by Quincy Thomas Stewart, Northwestern University
Fall 2003 was when our paths first crossed in a socially meaningful way. Fabio Rojas and Rashawn Ray joined me in the department of Sociology at Indiana University. Fabio, an enigmatic education scholar from the University of Chicago with a background in rational choice, organizations, and mathematics, started as an Assistant Professor that term. And Rashawn, a curious student with a knack for theory, mixed methods, and public sociology, enrolled as a first-year graduate student in our PhD program. I immediately enjoyed their presence; they were great colleagues and friends to me from the beginning.
Although Rashawn and Fabio have picked up some impressive credentials in their short careers, they are both—almost—the same great colleagues and friendly guys as when I met them 14 years ago. At that time, Fabio had great (shorter) hair, as well as no firm attachment to any theoretical or methodological orientation. Rashawn, on the other hand, had a warm soul and a unique, probing curiosity about social interactions. They were—and are—great storytellers, often sharing their novel insights, advice, and time with colleagues on an array of interesting topics. In the context of these collegial interactions, I learned that they are both consumed with understanding how humans function in concert.
As the new editors for Contexts, Rashawn Ray and Fabio Rojas are now invaluable colleagues both within our discipline and beyond. They will guide the discussion between the voices of sociologists within the ASA and the wider public—between academic sociology and the real people we are interested in studying. Indeed, this is a complex, difficult discussion. These scholars, however, are well-suited to lead Contexts in its mission of making “cutting-edge social research accessible to general readers.” They are both public sociologists publishing in The New York Times, the Huffington Post, and The Washington Post. Furthermore, they often appear and/or have their work discussed in an array of premier media outlets (e.g., Al Jazeera, Headline News, National Public Radio). Thus, Rashawn and Fabio are participants in the existing public discourse they hope to shape.