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Contexts Magazine Is Ranked Among Top 10 of “New Magazines of 2002”

ASA’s new quarterly Contexts magazine has won yet another significant award! The May 2003 issue of Library Journal cited Contexts as one of the “best new magazines of 2002” (see, and the article suggests that Contexts should be acquired by large public libraries!

Rebekah Darksmith at the University of California Press (the magazine’s publisher) said, “This is an incredible coup for the journal, as it provides unparalleled exposure for Contexts in the library market.” Library Journal’s circulation is 20,800, which includes university, college, and school libraries as well as public and state libraries. “We’re already seeing positive response from the library community from this article,” said Darksmith.

The Library Journal recognition, which follows closely on the heels of the Association of American Publishers (AAP) prestigious “Best Journal in the Social Sciences Award” (see February 2003 Footnotes), further attests to the magazine’s overall quality and promise for growth. In response to the recent accolades, ASA Executive Officer Sally T. Hillsman said, “The conferring of these two prestigious awards in such rapid succession so early in this magazine’s life is thrilling. And, the fact that they come from two complementary communities at both ends of the knowledge dissemination process—publishers and publication users—is more than encouraging. We are absolutely delighted to be recognized by both the publishing and professional librarian communities for providing a valuable service to the reading public, students, and scholars alike.”

Competitive Context

Contexts was selected from among 745 magazines launched last year. The highly accessible content of the magazine is a unique product of contemporary scholarship. Articles, discoveries, and photo essays blend thought-provoking social science with reader-friendly translation of sociological research. Since its inception in the winter of 2002, the magazine has quickly garnered attention from the publishing community, including the AAP Professional & Scholarly Publishing Division’s February award.

In keeping with the goal that Contexts should be made available to anyone interested in current events and society, Claude Fischer, University of California-Berkeley professor of sociology and the magazine’s executive editor, said, “Recognition by Library Journal tells us that we are reaching the wider audience we have sought—and doing so with the same quality and energy of other successful, general-interest magazines.”

Key to Libraries

Library Journal is a key publication in the world of book and magazine acquisitions, as it serves more than 100,000 library directors, administrators, and personnel in public, academic, and special libraries. It began publication in 1876 and is published 20 times annually. Library Journal combines news, features, and commentary with analyses of pubic policy, technology, and management developments. In addition, approximately 7,500 evaluative reviews written by librarians help readers make purchasing decisions for new media.

UC Press Journals Division Director, Rebecca Simon, commented further, “Considering Library Journal’s discerning recommendations for new media and expansive readership, we’re honored to join its line-up of innovative magazines for 2002. We hope that such important recognition will encourage more individuals and libraries to discover what Contexts has to offer.”

ASA first conceived Contexts in 1998 and worked to develop the magazine with the University of California Press, one of the oldest scholarly publishers in the United States, in part because of its command of a distinctive repertoire of periodicals in the humanities and social sciences, with concentrations in sociology, history, cultural studies, musicology, law, and area studies. UC Press ( produces 32 journals annually, including Film Quarterly, Social Problems, and the award-winning Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture. Access information on Contexts at or through ASA’s website ( The website includes full-text sample articles, tables of contents, press releases about specific articles, information on media coverage of articles in the magazine, and subscription information.