American Sociological Association

Sociologists to Take In-Depth Look at San Francisco Bay Area During ASA Annual Meeting

At the American Sociological Association’s 109th Annual Meeting, San Francisco and the surrounding area will be the subject of several regional spotlight sessions in which leading sociologists will present research on and examine aspects of the region, including its social justice efforts, immigrant population, and gentrification.

The conference will take place from Saturday, Aug. 16, through Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014 (Opening Plenary Session is Friday, Aug. 15, from 7 to 9 pm) at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square (333 O’Farrell St., San Francisco, CA, 94102) and the Parc 55 Wyndham Hotel (55 Cyril Magnin St., San Francisco, CA, 94102).  

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  • Academic Hustle: PhDs and Part-Time Work in the San Francisco Bay Area

           Saturday, Aug. 16, 10:30 am – 12:10 pm (Parc 55, Balboa)

Within a few hours’ drive from San Francisco, there are no fewer than five major universities granting doctorate degrees in sociology. This fact, coupled with the geographic draw of the region and the diminishing full-time faculty positions at area institutions, has created an overabundance of unemployed sociologists. Panelists will explore how sociologists navigate underemployment in an area that, on the surface, looks full of opportunity. While the discussion will be centered on the Bay Area, the situation is not unique to those who live there, as it is a phenomenon being played out across the country.

  • Four Decades of Disability and Independent Living Activism in the San Francisco Bay Area

           Saturday, Aug. 16, 10:30 am – 12:10 pm (Hilton, Continental Parlor 3)

This panel will focus on the origins, development, and impact of the independent living and disability rights movements in the Bay Area. Since the late 1960s, the independent living and disability rights movements have sought to change the lives of tens of millions of Americans with disabilities as well as society at large. These movements grew from grassroots efforts around the United States, but actions taken by people with disabilities in Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco were especially critical. For decades now, the Bay Area disability community has been a wellspring of activism, innovation, and transformational change.  

  • Latin American Immigration to Northern California: The Dilemmas of Incorporation

Saturday, Aug. 16, 4:30 – 6:10 pm (Hilton, Continental Parlor 2)

In the last two decades, there has been a growing number of Latin American migrants in Northern California. The region now has a diverse immigrant population and supports pro-immigrant policies and services. Despite this important demographic growth, sociologists have under-researched this geographic region. This session will focus on understanding the incorporation process of Latin American immigrants in Northern California. Panelists will analyze how immigrants have fared in employment, education, civic engagement, and assimilation in general.

  • Social Justice Youth-Style: Bay Area Youth Activists’ Perspectives on Race, Education, and Coalition Politics

Sunday, Aug. 17, 8:30 – 10:10 am (Hilton, Continental Parlor 1)

The Bay Area is a national epicenter for youth organizing, and young people are playing a key role in educational, racial, gender, and labor justice movements, among many other struggles. Centered on the perspectives of youth activists and organizers, this session will explore how these young people understand issues of injustice in their communities, and how they organize to tackle these problems. Young people will speak about how their organizing strategies converge with and diverge from adult-led strategies, the constraints and possibilities of operating in specific non-profit contexts, and the role that youth play in larger social movement coalitions.

  • Evolving Oakland: Protesting Poverty, Fighting Inequality, Engaging the Community

Sunday, Aug. 17, 10:30 am – 12:10 pm (Hilton, Continental Parlor 7)

In the last five years, multiple events have shaped an evolving Oakland. Crime rates are down, inequality is increasing, gentrification is being contested, and artists are flourishing. This session will explore how grassroots and community groups are working to protest poverty, fight inequality, challenge gentrification, and hold city bureaucracy accountable. Panelists will discuss diverse models of community engagement and grassroots activism from various Oakland groups and how their work contributes to social justice in Oakland and the Bay Area.

  • The Challenges of Public Sociology in Contested Areas: The Case of Abortion

Sunday, Aug. 17, 2:30 – 4:10 pm (Parc 55, Cyril Magnin I)

Panelists will discuss the particular challenges that arise for those committed to public sociology when they research an issue that is deeply contested, when activists on both sides of the issue closely monitor this research, and when the researchers themselves often have strong partisan views about the issue in question. Using the issue of abortion as a case in point, three sociologists located in a highly progressive medical school (University of California-San Francisco), itself located in the liberal city of San Francisco, will discuss their research on various aspects of the abortion conflict in the United States and how they meet the challenges that arise in their own work.

  • The Phoenix Rises Again But For Whom? Understanding Super-Gentrification in San Francisco

Monday, Aug. 18, 8:30 – 10:10 am (Parc 55, Cyril Magnin II)

San Francisco has a long history of renewal, invention, and change as symbolically represented by the phoenix, a mythical bird reborn from the ashes of its own destruction, on the city and county’s official flag. Whether it be the mid-19th century fires, the great 1906 earthquake and fire, the 1950s urban renewal changes and displacement, the 1970s emergence of the Castro, or the 1990s dot-com boom, San Francisco’s geographic and cultural landscapes have continually shifted much like the tectonic plates upon which it resides. Twenty-first century San Francisco is undergoing a very different rebirth fueled by an influx of tech wealth, a luxury-housing boom, dwindling leasable office space, and highly accelerating eviction notices and rental increases for long-time residents. In this session, sociologists, housing advocates, journalists, and geographers will discuss the nature of San Francisco’s current super-gentrification trend and both its short- and long-term implications.

  • Teaching About Race in a “Diverse” Place

Monday, Aug. 18, 2:30 – 4:10 pm (Hilton, Golden Gate 4)

In seemingly liberal or progressive spaces, certain unique challenges emerge when teaching about race and ethnicity. Particularly, racism is often perceived to occur elsewhere or is seen as a thing of the past, so faculty face the challenge of teaching about an issue some no longer consider relevant. The Bay Area, despite its long history of immigration and progressive politics, is not immune to incidents of racism or hate crimes. This panel will examine not only how race and ethnicity are approached in the classroom, but also how students, faculty, and staff perceive the topic of diversity in campus settings.

CONTACT: Daniel Fowler, ASA Media Relations Manager,, (202) 527-7885


About the American Sociological Association
The American Sociological Association (, founded in 1905, is a non-profit membership association dedicated to serving sociologists in their work, advancing sociology as a science and profession, and promoting the contributions to and use of sociology by society.

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