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Annette Lareau, the 2014 president of the American Sociological Association, has greatly expanded our understanding of how social inequality is reproduced while extending the possibilities—and raising the bar—of qualitative research. Through meticulous fieldwork, theoretically informed analysis, and engaging writing, Annette has had an impact on scholarship and public discussion about education, family life, and social class. A believer in telling the truth about the nuts and bolts of fieldwork, she has sometimes been self-critical in print. It’s time to right the balance. Annette is an extraordinary sociologist and a person of integrity, generosity, graciousness, and understanding. Over the course of her career, she has continually deepened and refined our understanding of inequality by focusing on the connections—or disconnections—between families and other institutions, especially schools. Carefully uncovering the everyday patterns that confer advantage to some children and not others, she has linked culture to social structure, biography to history.
Everyone’s career takes unexpected twists and turns, and Gilbert Gee’s is no exception. The new editor of ASA’s Journal of Health and Social Behavior (JHSB) recalls a pivotal moment while he was a graduate student. He admits he was floundering in terms of what he wanted to do as a career, when he was asked by his advisor to give a speech before his peers on the question of race and health. It was an intimidating prospect for a young man in his early 20s with a penchant for wearing ripped blue jeans and old T-shirts (“Not unlike how I dress today,” he jokes), but it also served to gel his thinking on what direction he wanted his research career to take.
The question that came to fascinate him was, roughly, does racism make you sick? That became the subject of his talk, and today Gee, Professor of Community Health Sciences at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) Fielding School of Public Health, focuses his research on determining how racism and other forms of structural disadvantage contribute to health and health care disparities. He also examines local neighborhoods and issues of environmental justice using a multi-level and life-course perspective. That is, how racism impacts a person throughout the lifespan and the different ways it could change the course of a child’s life compared to that of an adult.
Daniel Fowler, ASA Public Information Office
The 2013 American Sociological Association Annual Meeting was the most successful ever in terms of attendance.
A record-breaking total of 6,184 people attended the conference in New York City, topping the previous best of 6,025 established six years ago, the last time ASA visited the Big Apple. Attendance also increased by 16 percent compared with 2012, when 5,330 convened in Denver, Colorado, for the Annual Meeting.
“New York City has historically been a popular destination for our members, so we certainly anticipated a good turnout,” said Kareem D. Jenkins, ASA’s Director of Meeting Services. “But, it’s safe to say that attendance far exceeded our expectations.”