January 2008 Issue • Volume 36 • Issue 1

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Looking Forward to the
2008 ASA Annual Meeting in Boston

The Social History of Boston’s Back Bay, Site of the 2008 ASA Conference

ASA Annual Meeting attendees last convened in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood in 1979, and in August 2008 when we meet there for ASA’s 103rd conference, participants will again be able to enjoy the restaurants, shops, galleries, and tree-lined Commonwealth Avenue.

But it will be hard for visiting sociologists to imagine the pollution that defined this tidal marsh area in the late 1970s. The area has since been transformed into an upscale neighborhood of elegant homes and key institutions whose origins date to the late 19th century. Over 400 acres of new land were filled with massive amounts of sand and gravel imported by train from outlying areas. The fascinating story of social class motivations, comprehensive urban planning, innovative technologies, and entrepreneurial contractors has been told recently in Boston’s Back Bay: The Story of America’s Greatest 19th Century Landfill Project (by William Newman and Wilfred Holton, 2006

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Sociologists Examine the Global Labor Market in STEM Occupations

Sociologists were well represented among the policy, higher education, government, and non-profit panelists at the national Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology’s (CPST) conference, “Can We Compete? Trends in America’s Scientific and Technical Workforce.” The fall 2007 presentations, coinciding with the presentation of results from CPST’s STEM Workforce Data Project, focused on the global issues affecting the scientific, technological, engineering, and mathematical (STEM) workforce.

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What’s New in French Sociology?

In the United States, French sociology has traditionally been encapsulated in the label, “French theory.” From France, such a label is often considered as a distorted picture of past French debates through a contemporary American mirror. This reflects neither the actual history of French debates in the late 20th century, nor the more contemporary state of the art in social sciences in France.

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