September-October 2011 Issue • Volume 39 • Issue 7

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103rd ASA President Erik Olin Wright:
Reinventing Sociology

erik olin wright

Erik Olin Wright

Erik Wright, the 2012 President of the ASA, was born in Berkeley, CA, grew up in Kansas, was educated at Harvard, Oxford, and Berkeley and has spent the last 35 years teaching at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is not only one of the most prominent sociologists on the planet, but one who manages to be both a local and a cosmopolitan.

A few months ago he could be found among the thousands of Madison citizens in their 17-day occupation of the capitol building, protesting Governor Walker’s offensive against public sector unions and state spending, and lining up with hundreds of others to give testimony that would prolong the encampment. He then took off for Germany to explain Madison’s “Cairo” to scholars at the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation. This is typical, developing projects in Madison and then lecturing about them to audiences all over the world. 

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Sociologists Explore Conflict at ASA Annual Meeting in Las Vegas

asa president Randall Collins

Randall Collins presented his
Presidential Address following the
ASA Awards Ceremony

What happens in Vegas when more than 5,000 sociologists descend on a city known for its bright lights, grand hotels, great restaurants, celebrities, and casinos? Given that it had never happened before, nobody was quite sure.

As it turns out, the result was a highly successful 106th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association.

Originally scheduled for Chicago, the Association decided to move its Annual Meeting to Las Vegas for first time in ASA history in response to a protracted labor dispute involving hotels in the Windy City, including the two that had been scheduled to host the meeting.

“The shift in our meeting site from Chicago to Las Vegas was the result of a conflict—an unsettled labor union action against Chicago hotels, that many ASA members felt was important to honor,” said ASA President Randall Collins, University of Pennsylvania.

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J. Milton Yinger (1916-2011)

A Towering Sociological Figure from a
Small College

j. milton yinger

J. Milton Yinger

Sociology lost one of its most active and influential figures with the death of J. Milton Yinger, the 68th President of the American Sociological Association, on July 28, 2011, at the age of 95 in Oberlin, Ohio. Always ahead of the curve, Milt espoused interdisciplinarity long before it became fashionable, he championed social justice well before efforts to eradicate inequality came to be branded in this particular way, and he was the consummate mentor of students and colleagues far in advance of mentorship being a topic of explicit interest.

Born in Michigan in 1916, both of Milt’s parents were Methodist ministers. He grew up with five brothers and two sisters and, under the direction of his father, he and his siblings sang in scores of concerts throughout the Midwest as the Yinger Singers.

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