November 2008 Issue • Volume 36 • Issue 8

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Major ASA Award Recipients Honored in Boston

The American Sociological Association (ASA) presented the 2008 major awards at this year’s Annual Meeting on August 2 in Boston. The Awards Ceremony, which was followed by the Presidential Address, was well attended. These awards are given to sociologists for their outstanding publications, achievements in the scholarship, teaching, and practice of sociology, as well as for their overall advancement of the discipline. Following is the list of awardees.

Barbara Reskin

W.E.B. DuBois Career Award for Distinguished Scholarship


Barbara Reskin

Barbara Reskin’s theoretical and empirical writings have reoriented research on gender and racial inequalities, particularly in employment, and serve as a model for sociological scholarship that is theoretically rich and politically relevant. Through her path-breaking publications on gender segregation and affirmative action, her membership on and directorship of influential National Academy of Sciences committees, her service as Vice President and President of the ASA, and her applied work on issues related to employment inequalities, she has contributed to the advancement of our discipline in the academy and beyond. For these signal achievements, we honor her.

Reskin’s contributions to analyses of gender and work began early with her dissertation on the careers of chemists. Contrary to prior research, Reskin argued that scientific fields do not follow norms of universalism. Rather, the determinants of achievement differed markedly for men and women. For example, women received less prestigious postdoctoral fellowships than men on average. Her data were consistent with the operation of discriminatory practices within scientific fields.

Reskin followed with cutting-edge research and insightful reviews that transformed scholarship on occupational sex segregation by reframing the debate and asserting the importance of analyzing both distal and proximal causal mechanisms. Her books, Sex Segregation in the Workplace and Women’s Work, Men’s Work (with Heidi Hartmann) introduced the crucial distinction between occupational segregation and job segregation; they are widely considered classics in the field. Reskin’s Cheryl Miller Lecture, "Bringing the Men Back In," further exemplifies the theoretical reach of her early work. She argued that standard explanations of the wage gap were too narrow: They ignored men’s incentives to preserve their own advantage, their ability to change the rules to do so, and the ways they differentiated themselves from the subordinate group. Following this logic, Reskin expressed skepticism that policies such as comparable worth would create lasting change because vested interests would subvert them.

Reskin’s Job Queues, Gender Queues (with Patricia Roos) pushed the field to move beyond questions of whether gender inequalities exist to questions of why and how. Using case studies of occupations that experienced a disproportionate influx of women workers, Job Queues showed that the jobs that become available to women are those that become unattractive to men (because of reduced wages, lowered autonomy, and deskilling). More recently, Reskin has extended her work through analyses of how organizational practices enhance or suppress gender and racial bias in employment and of the interaction of race and gender in the labor market. Throughout her career, and perhaps most eloquently in her 2002 ASA Presidential Address, Reskin has challenged us to identify the mechanisms, rather than the motives, that foster and sustain ascriptive inequalities. By understanding those mechanisms we can develop policies that promote equality.

Reskin has brought deep insight and empirical rigor to her work on affirmative action, a topic in which she became deeply engaged while ASA President. She prepared a final report on affirmative action that emphasized the distinction between the dramatic rhetoric of affirmative action in public discourse and the mundane realities of the employment policies and recruitment practices that undermine or support it. She wrote the amicus curiae brief for the U.S. Supreme Court hearing in Grutter v. Bollinger, which later formed the nucleus of Justice O’Connor’s opinion.

Reskin’s work has been influential far beyond sociology. The almost 2,000 citations to her work extend across industrial relations, management studies, social work, psychology, political science, education, and law, among other fields. Reskin also has mentored many young scholars who have made important contributions. Her colleagues testify to her continuing involvement in graduate student mentorship through the intensive training she provides her advisees as well as her professional development workshops.

Barbara Reskin received the Distinguished Scholar Award from the ASA’s Section on Sex and Gender in 1995 and the Mentorship Award from the Sociologists for Women in Society in 1998. She became a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2001, S. Frank Miyamoto Professor of Sociology at the University of Washington in 2002, and a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences in 2006. With the Association’s most esteemed award, we acknowledge and honor her outstanding commitment to the discipline and her pioneering contributions to research on gender and racial inequalities.

Robert Courtney Smith

Distinguished Book Award


Robert Courtney Smith

Mexican New York: Transnational Lives of New Immigrants by Robert Courtney Smith is an ambitious, methodologically meticulous analysis of the lives of Mexican immigrants both in New York City and in their regular visits back to Mexico. Based on 15 years of ethnographic research in New York City and Puebla, Mexico, Mexican New York is ethnographic research at its best. It is a timely and important book that offers significant contributions to a dizzying number of areas within sociology. The book shows how migration decisions, assimilation patterns, gender relations among both first and second generation immigrants, the development of adolescent identities, religious experiences, political participation in American and Mexican communities, the process of racialization, social mobility patterns through the life course, and the participation in gangs are all influenced by transnational life and how transnational lives are influenced by the above social processes.

Smith convincingly argues that it is a mistake to treat transnationalism as a separate phenomenon from assimilation. Rather, he shows through various examples that to understand the assimilation experiences of U.S. immigrants it is necessary to study their ongoing transnational experiences. Similarly, the transnational lives of these migrants cannot be fully understood without analyzing their complex assimilation experiences. By looking at the daily lives of Mexican migrants both in the United States and in Mexico, Smith is able to illustrate globalization in intimately human terms and to show how globalization affects individuals and communities across national borders.

Smith demonstrates that we cannot understand the experiences of migrants without understanding their daily lives in both their countries of origin and their countries of destination. Furthermore, we must understand the reasons for and the consequences of their ongoing relationships within and between these countries. Smith’s nuanced and complex book argues that the experience of migration and transnationalism has lasting consequences for the individual identities of migrants and for the multiple communities in which they live. For instance, in both Puebla and New York City the migrants’ transnational experiences have an influence upon electoral politics, youth culture, gang participation, and the meanings of gender and sexuality.

Smith offers us an academically rigorous yet emotionally moving account of migration and transnational life. Passionate about the issues he analyzes and sympathetic to those he studies, Smith is also strikingly honest. He explains the ways in which positive as well as negative assimilation occurs and he vividly illustrates the many tensions that exist in the lives of transnational migrants; tensions between those who migrate and those who don’t, between those who return to Mexico and those who don’t, between men and women, between first and second generation immigrants, between parents and children, between political interests, and between gang members and the college-bound.

In spite of his PhD from Columbia University in political science (for which we will forgive him), Robert C. Smith is an exemplary practitioner of public sociology. In addition to his advocacy for Mexican American immigrants in New York City, he is the co-founder of the Mexican Educational Foundation of New York. This nonprofit organization has as its goals to “foster Mexican and Mexican American leadership and progress in New York by promoting educational achievement, mentorship, and positive definitions of Mexicanness.” (Smith, 2006). He is an Associate Professor of Public Affairs at Baruch College.

Elizabeth Grauerholz

Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Award


Elizabeth Grauerholz

Elizabeth Grauerholz, University of Central Florida, is the 2008 co-recipient of the Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Award. Not only is she a gifted teacher and accomplished textbook author, but her tireless efforts to improve teaching throughout the discipline and her contributions to scholarship on teaching and learning are truly remarkable.

Since 1988, she has published a dozen articles or chapters on teaching, including six articles in Teaching Sociology. The earliest of these explored innovative techniques for enhancing active learning in the classroom, including "role taking" (1989) and "This Is Jeopardy" (1991), a creative look at making exam preparation fun and challenging. Subsequent articles explored a range of topics, including pedagogical ethics (1994), writing intensive courses (1999), deep learning (2001), critical thinking (2003), and instructional goals in the teaching of sociology. As Associate Editor and then two-term editor of Teaching Sociology, she helped strengthen the field and raised the level of scholarship in the journal by providing insightful critiques and supportive editorial suggestions. As editor, she implemented a new, innovative type of journal article—the application piece—designed to address how a specific article in a leading research journal can be used in teaching sociology.

Grauerholz has produced teaching materials for the ASA Teaching Resource Center and is the author of other instructional materials, syllabi, web supplements, and reviews focused on the social psychology and sociology of families, sexual coercion, writing, photographic essays, research projects, teaching, and publishing in sociology. She has presented 50 workshops, lectures, and presentations on teaching sociology or on the scholarship of teaching and learning to audiences ranging from national, regional, and state associations to universities, colleges, and departments. She has played an active role in training and mentoring students and faculty members to become better teachers. At Purdue University, she earned multiple teaching awards, was an Instructional Development Specialist, served as Interim Director of the Center for Instructional Excellence, and represented the discipline at the American Association of Higher Education Conference on Preparing Future Faculty. At the University of Central Florida, she holds a senior faculty appointment in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning where she works with faculty from various disciplines to improve their teaching and to better understand learning processes.

Grauerholz has taken a leadership role in a variety of organizations promoting effective teaching, including serving as Council member of the ASA Section on Teaching and Learning, as Chair of the ASA Committee on Distinguished Contributions to Teaching, as an Editorial Board member for Teaching Sociology, as a member of the North Central Sociological Association’s Committee on Teaching, as a member of the Advisory Board for Indiana University’s Committee on Preparing Future Faculty, and on the Steering Committee of the Carnegie Academy for Scholarship of Teaching-Leadership Program on Undergraduate Education. She has also worked to improve the teaching of sociology by reviewing and improving specific sociology programs through teaching resource centers at several levels. She is the co-author of a popular textbook on the sociology of families and the editor of an edited collection on sexual coercion.

Grauerholz’s teaching portfolio is remarkable. She is a fantastic undergraduate instructor, garnering stellar evaluations from students, and she has mentored many graduate students while they were in school and as beginning professors. Her nomination packet includes letters from young sociologists whose careers benefited from her generosity and commitment to teaching, including publishing with graduate students and facilitating their assumption of first authorship on joint projects.

Elizabeth Grauerholz’s talent, skills and passion as a teacher, coupled with her desire to understand more about quality teaching, her scholarly acumen, and her skills, at mentoring others, make her a perfect candidate for this award. In summary, Elizabeth Grauerholz is a leading contributor to the improvement of the quality of teaching in sociology and is richly deserving of this award.

Carol Jenkins

Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Award


Carol Jenkins

Carol Jenkins, Glendale Community College, is the 2008 co-recipient of the Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Award. She has worked in almost every kind of institution of higher learning and in smaller religious institutions (Biola University, Tabor College, Wheeling Jesuit College), as well as in rural sociology or applied settings (Iowa State University, Kansas State University, Virginia Polytechnic University).

According to former ASA Deputy Executive Officer Carla Howery, Carol Jenkins "understands the different institutional missions very well and works to help us learn from one another." Her contributions to teaching about rural communities, especially rural ethnic farm families, have been profound. She has worked to cross the boundary between rural sociology and mainstream sociology. She has linked the ASA and the Rural Sociology Society (RSS) to collaborate on teaching and research projects. In addition, Carol Jenkins has worked extensively in Arizona to cross the boundaries between high school and community college and between two- and four-year schools. Jenkins provides a model for this important work.

Jenkins has an extensive record of service to the ASA Section on Teaching and

Learning, with various positions in the section including chair, and has been especially helpful with the ASA’s work on assessment. She is a leader in identifying learning outcomes and measuring their achievement. In the Maricopa Community College network, she has helped many colleagues understand the importance of assessment and how to do it. The Maricopa Institute for Learning invites Fellows to participate in interdisciplinary discussions and projects related to increasing effective teaching. As a Fellow at the Institute, according to the Director, Jenkins exercised a leadership role and helped to mentor the other faculty fellows.

Jenkins is an inspiring teacher. She brings excitement to her classroom, inspires her students, and shares her experiences with others in the discipline so that all sociologists might improve their teaching skills. Several nominators spoke of her ability to challenge and motivate students. One colleague noted, "She excelled among the university’s faculty in pushing students to think deeply and to learn to ask and explore appropriate questions." Other comments described Jenkins as "tough but fair" and described her significant contributions as a valuable mentor to undergraduates, graduate students, and junior faculty. One colleague pointed out her effectiveness with nontraditional students: "She was aware of and sensitive to their special learning needs before it was 'trendy' to do so in higher education."

Jenkins’ experience with a variety of racial and ethnic groups in rural settings and awareness of gender issues led her to a careful interweaving of these concepts as she worked to transform the curriculum at various institutions. She served as Chair of the Instruction and Curriculum committee of the RSS, on the Society’s Diversity Committee, and as Co-chair of the Subcommittee on Curriculum Transformation. One of her recommenders describes her contributions as "a series of remarkable achievements that has transformed the teaching of rural diversity in U.S. sociology."

Jenkins co-authored the first ASA Teaching Resource Center manual related to rural diversity, Teaching About the Complexities and Diversities of American Rural Life (2000). It continues to serve as the most widely used guide to the topic. She institutionalized the first Annual Meeting activities centered on teaching about rural diversity, including paper sessions and workshops within the ASA and the RSS. Further, she has been a champion of including specific sections in introductory textbooks on rural diversity.

Throughout her career, Jenkins has made contributions to the scholarship of teaching. She has produced 11 publications, including books and articles, along with many professional meeting presentations related to teaching and learning at the university level. Her syllabi and course materials continue to be placed in major ASA teaching resource manuals. In addition, she has received numerous grants and other awards related to curriculum transformation and student learning. Faculty at two-year colleges face different pressures than those at four-year institutions, and Carol Jenkins provides a model for how faculty can integrate a focus on instruction with a focus on scholarship. Her record reflects a distinguished contribution to the teaching of sociology.

John McKinlay

Distinguished Career Award for the Practice of Sociology


John McKinlay

John McKinlay is an internationally prominent medical sociologist who has made landmark contributions not only to medical sociology but also to public health, gerontology, sexual medicine, psychology, epidemiology, medical training, clinical decision making, and health policy. He is a prolific scholar who has authored, co-authored, or edited more than 250 professional papers and 17 books, and an intellectual giant with more than three decades of seminal articles in public health and clinical health care.

McKinlay’s research has been conducted within and outside the academy. He is founding director of the widely recognized social science and public health research institution, New England Research Institute (NERI). Prior to NERI, McKinlay was a distinguished academic and administrator at Boston University (BU), holding simultaneous professorships in Medicine, Biostatistics and Epidemiology, and Sociology, and directing BU’s Center for Health and Advanced Policy Studies and its Gerontology Institute. He has been associated with Harvard Medical School’s Division of Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital for 25 years.

His research has made major impacts in the real world. For instance, his research and dissemination efforts led to a critical change in the teaching and practice of medicine. Until the 1990s, most medical textbooks framed discussion of heart disease as a male problem, despite cardiovascular disease being the leading cause of death for women in the United States. In a series of studies spanning two decades, McKinlay and collaborators documented the professional and organizational bias in graduate school norms, type of treatment offered, and technology applied that cumulatively resulted in disadvantages for women in cardiovascular diagnosis, treatment, and outcomes. Large-scale medical studies replicated these findings; but McKinlay’s work is partly, if not largely, responsible for changes that occurred in training and practice. Today’s medical textbooks no longer reify a gender difference in heart health.

McKinlay’s career in sociology and its practice began in his native New Zealand with studies of heart disease among Maoris and the health consequences of migration by Polynesian Tokelau Islanders. At Aberdeen University, Scotland, he pursued questions of perinatal mortality and health care use by very low-income families.

Since 1973, he has collaborated on studies of menopause, culminating in the highly regarded Massachusetts Women’s Health Study. His longitudinal Massachusetts Male Aging Study continues to make pioneering contributions in such fields as endocrinology, urology, cardiovascular disease, geriatrics, and behavioral medicine. He has collected the first wave of a longitudinal epidemiologic laboratory in the Boston inner-city area (the Boston Area Community Health Survey (BACH)). This BACH Study investigates a range of urologic symptoms in men and women of diverse race and ethnicity. With colleagues at Boston Medical Center, he has begun one of the first large epidemiology studies of osteoporosis in a racially and ethnically diverse population of aging men. He is continuing over 15 years of work on a video series of vignette factorial experiments that included the NERI gender studies.

Central to McKinlay winning the 2008 Distinguished Career Award for the Practice of Sociology is his application of sociological knowledge wherever he does research. He not only imparts new insights into medical sociology as with his work on professions and the proletarianization of medicine; but he also uses sociology to identify gaps in literature, frame new research questions, and convince others of the importance of his ideas in areas others may view as entirely unrelated to sociology. At NERI, he trains public health and biostatistics professionals to consider sociological theory and methods in their work and to talk intelligently about sociological concepts. In presentations and collaborations, he teaches colleagues in other disciplines to think sociologically. In fact, his literal practice of sociology has helped change epidemiological approaches while simultaneously nurturing sociologically receptive audiences where none existed previously.

Michael Apted, Director

Excellence in Reporting of Social Issues Award


Michael Apted

British-born filmmaker Michael Apted, who now lives in California and currently serves as President of the Director’s Guild of America, is in no sense a conventional reporter, nor is he formally trained in sociology (although he studied history and law at Cambridge). Nevertheless, his instincts and vision are fundamentally sociological, and perfectly fit the key criterion for this award.

Rather than reporting on research conducted by others, Apted’s documentaries are made up almost entirely of primary material, which he collects and shapes himself. The Up! documentary film series for which he is best known—the most recent installment, 49 Up, was released last year—is essentially a longitudinal study of social class, comprised of recorded in-depth, open-ended interviews. Apted followed a group of English children from highly diverse class backgrounds over more than four decades. The resulting film series has a worldwide following.

In 1964 Apted was placed as a researcher on the project that became Seven Up. He and a colleague were given three weeks to recruit children from a set of strategically chosen London schools across the class spectrum. There was no plan for a series at the time; but seven years later Apted pursued the idea. He went on to direct and produce all six of the follow-up films, and he has stayed in contact with the subjects during the years in between—a formidable achievement. Reportedly Apted plans to continue with 56 Up as the next in the series.

Apted also worked on early episodes of the legendary British TV series Coronation Street, which depicted the lives of working-class families in Manchester. He went on to make dozens of feature films, several of which also touch on sociological themes, for example Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980), a bio-pic of country singer Loretta Lynn; Class Action (1991), about a whistle-blower involved in a lawsuit against an automobile manufacturer; and Amazing Grace (2006), about anti-slavery advocate William Wilberforce. He has also produced an American version of the Up! series for television, which has gone through three installments (21 Up in America was completed in 2006), although it has not received nearly the attention of its British counterpart. In 2002, Apted directed a television documentary Married in America, which is about seven American couples from a variety of social backgrounds as they embark upon marriage. This is the first installment of another longitudinal documentary.

Notwithstanding Apted’s prolific output, his nomination for this award rests primarily on the extraordinary Up! series, his best known and most sociological (albeit sui generis) work. The series takes off from the Jesuit aphorism, "Give me the child until he is seven, and I will show you the man." It vividly chronicles the reproduction of social class—along with a few instances of social mobility—through the lives of the 14 British children first selected by Apted for inclusion in the film Seven Up. Particularly for the individuals from the English upper class and the very poor, the accuracy of the children’s own predictions of their class trajectories is shocking in its precision, although there are a few cases of upward mobility between these extremes. Apted deals with race and gender issues in the films to some extent as well, although only four of the subjects are women and only one is a person of color. Although the most dramatic changes in the subjects’ lives are recounted in the first few films, the series as a whole has never lost its spark; each installment is gripping.

Apted is an enormously talented interviewer (although some of the subjects are explicit about their resentment of his intrusiveness) and—equally important—he is a brilliant editor. He reportedly films about 30 hours for each hour of the final product. Although he works in a very different medium than the award’s first recipient, journalist and author Malcolm Gladwell, Apted’s contribution to the public dissemination of sociological insight is at least as impressive. As all who teach undergraduates know, film and television are often more effective than books at reaching many audiences today. With the current renaissance that documentary film is enjoying and the availability of the full series on DVD, Apted’s impact—already considerable—can only grow.

Cora B. Marrett

Cox-Johnson-Frazier Award


Cora B. Marrett

Charles Johnson, Oliver Cox, and E. Franklin Frazier were African American sociologists who, in their scholarship and advocacy, used the discipline to enhance the status of African Americans in the face of the nation’s historic racism. This award is for a lifetime of research, teaching, and service to the community in the tradition of these namesakes. Cora Bagley Marrett exemplifies this tradition.

In her positions as teacher, researcher, administrator, and program officer, she has been praised as a powerful advocate for inclusion. Whether it was the ASA’s MOST (Minority Opportunity Summer Training) program, her scholarly contributions, or her service as an administrator, Marrett’s career has been one in which scholars of color and women have greatly benefited. From her contributions, the discipline has become more inclusive. As one nominator said, "She was one of the early pioneers who used her sociological skills to analyze the influences of organizations on the careers of minority students and scholars…. [She] kept an eye on the organizational contexts that inhibit or encourage multiracial inclusion."

Another letter of nomination said:

Cora Marrett is one of the great trailblazers in creating opportunities for African American students and faculty not only at the University of Wisconsin but in the profession as a whole. Her scholarship earned her a full professorship at the UW-Madison in 1977, where she spent many years on research on the organizational context of educational institutional contexts and differential outcomes that such organizational processes produced for women and men of color. She was not only interested in the structure of opportunities that education offered but also in the conditions for long-term success. Thus, it is not surprising that [she] left the ‘pure research’ side of academia for involvement in creating institutional conditions in universities, scientific associations, and research institutes that would produce enduring diversity…. Cora has worked diligently to apply her knowledge of academic governance and research infrastructure to change actual organizations. Her targeted audience is often elite policymakers of the higher education establishment, a group that she has long since entered herself.

The University of Wisconsin, the University of Massachusetts, Western Michigan University, The National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the Russell Sage Foundation, and the ASA have all benefited from her intellect and commitment to diversity. It has been said that "[s]he has herself not only opened doors directly for African American scholars, but set up expectations for excellence and opportunities to excel that have directly paid dividends across the profession of sociology and related social science disciplines." She has influenced these changes with wit, wisdom, and patience.

As a testimony to these doors being opened, one nominator said of Marrett:

I was a Ford Foundation Post Doctoral Fellow, a program that she urged Ford to develop…. That program helped me in my career and there were many others who secured tenure because we had that critical year to focus our scholarship. The program is designed with an eye [toward] how minority faculty’s careers [often] become problematic and link [these fellows] with mentors to help navigate their careers. Understanding the extent of institutional changes necessary to actually change the color of the faculty in higher education, she has consistently worked, in many respects behind the scenes to turn knowledge into programs that are vehicles for individual mobility and institutional change.

Whether as mentor, colleague, administrator, program officer, or fellow of some 48 varying entities, Cora Marrett is an exemplar of the contributions of these African American pioneers. She uses sociology as a craft to, not only change the status of African Americans as a people, but to make use of science to replace what was often rationalization and folklore. The award’s namesakes used the discipline to force a confrontation with accepted empirical realities. Johnson, Cox, and Frazier pioneered the use of sociology in search of justice for African Americans. Marrett’s career enters where theirs left off. She shows where the opportunity is likely to lie, leaving others pleased with the outcome. Essentially, she has used the sociology to make the discipline, itself, and higher education, more generally, more inclusive. This commitment and her efforts over her career are the reason she was overwhelmingly and unanimously selected as the recipient of the Johnson-Cox-Frazier Award.

Shirley Laska

Public Understanding of Sociology Award


Shirley Laska

This year’s co-winner of the Public Understanding of Sociology Award is Shirley Laska. She has been an important and prolific scholar of environmental sociology and disaster studies for the past four decades. From earning her PhD at Tulane University in 1972 to her current position as Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for Hazards Assessment, Response, and Technology (CHART) at the University of New Orleans, Laska has dedicated her career to understanding how Louisiana and surrounding coastal communities respond to disasters—natural, technological, and terrorist. Her impressive career includes the publication of four books, dozens of articles, and countless professional reports. She was awarded the ASA Environment and Technology Section’s Distinguished Contribution Award in 2000 and served as the Associate Vice-Chancellor at the University of New Orleans.

It was Laska’s efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina that inspired the Committee on the Public Understanding of Sociology to grant her this award.

Prior to Hurricane Katrina’s devastation of New Orleans in 2005, Laska worked to draw attention to the hazards faced by New Orleans in the event of such a catastrophic hurricane. As the Director of CHART, she worked with faculty, graduate students, and staff on a variety of community-based participatory research projects premised on the notion that members of vulnerable communities are the real experts about the challenges and risks they would face in a disaster. This research resulted in an eerily predictive article published in the National Hazards Observer (2004), "What if Hurricane Ivan had Not Missed New Orleans?" In 2005, prior to Hurricane Katrina, Laska testified before Congress about the dangers faced by the city of New Orleans. In those hearings, Laska predicted that a category four hurricane like Hurricane Ivan directly hitting New Orleans would result in thousands of people dying, tens of thousands more being left behind, and that those left behind would be disproportionately members of marginalized communities. Three days before Katrina struck, she was contacted by the National Weather Service asking what measures could be taken to mitigate some of the effects that we later saw unfold.

Hurricane Katrina displaced Laska from her home and resulted in the near total destruction of the CHART office and library space on the University of New Orleans campus. Despite these hardships, Laska gave countless media interviews, made dozens of public presentations, and met with policy leaders in the days and weeks following Hurricane Katrina. Her work is largely responsible for helping ordinary citizens, policymakers, and politicians understand the results of disasters using a sociological lens. Hurricane Katrina itself is now routinely credited for “revealing” the struggles associated with race and poverty on the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of disaster, but it was Laska’s tireless effort that made it happen. She provided a framework that facilitated a transformation in public consciousness. Hurricane Katrina and its effects changed from an Act of God to a socially constructed event. Using the tools of sociology and her own research, Laska helped educate Americans that environmental disasters are not natural or random. Rather, they are social and unequal in profound ways. Today, almost half of all the residents of the United States (approximately 150 million people) live in coastal areas vulnerable to hurricanes and other extreme weather events. Of these at-risk coastal residents, many are elderly, racial and ethnic minorities, poor, single mothers, and children.

Laska is uniquely positioned to address one of the crucial issues facing the planet in our lifetime—global warming—and the catastrophic natural and human events that will affect societies around the globe in the years to come. She is uniquely skilled to help us understand and prepare for such events, but also to allow ordinary citizens to be part of addressing these monumental challenges. For these reasons, Laska was awarded this year’s Public Understanding of Sociology Award.

David Segal

Public Understanding of Sociology Award


David Segal

David Segal, Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for Research on Military Organization at the University of Maryland, is currently the foremost military sociologist in the country. David has a long and illustrious career devoted to rigorous sociological research on the military. He also works tirelessly to translate the important findings from that research for the audiences who need it. David’s research and outreach—understanding the military as an institution and how it articulates with the broader American society—is of critical importance, especially since the American invasion of Iraq. He has been interviewed on major radio programs such as National Public Radio’s Morning Edition, and has been quoted in leading print outlets such as the New York Times and the Washington Post.

David’s efforts to enhance public understanding extend well beyond media outlets. He has provided important congressional testimony on topics ranging from education benefits for military service to sexual orientation in the military. For example, in 1993, he testified to both the House and Senate on sexual orientation, and his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee was televised by C-SPAN. He has served as an expert witness for the U.S. Department of Justice in cases involving religious discrimination in the military. He recently served in an amicus curia role (along with other social scientists) in Cook vs. Rumsfeld, regarding sexual orientation discrimination in the military (see the January 2007 issue of Footnotes).

A key public that David’s work serves is the military establishment. In various ways, he has helped military leaders better understand the institution they lead and the individuals they recruit, train, and deploy. He has lectured regularly at the military academies and schools, with visiting appointments at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He has served as a special assistant for peace operations to the Chief of Staff of the Army and was the only sociologist on the Defense Science Board Task Force on Human Resource Strategies (1998-2000). For his service, he has twice been awarded the U.S. Army’s Medal for Outstanding Civilian Service (1989, 2000).

His work to bring sociological understanding to people outside of sociology is international in scope. For example, when the Netherlands was debating whether to end military conscription and adopt an all-volunteer force, he was invited to The Hague to provide expert testimony. He also served as an expert witness in a British Equal Employment Opportunity Commission case involving gender discrimination in the Royal Marines.

Perhaps David’s most important "public," and most lasting legacy, is his training and mentoring of students, many of whom are active military personnel. Both by example and instruction, he instills in students that sociology has a mission, which is to serve the public. On four occasions, one of the students in his Center’s Military Sociology Program has won the University of Maryland’s George W. Phillips Award, established to recognize graduate research in the public interest. On three of these occasions, the student’s research had a dramatic influence on national policy. For example, Darlene Iskra’s work on gender discrimination among military personnel stationed in Saudi Arabia fed into legislation to eliminate unequal requirements for men and women, which ultimately passed both houses of Congress.

David Segal has, without a doubt, made exemplary contributions to advance the public understanding of sociology through his scholarship, his translation of that scholarship for multiple audiences, and his training of the next generation of public sociologists. He is thus a most worthy recipient of the Award for Public Understanding of Sociology.

Arlie Hochschild

Jessie Bernard Award


Arlie Hochschild

Arlie Russell Hochschild is one of the most imaginative and productive feminist sociologists of the last 30 years. Through her commitment to scholarship on women and gender, her extensive publications, and her mentoring of students, Hochschild has had an enormous impact on the fields of the sociology of gender, the sociology of the family, and other key issues of contemporary life.

As a scholar, Hochschild has been at the forefront of research on contemporary work and family life for over 30 years. The intellectual threads running through her work are her use of gender as a category of analysis, her focus on emotion as a sociological topic of investigation, and her concerns about the role of women in society. Her 1973 article, "A Review of Sex Role Research" (American Journal of Sociology), helped to focus the attention of sociologists on the study of gender. In 1975, her classic article, "Inside the Clockwork of Male Careers," helped to usher in a wave of research that would examine the intricate dynamics of the gendered division of labor at home and in the workplace. The Second Shift still stands as the central sociological work on the paradoxes and emotionally complex inequities of gender divisions of labor in the United States. The Time Bind moved the discussion into sites of paid work, probing the speed-ups of contemporary work and family. Her co-edited book, The Global Woman (with Barbara Ehrenreich), has called attention to the global commodification of and inequities in carework. Hochschild is also widely recognized as one of the founders of the sociology of emotions as a subfield; The Managed Heart remains a foundational source, and concepts like "emotion work" and "feeling rules"” have traveled into the work of many other scholars.

Hochschild’s research and writing have changed the contours of knowledge in the social sciences and in public life. She has a creative genius for framing questions and lines of insight, often condensed into memorable, paradigm­-shifting phrases, such as "inside the clockwork of male careers"; "the second shift"; "the economy of gratitude"; "the stalled revolution"; "feeling rules"; "emotion work"; "the time bind." These terms have entered into popular discourse where her beautifully written academic prose has reached wider audiences.

Hochschild’s work exemplifies the ideals of an engaged, informed, and feminist public sociology. Her work has had significant influence outside of the academy. The Managed Heart and The Second Shift were both named "Notable Social Science Books of the Year" by the New York Times. The Second Shift, one of the books listed in Herbert Gans’ study of "Best-Sellers by Sociologists" (Contemporary Sociology, 1995), reached far beyond academic and student readers to contribute to the wider public discourse on the gendered nature of work and family. She also regularly writes newspaper op-eds and articles for magazines like American Prospect.

Through her writings and as a teacher, Hochschild has done a great deal to further the intellectual life and careers of others. Her students speak of the long hours she has devoted to mentoring and guiding them. A number of the PhD dissertations Hochschild has directed have become books and many of the critically recognized books in the field have been written by scholars who were directly influenced by her. She influenced students and others to see the world not only through the lens of gender, but also with close attention to the dynamics of capitalism and social class; the distortions of racism and racialization; and variations relating to culture and nation.

In addition to her research and writing, Arlie Hochschild has taken a leading role in developing institutional settings for the study of women and gender. At the University of California-Berkeley, Hochschild was chair of the committee that established the Beatrice Bain Institute for Research on Women in 1986, thereby fostering research on the role of women in society. More recently, Hochschild’s abilities to provide institutional and intellectual space for research on gender, work, and families came together in her founding and co-directing the Center for Working Families at Berkeley (one of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation funded centers on work and family). At the Center, with Arlie’s unflagging encouragement and support, pre-doctoral, post­doctoral, and senior scholars conducted innovative research on “cultures of care” to illuminate issues central to the study of gender and the position of women.

Helen Beckler Marrow

ASA Dissertation Award


Helen Beckler Marrow

The Dissertation Award was given to Helen B. Marrow, who received her PhD from Harvard University in 2007 and is currently a Robert Wood Johnson Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Health Policy at University of California-Berkeley/University of California-San Francisco. Marrow’s dissertation, "Southern Becoming: Immigrant Incorporation, Race, and Labor Market Segmentation," was written under the direction of Mary Waters in the Harvard program in Sociology and Social Policy. Her other dissertation committee members were Jennifer Hochschild and William Julius Wilson. Marrow’s dissertation is a study of the incorporation of Hispanic/Latino immigrants in two counties in rural North Carolina. She examines how both whites and African Americans react to a rapid demographic transformation in counties that had not, in the recent past, experienced significant immigration.

Based on observations, interviews, and archival research, Marrow’s dissertation is a local-level comparative study of the economic, socio-cultural, political, and racial incorporation of new Latin American immigrants and U.S.-born Latinos in the rural, small town South. Her central finding is that rural context matters in several interesting ways, including reducing the distance newcomers must travel to join the local economic mainstream, while simultaneously increasing the social and cultural distance that must be traversed to achieve full incorporation.

Marrow documents how immigrants experience and understand their interactions with both white and black local residents and shows how negative reactions from African Americans lead to a crystallization of racial attitudes among immigrants. She also does a masterful job of examining how undocumented immigrants live day by day. Much of the research on immigrant incorporation has centered on urban centers or ethnic enclaves. However, Marrow is at the forefront of a group of forward looking scholars who are now studying incorporation in rural and suburban settings.

The dissertation is broad and ambitious in that it examines many different spheres of incorporation and assimilation. For example, Marrow examines political incorporation, social/cultural incorporation and racialization processes, all within the context of the two-county comparison. She goes on to detail the economic incorporation of newcomers in the food processing and routine manufacturing/textile industries of the rural South, she studies inter-group relations as the newcomers confront the binary racial hierarchy long in place in rural Southern towns, and she describes the newcomers’ incorporation into institutions such as local schools, court systems, and political movements. Notably, she finds that Hispanic newcomers’ incorporation into rural life differs across institutional spheres and the differing levels of incorporation are affected by state policies as well as bureaucratic norms and missions. Finally, she concludes that exclusion based on non-citizenship is perhaps more important to newcomers’ lives than exclusion based on race.

As a new immigrant destination, the rural South is becoming an increasingly important site for understanding these processes, and Marrow finds great payoff from her extensive fieldwork and interviews. The end result is a provocative dissertation with many interesting findings. Marrow’s interests include immigration, race and ethnicity, qualitative methods, and inequality and social policy. All of these interests are reflected in this rich and rewarding dissertation. small_green

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