March 2008 Issue • Volume 36 • Issue 3

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08_meetingLooking Forward to the
2008 ASA Annual Meeting in Boston

Plenary Session on “The Future of the American Labor Movement” Kicks Off the 2008 ASA Meeting

by Arne L. Kalleberg, 2008 American Sociological Association President

The opening plenary session of the 2008 American Sociological Association Annual Meeting—scheduled for July 31 at 7:30 pm—will feature a discussion on the "Future of the American Labor Movement." A central focus of the 2008 Annual Meeting theme, "Worlds of Work," is the role of unions in enhancing the quality of work and in providing workers with a greater voice. This opening plenary session will feature four prominent writers and activists— Marshall Ganz, Steven Greenhouse, Sara Horowitz, and Bruce Raynor—who are at the forefront of thinking and practice regarding the labor movement and its role in reversing the decline in union membership over the last several decades. They are also active in developing strategies that adapt to the new realities of the workplace and labor market.

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Boston’s African American Heritage

by Robert L. Hall, Northeastern University

Boston is home to one of the most important urban black communities in New England, and perhaps the United States. The city’s African American heritage runs long and deep with both the symbolic and actual importance in national black life perhaps beyond proportion to the size of its black population. Below is a brief glimpse of Boston’s African American heritage from colonial times to 1900.

Colonial Times

During colonial times the city was part of a web of economic interdependence that included Africa, the West Indies, Europe, and the British Isles. Boston’s involvement in the Atlantic slave trade dates to at least 1638 when the Salem ship Desire imported several Africans. Given its well-deserved image as a hotbed of abolitionist activism during the 19th century, it may seem ironic to many today that Massachusetts was among the earliest British colonies of North America to recognize slavery legally, doing so in 1641. Prior to Rhode Island’s participation in the slave trade in the 1720s, Massachusetts was the principal carrier of slaves among the New England colonies. Even in the middle of the 18th century, as Rhode Island overtook Massachusetts as the main carrier of slaves, Boston-based vessels collected African captives and delivered their human cargoes to Barbados and other West Indian islands or to southern U.S. colonies.

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Progress in Breaking the Glass Ceiling

by Roberta Spalter-Roth and Janene Scelza,
ASA Research and Development Program

The American Sociological Association has been compiling data on women’s status in the profession for more than four decades. The data in this article continue that tradition by providing information on the changing status of women and men who were regular members of the ASA since the start of the 21st century (between 2001 and 2007). Regular members pay full membership dues, purchase journals, and are eligible to vote in the Association. Full-time faculty members in sociology departments who join ASA do so as regular members. The information provided below is collected from the form that individuals complete when joining the ASA. It should be noted that not all members answer every item. About one-third of all sociology PhDs are members of the Association. For these reasons, the findings cited here should be read with caution since they may not reflect perfectly the changes that are occurring Progress in Breaking the Glass Ceiling Indicators of Change for Women in ASA between 2001 and 2007 within ASA and may not be representative of all advanced-degree sociologists.

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