May/June 2010 Issue • Volume 38 • Issue 5

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ASA Awards Grants for the
Advancement of Sociology

The American Sociological Association announces seven awards from the June 2009 round of ASA’s Fund for the Advancement of the Discipline (FAD). This program co-funded by ASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF) and administered by the ASA, provides seed money (up to $7,000) to PhD scholars for innovative research projects and for scientific conferences that advance the discipline through theoretical and methodological breakthroughs. Funding decisions are made by an advisory panel comprised of members of ASA’s Council and the ASA Director of Research and Development. Below is a list of the latest FAD Principal Investigators (PIs) and a brief description of their projects.

Katherine K. Chen, the City College of New York and the Graduate Center, $5,900 for Sustaining Innovative Organizing in Networks Across Multiple Environments: Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities-Supportive Service Programs. This research aims to understand the conditions under which networks of organizations that serve aging residents in a designated area can retain innovation. The PI hypothesizes that without sufficient coordination and support, networks risk fragmentation and thus fail to connect clients with services. If networks become overly hierarchical, centralized, or professionalized, they risk losing flexibility and ability to innovate. This project is the first stage of an in-depth, comparative qualitative study that targets four "Naturally Occurring Retirement Community-Supportive Service Programs:" one private co-operative, one in public housing, one serving private and public housing, and one headed by a faith-based organization. These comparisons will help assess how such conditions affect the ability of these organizations to develop and sustain innovations. Content analysis of public and internal documents will also take place.

Bridget K Gorman, Rice University, Kristen Schilt, University of Chicago, and Jenifer Bratter, Rice University, $5,534 for Opting Out or Careers Deferred? Gender Differences in the Graduate School Experience. The purpose of this project is to investigate why women with PhDs in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematic) enter academia at lower rates than their male peers. Taking Rice University as a case study, they will investigate whether gender and disciplinary differences exist in the graduate school experience, and if so, whether these differences translate into unequal outcomes for men and women. The research design follows a cohort of 2007-08 first-year graduate students from the natural sciences, engineering, social sciences, and humanities as participants in order to assess gender differences in MA/MS attainment, attrition rate, commitment to attaining a PhD, and aspirations to a career in academia. The study will investigate the third year of graduate school and to use latent growth curve models to examine how disciplinary versus individual characteristics shape graduate school success over time.

Vincent J. Roscigno, Ohio State University, $6,700 for Political Legitimation and the Subordination of Indigenous Communities: The Trail of Tears and Wounded Knee Massacre. According to the PI, pivotal moments in Native American history provide a window into how race/ethnic subordination occurs and is legitimated by powerful actors, including the state itself. The research project will draw on historical work and sociological theory on legitimacy, politics, and inequality, in order to analyze legitimating discourses by institutional actors surrounding two consequential cases in Native American history: the Trail of Tears (1831-1839) and the Massacre at Wounded Knee (1890). Data will be drawn from thousands of reports and letters of correspondence, housed at the National Archives. Analysis will examine four subordination strategies: Describing indigenous people as distinct biologically, culturally, and/or morally; defining indigenous people relative to, or even oppositional to, white culture; extolling white persons "rights" over the land and the responsibilities of the government to intervene on behalf of white interests; and drawing from such framing to denote the necessity of military force against Native Americans.

R. Tyson Smith, Rutgers University, $6,200 for Informal Coping Mechanisms of US Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. According to the PI, there are currently more than 1.8 million American veterans of the Afghan and Iraq wars. A significant percentage of these men and women will return to the United States after their deployments with mental health problems. Since many of these veterans avoid or fail to attain mental health treatment and care, they rely on each other, close relations, or no one at all to get through their trauma and readjustment. The PI investigates informal networks of care and counseling that operate independent of health bureaucracies such as the Veteran’s Administration. The PI will use ethnographic research and interviews to examine the processes of informal coping and advising. He will particularly pay attention to the effect of male and female soldiers’ networks on mental health definitions and their outcomes as these soldiers adjust to civilian life.

Arnout van de Rijt and John Shandra, Stony Brook University, $7,000 for Why They Juice: The Contagiousness of Performance Enhancing Drug Use in Sports. The central objective of this project is to understand of the forces that drive performance enhancing drug (PED) use in sports. Both anti-doping policies in professional sports and the sports media emphasize individualistic reasons for PED use, specifically rational-economic-based decision making. However, initial findings from the PIs’ ongoing study of PED use in Major League Baseball suggests that the fundamental difference between using and non-using athletes is that the latter trained with other users before becoming users themselves. The data uses a longitudinal dataset on PED use in professional sports. To test the validity and reliability of these data, the PIs propose to construct similar longitudinal databases of drug-testing results for the Tour de France and the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The examination of these three different contexts will provide evidence as to whether the study results are generalizable.

Jessica Mullison Vasquez, University of Kansas, $7,000 for Marriage Vows and Racial Choices: Family Dynamics and Assimilation among Latinos. This project uses in-depth, semi-structured interviews with multiple generations of Latino families to determine how marriage influences identity and incorporation processes. The project proposes to investigate whether Latino intermarriage with non-Hispanic whites facilitates the adoption of an "American" identity and integration into the mainstream for both parents and children versus another alternative. Since not all exogamous marriages are with non-Hispanic whites, this study will question whether intermarriage with a non-white racial group member encourages racial minority self-understandings. It will also examine whether intramarriage with Latino co-ethnics promotes ethnic solidarity and cultural retention. Interviews will be conducted in Los Angeles, CA, and Topeka and Kansas City, KS, two states with vastly different proportions of Hispanic populations and immigration histories should yield information about the experience of race, family formation, and racial identity development in different contexts.

Sharon Zukin and Philip Kazinitz, City University Graduate Center, Xiangming Chen, Trinity College, $5,435 for Creating Cosmopolitan Communities: An International Workshop on the Effects of Migration, Gentrification, and Globalization on Local Shopping Streets. This grant is for an international workshop, to be held at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, to organize a collaborative effort to mobilize teams of sociologists, including graduate students, from New York to Shanghai to examine the impact of migration, globalization, and gentrification on the local social spaces of shopping streets. To jumpstart the collaboration, the workshop will bring together two lead researchers from each of the six research sites: New York, Toronto, Amsterdam, Berlin, Tokyo, and Shanghai. According to the PIs this project calls attention to local shopping as a missing dimension of our understanding of the social, cultural, and economic interaction that takes place in cities. The result of the project should be a series of comparative scholarly articles on urban change and a book proposal.

FAD grants are funded through a dollar match by ASA and NSF. Further donations are provided by ASA members. For individuals in donating to FAD, can send contributions earmarked to FAD, c/o Business Office, American Sociological Association, 1430 K St. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20005, or call Girma Efa at (202) 383-9005, ext. 306. The program director, Roberta Spalter-Roth, can be reached at, the co-director Nicole Van Vooren can be reached at For more information, visit

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