July/August 2015 Issue • Volume 43 • Issue 5

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Notre Dame Scholars to Take Over the Helm at ASR

Jeremy Freese, Northwestern University

Ahoy! The American Sociological Review (ASR) is sociology’s flagship, having served at the head of our Association’s journal fleet since 1936. For the past six years, ASR has been excellently guided by admirable admirals at the university named for the most important figure in American shipbuilding: Vanderbilt. Now, however, the helm is being passed to a new team of editors. They are based at the school whose official name literally means “Our Lady of the Lake”: the University of Notre Dame (du Lac).

As your steward for this brief tour of ASR’s transition, I have the honor of introducing ASR’s new captains, and sharing with you some of plans they have for directing the next leg of the flagship’s voyage.

The New Editors

Of the three, Rory McVeigh grips the ship’s wheel with the most weathered hands: besides serving as chair of his department and the director of Notre Dame’s Center for the Study of Social Movements, he has also served seven years as the editor of the journal Mobilization. McVeigh’s many publications include successfully navigating the perilous waters into ASR harbor twice in the last year, as the lead author on papers on 1960s Klan activism and the Tea Party. McVeigh is also the author the 2009 book The Rise of the Ku Klux Klan: Right-Wing Movements and National Politics. Before declaring Notre Dame his home port in 2007, he was on the faculty at Skidmore College, and before that, in 1996, he received his PhD from North Carolina.

Omar Lizardo comes on board festooned with many recent accolades, including the Theory Section’s Lewis Coser Award for agenda-setting and the Comparative Historical section’s award for best article. Lizardo is best known for his contributions to how sociologists think about culture, and he recently co-edited a special issue of another Association vessel, Social Psychology Quarterly, on connections between that field and the study of culture. Likewise, he braved the seas alone with a sole-authored paper on culture and networks published in ASR in 2006, and co-authored another ASR paper on historical change in cultural tastes in 2013. He received his PhD from Arizona in 2006 and has called Notre Dame his home port ever since.

Swashbuckling Sarah Mustillo steps intrepidly onto the bridge after her first year at Notre Dame. She was previously at Purdue, where she moved to in 2007 after being an Assistant Professor in Medical Psychology at Duke, which is also where she received her PhD in 2001. Mustillo is well-known across sociology’s quantitative quays for being one of the discipline’s best methodologists. Her methodological work includes contributions on longitudinal data, discrete outcomes, model specification, and missing data. She has used her methods expertise to serve an expansive research agenda upon the oceans of health research. While Mustillo is firstly notable for the sheer diversity of projects she has navigated, the locus of many of her projects have been mental health outcomes and research on children, adolescents, and families.

Their Plans

The new editors emphasize the debt they owe to the great work of their predecessors in keeping ASR as the pride of the discipline with its high-quality articles and orderly operations on all decks. Its longstanding reputation for being run as a tight ship is well-deserved. The great success and heroic labors of editors past are what provide the new editors with a sturdy enterprise from which they can explore some less-chartered waters.

One of the major goals is to make headway into the bedeviling bay of increasing the diversity of work that appears in ASR, especially theoretical and qualitative work. They plan to use a directed review process that involves attending closely to such submissions early in the process and providing reviewers with specific guidelines for different types of work.

They also plan to use proactive identification and a more directed review process for work that has the potential to contribute particularly “timely” input to ongoing debates. They do not want the authors of such work to seek other vessels out of fear of being becalmed by a protracted review process at ASR.

In all, they want a more diverse review process that reflects the wonderful diversity of work being done in sociology. To accomplish this, they plan to make extensive use of the crew of eight deputy editors they selected as well as the many hands provided by ASR’s large and diverse editorial board.

Perhaps most notably, the editors plan an especially austere approach to the favorite editorial decision of pirates everywhere: the Revise and Resubmit (also known as the Arrr! & Arrr!). Like Ulysses with the sirens, the new editors have bound themselves to the mast with a firm policy of no more than two rounds of Revise and Resubmit; indeed, they plan only to use the second in rare circumstances. They also intend to minimize use of new reviewers to evaluate resubmissions.

Together, these ventures promise exciting travels ahead for sociology’s flagship. As we set sail for the horizon, we can be confident in the skill, dedication, and boldness of the new team we have entrusted with its command.

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