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Contexts Magazine Wins Publisher’s Award

Association of American Publishers recognizes Contexts as best in social sciences

The Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division (PSP) of the Association of American Publishers awarded ASA’s quarterly Contexts magazine with its Best Journal Award in the Social Sciences. Both ASA Executive Officer Sally T. Hillsman and University of California (UC) Press’s Assistant Director for Journals Publishing Rebecca Simon accepted the award on February 4, 2003. (ASA publishes the magazine in collaboration with UC Press.)

The PSP Awards are given annually to acknowledge excellence in book, journal, and electronic publishing in all disciplines represented by professional, scholarly, and reference publishing.

“This is a very high profile award in the publishing world,” said Simon, “and wonderful news for Contexts.”

ASA “rang in the new year” in 2002 with the inaugural issue of Contexts. It is the Association’s newest entry into the publication world and represents an entrepreneurial foray into research-oriented magazine publishing. It has sought to be informative, debunk myths or commonplace erroneous assumptions about what we know, and foster new thinking and new ideas in innovative ways. At the same time it has remained accessible to anyone interested in sociological trends, social change, and the implications of sociological knowledge for policy and public debate. The magazine is popular among audiences of all types including sociologists, teachers, journalists, students, and the public.

Editor Claude Fischer, University of California-Berkeley, said “Contexts stands out thanks to its accessibility, broad appeal, and topicality. It shows that sociologists can speak, and speak plainly, to the wider public.”

Contexts contains feature articles with brief, readable descriptions of the latest sociological research. In addition to feature articles, it also includes engaging descriptions of discoveries, field notes, book reviews, and photo essays.

In addition to formally recognizing Claude Fischer’s able stewardship of the magazine during its first year (see accompanying sidebar), ASA’s Council at its January 2003 meeting expressed its appreciation to Felice Levine for her leadership and commitment to launching the magazine.

ASA Executive Officer Sally T. Hillsman said, “The ASA is absolutely thrilled that Contexts is being recognized within its first year of existence by such a significant award. Congratulations go to Claude Fischer for his thoughtful and creative editorial leadership and his incredibly hard work in launching a new journal.” Hillsman further commented that in its initial commitment to develop the magazine, ASA and former Executive Officer Felice J. Levine dove into it “with eyes wide open about the demanding world of publishing, but since our earliest work developing this new magazine, sociologists have recognized the profound importance of its mission. We could not be more pleased to have our perspective legitimized by the professional publishing community.”

The circulation of Contexts should jump quite dramatically with the first issue of Volume 2, because Ingram Periodicals, one of the country’s largest commercial distributors, picked up the magazine. As a result, bookstore distribution will more than double, with 773 copies of Volume 2, Issue 1, being placed in bookstores throughout the United States.

For further information on the journal, subscriptions, submissions, or other topics of interest, please visit ASA’s dedicated website for Contexts at The website includes searchable abstracts, a preview of current articles, timely press releases, citations of media coverage, gift subscription information, and regular subscription information.