews to journalists interested in his ideas and research, or penning op-eds in our most prominent newspapers, Massey has been an indefatigable emissary on behalf of a humane approach to immigration, which balances our nation’s needs and capabilities with what is politically feasible. It is also an approach grounded in the best social science research. Massey is uniquely suited to this role given his longstanding expertise as a leading immigration scholar.

All of Massey’s public endeavors to improve our immigration system would define him as one of the most prominent public sociologists of our time. Yet his efforts on behalf of public sociology do not end with immigration. For decades he has translated key sociological findings from studies of race, urban areas, and the changing demographics of the country for audiences outside of the academy. These efforts share common elements: they remain close to the relevant research, they are comprehensive yet easy for various publics to understand, and they offer possible solutions to pressing social problems rooted in the political realities of the day. For all of these endeavors, the American Sociological Association has named Douglas Massey winner of the Public Understanding of Sociology Award for 2012.

Massey is the Henry G. Bryant Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton University. He received his PhD in Sociology from Princeton in 1978 and began his academic career with stints at the University of Chicago and the University of Pennsylvania prior to returning to his alma mater in 2005. Aside from his studies on the changing dynamics of immigration, his research focuses on race relations, U.S. cities, and the continuing impact of segregation on the life chances of minorities. In total, he has authored or co-authored nearly three dozen books and over 200 articles. His scholarly impact has been recognized in the academy by various disciplines. He is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Philosophical Society, the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1996 he served as President of the Population Association of America, in 2000-2001 he served as President of the American Sociological Association, and in 2006 he was elected president of the American Academy of Political and Social Science.

This staggering amount of scholarly productivity and service to the social sciences has not deterred Massey from his contributions to the public understanding of sociological research. These contributions to the public make Professor Massey a greatly deserving winner of this year’s award. Interviews and op-eds in newspapers such as the USA Today, the New York Times, and the Newark-Star Ledger, and appearances in various other media outlets have deepened the public’s comprehension of complex sociological issues such as demographic changes in our nation’s cities, the paradoxes of recent immigration restrictions, and the settlement patterns of minorities.

Massey’s contributions to public understanding of the discipline extend beyond the general public: for decades he has participated in policy discussions and debates with those closest to the policymaking process. Testimonies before the Senate, the House of Representatives, and service on various government panels have helped inform policymakers about the latest findings from social science research, and how these findings might be instituted as policy. His contributions also extend beyond our nation’s borders: Professor Massey has spoken at the United Nations and to numerous foreign bodies in an ongoing effort to shape the public’s and policymaking bodies’ understanding of and appreciation for what social scientists have to offer the world.

These efforts are often stymied, distorted, or simply ignored—as anyone engaged in the public understanding of sociology can attest. Yet as Professor Massey recognizes, these efforts are absolutely essential if we are to broaden the impact of our discipline. For those whose research is relevant to ongoing social problems, these efforts are essential to fulfill all of our obligations as social scientists. Most importantly, they are essential for improving the policymaking process and educating the public. It is for these efforts as a tireless ambassador for educating the public and improving our nation’s policies that we honor Professor Massey with this year’s award.

Back to Top of Page
Michael Messner

Michael A. Messner

Michael A. Messner

Jessie Bernard Major ASA Award

Michael A. Messner, Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies at the University of Southern California (USC), is the 2012 recipient of the Jessie Bernard Award. Mike Messner is a leading sociologist of gender. He is widely regarded as the leading figure in the study of gender and sports. In his many books and articles he has addressed head on a fundamental conundrum in the struggle for gender equality, illustrated through sports as a pivotal site of gender politics. Why is it that women’s increased equality in every arena of sports has led to dramatic increases in participation at every level of sport, and yet it has failed to transform the public’s relationship toward, and media coverage of, women’s sports? He has addressed all institutional levels of this intellectual terrain. His book It’s All for the Kids (2009) focuses on women and men volunteer coaches of youth soccer leagues. Power at Play: Sports and the Problem of Masculinity (1992) assesses masculinities through the social and physical hierarchies of sports.

Messner won the Outstanding Book Award from the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport not only for Power at Play, but also for Taking the Field: Women, Men, and Sports (2002), which underscores the immense challenges and contradictions between liberal feminist claims of gains in equality and cultural and institutional analyses that reveal complex struggles for women’s progress in the still male-dominated institution of sport. He is the only scholar to have won this award twice. He has also done a good deal of scholarship focusing on masculinities and contemporary men’s movements more broadly, as in his 1997 book, Politics of Masculinities: Men in Movements. Other examples includehis 2007 Gender & Society article on the masculinity displays of Arnold Schwarzenegger and his 2005 Signs article on the imagery of the “male loser” in beer and liquor ads shown at mega-sports events such as the Super Bowl.

His writings have also been central for feminist teaching; Men’s Lives (1989) has now gone through eight editions and remains one of the most widely used and valued feminist texts, very influential in interdisciplinary teaching on men and masculinity. He himself is also an accomplished teacher, having won several teaching awards at USC.

Messner has held a wide variety of administrative positions through which he has worked to institutionalize feminist research and pedagogies. He has served as the Director of Graduate Studies and as Department Chair in the USC Department of Sociology. He has also served as the USC Gender Studies Program Interim Director as well as the Director for the USC Center for Feminist Research “New Directions in Feminist Research” faculty seminar. His work is not limited to the academy; in addition to dozens of talks for community organizations, he has brought his expertise to the service of several community organizations such as Children Now, a statewide child advocacy organization; the Women’s Sports Foundation and the Men’s Resource Center for Change, serving on Advisory Boards for both of these organizations; and the California Women’s Law Center, for whom he served as an expert witness in a suit to provide equal recreation facilities for girls in Los Angeles. He has launched critical longitudinal media analyses with the Amateur Athletic Association, generating reports on divergences between women’s structural progress in sport and both overt and subtle sexist media coverage of their accomplishments.

Messner has received many professional recognitions. He has been a President of the Pacific Sociological Association, President of the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport, Chair of the Sex and Gender Section, the SWS Distinguished Feminist Lecturer, and a recipient of the Career of Distinguished Service Award by the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport. He was named one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Sports Educators” by the Institute for International Sports. He has served on the Editorial Boards of many key journals, among them the American Sociological Review, Gender & Society, Sociological Perspectives, Men and Masculinities, and the Journal of Sport and Social Issues.

As a colleague of Mike’s wrote: “Sociology is often a grim subject, documenting oppression, marginalization, and the disappointment of hopes. Messner is the kind of intellectual who can face these realities, but can also see the humane and democratic possibilities in human institutions such as  sport.”  Mike Messner inspires all who work with him to do more and better feminist work, both in the academy and beyond.

Back to Top of Page
kimberly kay hoang

Kimberly Kay Hoang

Kimberly Kay Hoang for “New Economies of Sex and Intimacy in Vietnam

Dissertation Major ASA Award

Drawing on 15 months of research tracing the dialectical link between the political economies of sex work and intimacy in Vietnam, Hoang used a creative form of field work to engage and observe the daily world of sex work in Ho Chi Minh City. She served as a hostess in bars catering to four different groups of clients. Speaking with these clients, the workers,  and the madams known as “mommies,” Hoang illuminates a world in which, to paraphrase her dissertation chair’s nominating letter, all those involved navigate social and global forces to enhance their social and economic position in the global economy thus weaving together the micro and macro socioeconomic worlds. The committee offers its congratulations to Kimberly Hoang for an excellent dissertation and one which we think will make a major contribution to the fields of gender, sexuality, and political economy in a global context.

 

Back to Top of Page


Print this article discuss this article

Featured Advertiser:

New from Oxford University Press

Back to Front Page of Footnotes | Table of Contents