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The Executive Officer’s Column

The Rose Blossoms

Almost 35 years ago, Arnold Rose added to the many gifts he gave sociology by planning for a legacy to scholarly publication. In 1967, knowing of his ill-health, he began exploring the possibility of making a bequest that would foster the communication of scholarly knowledge in a way not met by conventional journal articles alone. As Sheldon Stryker said so movingly in his obituary published in The American Sociologist (February 1968), “Surely, if anyone approached sociology as a calling, it was Arnold Rose. . . . Arnold had been thinking for a long time of ways to continue his contribution to sociology even after his death; and the foreknowledge and imminence of his death only fortified his determination to be a sociologist as long as he lived.”

How lucky we are that Arnold Rose, who lived a short life of only some 50 years, contributed so much to the body of knowledge and to sociology and society. Rose wanted to leave a gift for sociology, and he did so mightily. As consequentially, Caroline Baer Rose, a supportive collaborator and competent sociologist in her own right, shared Arnold’s enthusiasm for the discipline and for making a difference. By establishing the Arnold and Caroline Rose Fund in 1967, he, but really they, made it possible for the Association to create a reservoir of resources to inspire publishing innovation.

For approximately the first 30 years, the Rose Fund permitted publishing the Rose Monograph Series. The mission statement for the Series noted that “[t]he conveyance provided for the publication of manuscripts in any subject matter field of sociology. The donors intended the series for rather short monographs, contributions that normally are beyond the scope of publication in regular academic journals.” The inaugural editor, Albert J. Reiss, and first editorial board embraced this charge. The first two works in the Series were Deviance, Selves and Others by Michael Schwartz and Sheldon Stryker, and Socioeconomic Background and Educational Performance by Robert Mason Hauser.

In the mid-1990s, the Publications Committee engaged in a period of rethinking about the Rose Series and its fundamental purpose to encourage innovative publishing in sociology. Based on recommendation from that Committee, Council shifted the emphasis of Rose to be less single-study monographs and more research-based works that could speak to large issues of sociological and social importance. To help implement that ambition, the Association joined with the Russell Sage Foundation to publish Rose on ASA’s behalf.

What we now call the new Rose Series in Sociology aims to publish books that integrate knowledge and address controversies from a sociological perspective. George Farkas served as inaugural editor, and two books under his aegis are about to be published in the spirit of Rose. The first—Making Hate a Crime: From Social Movement to Law Enforcement by Valerie Jenness and Ryken Grattet—will be released at the 2001 ASA Annual Meeting in Anaheim. The second—Beyond College for All: Career Paths for the Forgotten Half by James E. Rosenbaum—will be available in November. Visit the Russell Sage Foundation book exhibit at the ASA Annual Meeting to see these works on display! (Information on ordering is on page 12.)

For over a year now, the new co-editor team of Douglas Anderton, Dan Clawson, Naomi Gerstel, Randal Stokes, and Robert Zussman has been deeply involved in nurturing ideas and authors to produce books that are timely and at the forefront of sociological knowledge and social concern. Arnold Rose took seriously the meshing of advancing knowledge and advancing our understanding of issues of social importance. He reached across fields and to broad audiences as part of doing sociology. The Rose Series has that very ambition. Rose books are intended for broad dissemination throughout sociology, across social science and other professional communities, and to policy audiences.

The Rose Fund also provides the latitude for innovation in sociological publishing beyond the Rose Series. The goal of reaching across sociology, aligned social sciences, and to public and policy audiences is what led the Association in 1998 to approve the publication of a quarterly magazine—recently named Contexts. Footnotes readers may have already sensed the excitement that this magazine is generating in ASA and in sociology as we look to the first volume year in 2002. With Claude Fischer as inaugural editor and with the University of California Press as ASA’s publisher, we see Contexts as a significant, accessible, and engaging forum for sociological ideas. Featured essays, brief notes on research findings, letters and opinions, and book reviews should inform and entice sociologists to think beyond their everyday work; also they should engage a broader readership about social science knowledge, emerging trends, and their relevance. While the first issue of Contexts will be published next winter, its official launch will be celebrated at the Annual Meeting in Anaheim this year.

Without the Rose Fund, the Association could not embark on an ambitious and innovative effort like Contexts. Dedicated to the sociological imagination, the canons of science, the commitment to reach across audiences, and the emphasis on relevance, Rose pioneered ideas and the infrastructure to sustain them. In providing a gift for ASA to establish this Fund, only Rose himself might have realized what it could mean. I can almost see him reading the first issue of Contexts—such pieces as Alejandro Portes’ “English-Only Triumphs, but the Costs are High” or Barbara Risman and Pepper Schwartz’s “After the Sexual Revolution: Gender Politics in Teen Dating”—and being, as Stryker put it, “properly proud of his accomplishments.”

As sociologists, we too can be “properly proud” of what Arnold Rose did. Since becoming Executive Officer in 1991 and learning much more about the Rose Fund, I have truly come to admire how much has blossomed from Rose.—Felice J. Levine