January 2009 Issue Volume 37 Issue 1

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On the Cutting-Edge of Scholarship
in Sociology

The American Sociological Association announces six awards from the June 2008 cycle of ASA’s Fund for the Advancement of the Discipline (FAD), a competitive program co-funded by ASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF) and administered by the ASA. FAD awards provide seed money (up to $7,000) to PhD scholars for innovative research projects and for scientific conferences that advance the discipline through theoretical and methodological breakthroughs. Funding decisions are made by an Advisory Panel comprised of members of ASA’s Council and the ASA Director of Research and Development. Below is a list of the latest FAD Principal Investigators (PIs) and a brief description of their projects.

Esther Ngan-ling Chow, American University, $1,500 for International Conference on Gender and Social Transformations: Global, Transnational and Local Realities and Perspectives. This award is to support a trip to China by the PI to recruit participants and make arrangements for an international forum in which to examine how women and gender relations are shaped by economic, political, and social transformations in global, transnational, and local contexts. The proposed conference will address the issues, social problems, and emergent phenomena that are critical for interrogating the existing theoretical paradigms of globalization and transnationalism from feminist perspectives. Conference papers will emphasize how theory and research on women and gender can inform public debates and policy, contribute to empirically grounded research, advance feminist scholarship, and inspire collective action through empowerment. Chow will work with the Chinese Women’s Research Society of the All China Women’s Federation, the Department of Sociology at American University, and "Women in Society" section of the International Sociological Association to organize the conference. The proposed outcomes of the conference will include two edited volumes—in Chinese and in English.

Joanna Dreby, Kent State University, $7,000 for The Effects of Parental Migration on Mexican Children’s Educational and Migratory Aspirations. According to the PI, tens of thousands of immigrants migrating from Mexico to the United States leave their children behind. They seek to take advantage of the economic disparities between the two countries in order to better provide for their children. Many parents expect that by sacrificing in low-wage jobs in the United States, they will ultimately prevent their children from having to migrate for work. The proposed study asks whether parents are able to translate their sacrifices into gains for their children. Alternatively, does separation create such discord in their families that children’s grades suffer and they too migrate? The PI proposes to use survey data of 3,500 Mexican school children in grades 6-12 to test whether or not parental migration significantly changes children’s educational aspirations and their desire to migrate. Findings will help to suggest the consequences that some contemporary migration patterns have for individual families and, specifically, for the future of their children.

Lynn Fujiwara, University of Oregon, $7,000 for The Politics of Removal: Forced Deportations, Exclusion, and the Impact on Immigrant Families. According to the PI, contemporary immigration in the United States remains an often volatile, policy-driven matter. Immigration policies passed in the 1990s and in the post-Patriot Act context, have led to the drastic increase of forced removals of undocumented and legally residing immigrants. Despite these conditions, very little attention has focused on the conditions and experiences of the families who remain behind. This research will study Cambodian and Latino families, two targets of recent legislative policies. With the increasing raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement on predominantly Latino labor sites, families have struggled economically and emotionally with the loss of family members. The study begins with participatory activist research with community organizations engaged in advocacy and service for immigrant families affected by forced removal. Once key families are identified, the PI will engage in in-depth interviews to gain a more nuanced understanding of how their newly formed transnational families are coping with the loss of their family member.

Meredith Kleykamp, University of Kansas, $7,000 for From War to Work: How Employers Shape Veterans’ Transition into the Civilian Labor Market. This research seeks to understand how recently separated military veterans make transitions back into the civilian labor force. In particular, it focuses attention on the role of employers. Employers are key agents in the transition from military to civilian work because they must make sense and meaning of information about military service and military work experience when making hiring and pay decisions. The purpose of the research is to measure whether employers exhibit discriminatory or preferential attitudes toward and treatment of military veterans in the hiring process, and how this differs by race/ethnicity, gender, and labor market location. The PI will conduct and analyze in-depth interviews with employers to supplement experimental data currently being collected. These interviews allow for more detailed and nuanced explorations of how employers judge military experience in evaluating potential employees.

Katrina Bell McDonald, Johns Hopkins University, $7,000 for The Successful Black Marriage Study. According to the PI, there is a heightened interest in the promotion of "healthy" heterosexual marriage by scholars, policymakers, and grassroots organizations since the enactment of the 1996 welfare reform law. While this initiative grew primarily out of the desire to reduce welfare budgets by reducing out-of-wedlock childbearing among the poor, recent reports that "marriage works" have helped to (re)ignite the promotion of marriage more generally. However, little research has been conducted to determine what provides for black marital longevity. Almost all research on black marriages has focused on why couples do not marry or why they divorce. The goal of the proposed research is to explore black marital success through an in-depth, qualitative investigation of contemporary black married life. In addition, this research seeks to help disentangle the frequent confounding of race and class by conducting direct comparisons between white couples and black couples of different ethnicities from the lower to middle socioeconomic strata.

Christina A. Sue, University of Colorado-Boulder, $6884, for John or Juan? How Mexican and Mexican-American Parents Choose Names for Their Children. According to the PI, selecting a name for a child represents an important cultural decision. Names often signify ethnic identity, particularly the identity that parents would like their children to have. For immigrants and their descendants, first names can be a powerful sociological indicator of socio-cultural assimilation. In this study, the PI will examine the naming practices of Mexican and Mexican-American parents who gave birth to children in Los Angeles County. Through a series of interviews, she will focus on the process of bestowing a name on a child. One of the goals of this research is to inform the current debate between classical theories and ethnic maintenance theories of assimilation. In addition, by looking at the names that parents choose for daughters compared to sons, the PI will address the role of gender in the assimilation process.

FAD grants are funded through a dollar-for-dollar match by ASA and NSF. It provides awards to sociologists at all levels and all types of institutions for cutting-edge research and conferences. Send contributions to FAD, c/o Business Office, American Sociological Association, 1430 K St. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20005, or call Girma Efa at (202) 383-9005, ext. 306. The program director, Roberta Spalter-Roth, can be reached at spalter-roth@asanet.org. Submissions for future rounds of the program will be done electronically. For more information, visit www.asanet.org/cs/root/leftnav/funding/funding_overview. logo_small


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