American Sociological Association

Public Understanding of Sociology Award


Originally proposed by former President Herbert J. Gans as an ASA Sociology in the Media Award, the award was officially established by Council on August 23, 1995 as the Award for Public Understanding of Sociology. A call for nominations was circulated in 1995 and 1996 and the first award was presented at the Annual Meeting in August 1997.

Selection Criteria

The Public Understanding of Sociology Award is given annually to an ASA member, person or persons, who have made exemplary contributions to advance the public understanding of sociology, sociological research, and scholarship among the general public. The award may recognize a contribution in the preceding year or for a longer career of such contributions

Nomination Procedures

Nominations should include the nominee's vita and a detailed one to two-page nomination statement that describes how the person's work has contributed to increasing the public understanding and knowledge of sociology. The nominator must also include additionally three to four letters of support within their nomination before sending the nomination to ASA. The nominator may also include the evidence supporting the claims made in the nomination letter(s). If these above requirements are not met the committee will not be able to accept the nomination.

In addition to the nomination materials described above, complete and submit the required nomination form available for download as a Word file here. Then send the complete nomination packet via email to with the name of the award and nominee in the subject line. The deadline for the 2020 award is January 31, 2019.

Selection Committee Members

The selection committee is composed of nine members, each serving a staggered three-year term. Members are appointed from among the Association membership by the Council based on the recommendation of the Committee on Committees.

Name Begin End Position
Julie A. Dowling 1/1/2018 12/31/2018 Chair
Margaret Abraham 1/1/2016 12/31/2018 Member
Sabrina Alimahomed-Wilson 1/1/2017 12/31/2019 Member
William Darity, Jr. 1/1/2018 12/31/2020 Member
Michael O. Emerson 1/1/2017 12/31/2019 Member
Alexes Harris 1/1/2018 12/31/2020 Member
Pedro Noguera 1/1/2018 12/31/2020 Member
C.J. Pascoe 1/1/2016 12/31/2018 Member
Steven A. Tuch 1/1/2016 12/31/2018 Member


2018 - Adia M. Harvey Wingfield

2017Victor Rios

2016 - Joel Best

2015 - Katherine Shelley Newman

2014 - Juliet B. Schor

2013 - Ruth Milkman

2012 - Douglas S. Massey

2011 - Barbara Risman

2010 - Valerie Jenness & Doris Wilkinson (co-winners)

2009 - Jack Levin

2008 - David Segal & Shirley Laska (co-winners)

2007 - Andrew Beveridge

2006 - Diane Vaughan

2005 - Pepper Schwartz

2004 - Jerome Scott and Walda Katz Fishman

2003 - Frances Fox Piven

2002 - No award presented

2001 - Alan Wolfe

2000 - Arlie Hochschild

1999 - Herbert J. Gans

1998 - William Julius Wilson

1997 - Charles Moskos

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