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Greetings from ASA President William T. Bielby

Dear Colleagues:

Atlanta in August—”hotter” than you might imagine. In the 15 years since we last met there, Atlanta has developed into one of the most vibrant urban centers in the United States. There’s a wide array of cultural amenities, thriving neighborhoods, an increasingly diverse population, rich political and intellectual traditions, and perhaps the ideal urban setting for sociologists to explore this year’s theme, “The Question of Culture.” In Thematic Sessions, we will be exploring how has “the cultural turn” has changed our understanding of social categories such as gender, race, class and the way we study social processes ranging from identity formation and political violence to immigration and globalization.

At the Plenary on “Taking Measure of Race,” prominent legal scholars and social scientists will discuss our discipline’s contributions to public debates over affirmative action and efforts to ban governmental bodies from classifying individuals on the basis of race. Our Plenary on “Culture and Political Identities” will explore issues relating to citizenship, nations, and the limitations of identity as a sociological construct.

I invite you to take advantage of the full slate of Regional Spotlight Sessions and Tours put together by our very active, imaginative, and well-connected subcommittee of Atlanta-area sociologists. The ASA’s Research, Teaching, Professional, Academic, and Career Workshops have also become increasingly popular in recent years, and this year’s offerings have been designed to meet the needs of sociologists working in academic and non-academic settings, and at various career stages.

In an era when much of our communication with colleagues is done through cyberspace, we often forget about the human connections that are made at the Annual Meeting, the serendipitous conversations that provide new insights into one’s teaching and research program, and the simple joy of swapping stories over coffee with special friends from graduate school days, and the adventure of exploring a city. Come to Atlanta and enjoy everything the Annual meeting has to offer!

William Bielby, ASA President
University of California, Santa Barbara