November 2010 Issue • Volume 38 • Issue 8

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Major ASA Award Recipients
Honored in Atlanta

The American Sociological Association (ASA) presented the 2010 major awards at this year’s Annual Meeting on August 15 in Atlanta, GA. The Awards Ceremony, 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. Below are the profiles of awardees.

Alejandro Portes


Alejandro Portes

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

The W.E.B. DuBois Career of Distinguished Scholarship Award honors scholars who have shown outstanding commitment to the profession of sociology and whose cumulative work has contributed in important ways to the advancement of the discipline. Alejandro Portes’ innovative, agenda-setting, systematic, and wide-ranging body of work and his commitment to advancing the discipline of sociology precisely captures this goal. Portes is a world-renowned scholar of international migration, who, in the process of advancing the sociology of immigration, has forged numerous conceptual and methodological innovations. His work is theoretically rich, empirically grounded, and has significant policy implications. Further, Portes’ scholarship has ranged across several major domains of sociology, from economic and political sociology to national development, urbanization, the informal economy, Latin American politics and class structures, and U.S.-Cuba relations.

In his myriad studies, Portes has analyzed the causes and consequences of immigration, the structures of informal economies and the lived experiences of those within them, immigrant transnational communities, and ethnic enclaves. He has brought systematic and abundant data to bear on the complex trajectories of immigrant assimilation. Portes has drawn from an array of sociological methodologies for his studies: Survey research that incorporates both longitudinal and comparative data, participant observation within communities, and incisive syntheses of the available literature. Recognizing the collective nature of such work, Portes has, throughout his career, sought to work collaboratively with other scholars, including those senior and junior researchers trained in local settings to help carry out studies elsewhere.

Portes’ contributions to political sociology began early, as he researched his doctoral dissertation on political radicalism among low-income urban dwellers in squatter settlements in Chile. At the same time, he developed a project studying the adaptation of Cuban families resettled in the Milwaukee area, anticipating his emerging focus on immigration.

The study of immigration in all of its aspects became a major focus in the work of Portes. A longitudinal and comparative analysis of Cuban and Mexican immigrants to the United States led Portes to coin the term "ethnic enclave." Finding that the Cuban arrivals created highly entrepreneurial enclaves for themselves and subsequent co-national immigrants, more so than Mexican arrivals, Portes thus identified structural variability in immigrant mobility. Several important articles and the book, Latin Journey: Cuban and Mexican immigrants in the United States (with Robert L. Bach), presented the findings of this work. Another project compared the life trajectories of Cuban refugees arriving during the 1980 Mariel boat-lift with those refugees arriving from Haiti at the same time. Out of this work came the prize winning book (with Alex Stepick) City on the Edge: The Transformation of Miami.

Portes’ work on immigration significantly expanded to include the children of immigrants growing up in the United States. Along with Ruben G. Rumbaut, Portes launched the Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Study (CILS). With the assistance of local field teams, they interviewed more than 5,000 children of immigrants in several U.S. cities multiple times, to learn about the trajectories of the lives of these young people. Emerging out of this study was the innovative sociological concept of "segmented assimilation," and the concomitant identification of the problematic mode of assimilation termed "downward assimilation," that children of immigrants from poor working families often experienced. These findings have led Portes to offer a complex critique of extant theories of immigrant assimilation, one of his many major paradigm-setting contributions to the field. The results of the DILS study were published in the book, Legacies: the Story of the Immigrant Second Generation (with Ruben Rumbaut).

Portes is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, and was President of the American Sociological Association in 1998-99. Cited as one of the "most prolific" sociologists, Portes’ books have won numerous awards from both major sociological and anthropological associations. He has chaired the sociology departments of both Johns Hopkins and Princeton University. With this award, we acknowledge the full reach of Alejandro Portes’ lifetime contributions to our discipline.

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Philip Kasinitz, John H. Mollenkopf, Mary C. Waters, and
Jennifer Holdaway for Inheriting the City


Philip Kasinitz

Distinguished Book Award

Inheriting the City: The Children of Immigrants Come of Age (Russell Sage & Harvard University Press), jointly co-authored by Philip Kasinitz, John H. Mollenkopf, Mary C. Waters, and Jennifer Holdaway, is the winner of the Distinguished Book Award. Inheriting the City describes the results of a decade-long study, funded by the National Institute for the Study of Child Health and Development, the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, the UJA-Federation of Greater New York, and the MacArthur Foundation. The authors conducted 3,415 telephone interviews and 330 open-ended follow-up interviews of five groups of immigrant-origin young adults and three native-born comparison groups, aged 18-32. They compare the children of Dominican, West Indian, South American, Chinese, and Russian-Jewish immigrants with native-born black, white, and Latino New Yorkers in order to determine both the costs and benefits of immigrant status.

In a crisply written style that combines a description of survey data results with compelling visual presentations of data and excerpts from their interviews, Inheriting the City is an important contribution to scholarship on the life chances and trajectory of recent immigrants in America. A seminal contribution to the literature on the immigrant experience, Inheriting the Children also contributes to public sociology by providing an accessible answer to many of the questions currently being hotly debated in the public sphere. Specifically, it asks how do immigrants from a variety of diverse countries-of-origin compare to their native-born counterparts in terms of their educational aspirations and achievements, labor market participation, family formation, assimilation, and civic and political engagement?

The major conclusion of Inheriting the City is that, overall, the children of immigrants are doing better than their parents; they are overwhelmingly fluent in English, have higher high school and college graduation rates, and they are less occupationally segregated than their parents. Compared with their native-born peers, second and 1.5 generation New Yorkers are more likely to grow up with two parents, to continue living with their parents into adulthood, to have lower arrest rates, to have higher educational attainment, and higher incomes than the native-born comparison groups. Second-generation immigrant’s deployment of multi-generational households and lower rates of single-headed households combined with their lower probability of living in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty contributed to their advantageous socio-economic trajectories, relative to native-born comparison groups.

Although all second and 1.5 generation immigrants were doing better than native-born comparison groups and better than their parents, there was considerable variation between immigrants by ethnicity. Dominicans, the largest immigrant group in New York, had lower earnings and education and higher rates of marriage and cohabitation than other groups. Chinese and Russian Jewish immigrants had relatively higher earnings and occupational attainment. The children of immigrants report experiencing prejudice and discrimination, and as with African Americans, West Indians are more likely than other immigrants to report facing discrimination. The authors conclude with a consideration of the support their results provide for a pattern of selective acculturation among recent immigrants, in contrast to the relative absence of acculturation in the European context. However, interview data bespoke a pride and interest in ethnic identity that lead the authors to conclude that, "cultural differences…seem demonstrably easier to both maintain and overcome than they did in the past."

Philip Kasnitz is Professor of Sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center and Hunter College. His previous books include Caribbean New York: Black Immigrants and the Politics of Race and Becoming New Yorkers: Ethnographies of the Second Generation, which he edited with Mollenkopf and Waters. John Mollenkopf is a Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center. He has written or edited 13 books on urban politics, urban policy, immigration, and New York City. Mary C. Waters is the M. E. Zukerman Professor of Sociology at Harvard University. She is the author or editor of numerous books and articles on immigration and race and ethnic ethnicity, including her recent New Americans: A Guide to Immigration Since 1965 and Black Identities: West Indian Immigrant Dreams and Immigrant Realities, which was the recipient of five scholarly awards. Jennifer Holdaway is Program Director for the Migration Program at the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) and also represents the SSRC on projects related to China.

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Keith A. Roberts


Keith A. Roberts

Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Award

Keith A. Roberts, Hanover College, is the recipient of the Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Award. Roberts’ profile of teaching-related activities is broad and deep. He has managed the very difficult feat of being both a cosmopolitan and a local when it comes to teaching matters by taking on leadership roles and making outstanding contributions on his own campus, in his region, and at the national level. As one of his nominators wrote, "the qualifications for this award could have been written with Keith in mind." ASA is only the last in a long list of organizations that have honored Roberts’ contributions to teaching, including the North Central Sociological Association (NCSA) and ASA’s Section on Teaching and Learning. He has also received awards on his campus and from the state of Indiana. His work on behalf of teaching in our discipline has touched the lives of countless students and faculty through endeavors that are too numerous to list in a citation of this length, but the selection committee would like to single out a few notables.

Keith Roberts has long been a mainstay of ASA’s teaching and learning community. His presentations and publications on deep learning and writing across the sociology curriculum have pushed us to move beyond the practical questions that drive many of us to seek advice in these forums as well as to think more deeply about the intellectual and sociological basis of this field. A longtime member of the ASA Departmental Resources Group, Roberts has led and trained colleagues in the conduct of external department reviews and developed workshops for ASA and other regional associations focusing on teaching issues. Roberts reaches out to the teaching community in informal ways, for example, as an active participant in the TeachSoc listserv discussions.

Despite his position at an undergraduate institution, Roberts has been a very active mentor of the next generation of the professoriate. In addition to partnering with Indiana University’s Preparing Future Faculty program and sponsoring "Hanover Fellows" at his home institution, Roberts has become a pillar of the pre-conference teaching workshops sponsored by the NCSA and ASA. In recent years, he has taken this commitment one step further, by setting up a financial award to help graduate students and new faculty attend these workshops, generously funded by royalties from his popular textbooks and supplemented by funds from his publishers.

Roberts is also an exemplary advocate for teaching on his home campus. In addition to a stint as department chair, where he practiced what he preached by leading his colleagues in the creation of a curriculum in line with the ASA’s Guide to Liberal Learning in the Sociology Major, Roberts also served for two years as chair of Hanover’s Physical Education Department, where he used his pedagogical expertise to guide the department in transitioning from a traditional physical education major to an exercise science major. Through groups he convened and committees he initiated, he nurtured a supportive culture of teaching and assessment among his on-campus colleagues while also providing a means to introduce and discuss new pedagogies.

As if all this weren’t enough, Roberts has also been at the forefront of the movement to bring high school teachers into the conversation about teaching and learning in sociology. With Tom Steiger, he founded the first national listserv for high school sociology teachers, thereby enabling them to enter into dialogue with each other and with their colleagues in the professoriate. He has served on several committees and task forces charged with developing, supporting, and promoting the teaching of sociology in high schools. In 1990, he began organizing workshops for high school teachers, which he has offered annually ever since. As one of his colleagues noted, "few can claim such impact on how sociology is taught in high school."

In presenting this award to Roberts Roberts, we honor a sociologist who has spent his career advancing the cause of teaching and learning. He has done so in all possible venues, from the local to the national level.

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Jan Marie Fritz


Jan Marie Fritz

Distinguished Career Award for the Practice of Sociology, co-winner

Jan Marie Fritz is an internationally recognized leader in the development and practice of clinical and applied sociology. Within the academy, she has been tireless in promoting clinical sociology and helping to create training and certification programs for future generations of sociologists. Outside the academy, she has promoted the use of sociological knowledge and skills in presentations and workshops on topics including mediation, conflict resolution, environmental justice, and cultural competency.

Central to Fritz’s winning this award are her three decades of diligent and effective work on behalf of expanding possibilities for the practice of sociology outside the academy. She is a founder and past president of the Clinical Sociology Association (later the Sociological Practice Association and now part of the Association for Applied and Clinical Sociology). She was instrumental in writing the by-laws and establishing the well regarded certification program that she oversaw for many years.

In recent years, Fritz has become active in the development of clinical sociology on the international scene, where she has supported and strengthened international networks of clinical sociologists. She was a cofounder and past-president of the Clinical Sociology Division of the International Sociological Association (ISA) and has served as a Vice President of the ISA since 2006. Her role has been more than organizational and administrative (although she is highly skilled in both). She is also a skilled teacher who has conducted courses and trainings in mediation and clinical sociology in venues including the United States, Australia, South Africa, and Venezuela, among others. Her research and publications have been translated into several different languages.

Fritz has also consulted and provided mediation and conflict resolution services to organizations such as the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the U.S. Postal Service, environmental justice organizations, state departments of education, and a range of community organizations. She has conducted detailed reviews of the National Action Plans of 11 countries for the United Nations program for dealing with the consequences of violent conflicts for women and children.

We recognize Jan Marie Fritz for these numerous and influential contributions with the 2010 Distinguished Career Award for the Practice of Sociology.

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Ross Koppel


Ross Koppel

Distinguished Career Award for the Practice of Sociology, co-winner

Ross Koppel is a leading sociological practitioner with an extensive and impressive record, both nationally and internationally, of academic achievement, public visibility, earned respect, and commitment to the discipline. One remarkable aspect of Koppel’s career is the unusually wide range of topics his works address, including evaluation research, policy analysis, research ethics, workforce needs, the role of technology in the workplace, medical sociology, and human capital. Another is the impact his work has had on policy and research practice. Over the past four decades, Koppel has published more than 170 academic papers, monographs, chapters, and books, and has several publications in active preparation.

Koppel has practiced within and outside the academy. He has taught at the University of Pennsylvania for almost two decades. As the president of the Social Research Corporation, he serves as principal investigator on a number of ongoing projects. Koppel’s previous research and consulting positions include serving twice on the White House Conference on the Future of Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

His work has had major impacts across society. Koppel is the federally appointed monitor of the Boston public transit system (MBTA). His research on the system’s treatment of people with disabilities was pivotal in a record-setting legal settlement dedicated to improving the transit system’s accommodations for the disabled; his evaluation methodology now serves as the basis for federal evaluations of all public transit systems. His groundbreaking work on the cost of Alzheimer’s disease generated a new way of understanding the disease, a model for determining costs of other diseases, and garnered billions of dollars in funding for Alzheimer’s disease. Koppel’s work on medical informatics has revolutionized the study of the subject and has been credited with saving thousands of lives.

Koppel has received numerous awards and recognitions from professional organizations. He authored the code of ethics for the Sociological Practice Association and the Association for Applied and Clinical Sociology, and served as president of both organizations. Those who know him also recognize his unique sense of humor.

We recognize Ross Koppel for these extensive and far-reaching contributions with the Distinguished Career Award for the Practice of Sociology.

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Sebastião Salgado


Sebastião Salgado

Excellence in the Reporting of Social Issues Award

Brazilian-born documentary photographer Sebastião Salgado is the 2010 recipient of the Excellence in the Reporting of Social Issues Award. This award recognizes the contributions of individuals for their promotion of sociological findings and a broader vision of sociology.

Salgado’s in-depth projects explore the issues of inequality, development, urbanization, environmental degradation, labor, migration, and globalization, which correspond closely to many of the core themes of sociology. Salgado has committed to documenting a comprehensive set of human and sociological issues with skill and beauty, reaching a wide audience through the medium of photography. Salgado has photographed in more than 100 countries, yielding over a dozen major works and books, which he has exhibited worldwide.

His approach, like many sociologists, is to spend long periods of time with his subjects—whether in refugee camps, on job sites, or in agricultural communities, or among herds of animals in isolated areas. He has devoted a lifetime to recording economic and social change and conflict and global development. Through black and white photography, Salgado’s work brings his audiences close to these conditions and opens the door to understanding the human condition.

Salgado never set out to "do sociology." Growing up in swiftly developing Brazil during the 1950s and 1960s influenced Salgado’s career path first to economics and then to photography. Salgado trained as an economist at the University of Paris before turning his eye to visual representations of global social issues. He moved to London prior to writing his PhD thesis and worked as an economist at the International Coffee Organization (ICO) making field visits to Africa. His wife, Lélia Wanick Salgado, was a student in architecture and urban planning at the time and bought a camera to take architectural pictures. It was in using his wife’s camera that Salgado understood the role photography could play in communicating complex ideas. In a recent interview in Contexts he said, "I looked inside this camera and I rediscovered life! As an economist it was impossible to tell the things I could tell with photography."

Within a few years, Salgado quit his job and returned to Paris with his wife. In the early 1970s, Salgado took on photojournalism, first as a freelancer and then with some of the most prestigious photo agencies in the world: Sygma, Gamma, and Magnum. Salgado eventually started his own Paris agency in 1994, Amazonas Images, and continues to spend much of his time in the field, around the world.

As a photojournalist, Salgado photographed Africa, Europe, and Latin America. His first book, Other Americas (1984), focused on indigenous Latin Americans. He followed with a project reporting on the African famine, in conjunction with Doctors Without Borders. A six-year project in 26 countries that yielded Workers: An Archeology of the Industrial Era (1993) and portrayed the end of the age of large-scale industrial manual labor. That project inevitably led him to document the movement of people throughout the world in two publications, Migrations and Portraits of Children of the Migration.

Salgado’s current project Genesis, which began in 2004, sends him to remote places to document landscape, wildlife, and people untouched by human development.

Salgado and his wife founded a nonprofit in the Brazilian state Minas Gerais, Instituto Terra. The organization’s mission is to rebuild the ecosystem through different forms of intervention and to become a center of excellence in the areas of restoration and environmental education.

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Delores Aldridge


Delores Aldridge

Cox-Johnson-Frazier Award

In her life and work as a scholar, teacher, administrator and public intellectual, Delores Aldridge is a trailblazer whose work in the fields of race and ethnic relations and the development of African American studies exemplifies the tradition of Oliver Cox, Charles Johnson, and E. Franklin Frazier. She is the Grace Towns Hamilton Distinguished Professor of Sociology and African American Studies and Associate Director of the Program in Women’s Health Research, School of Medicine, Emory University.

Aldridge’s lifetime achievements indicate that she is a pioneer in every sense of the term. She has been a "first" in nearly every major academic endeavor she pursued: the first African American woman to receive a PhD in sociology from Purdue University, the first African American woman to receive a tenure-track position at Emory University, and the first professor at a major university to receive a chair named in honor of a living African American woman. In 1971, Aldridge also established the first degree-granting Black Studies Program (renamed African American and African Studies) at a major private university in the South, Emory University. These are only a few of the "firsts" in her long list of accomplishments.

Aldridge has contributed over 150 publications to the fields of sociology and African American studies. Her publications have focused on intergroup relations, women in the labor market, male-female relationships, health and higher education in the African American community, and cultural democracy and social justice. Her recent books include Imagine a World: Pioneering Black Women Sociologists (2008) and Our Last Hope: Black Male-Female Relationships in Change (2008). Her work on Black women and gender studies is framed within the paradigm of intersectionality. This perspective can even be found in her earliest research before this became a major approach in sociological studies of gender. Aldridge’s writings, however, are not confined to the academic realm but have also appeared in popular media, indicating some of her engagement as a public sociologist.

For over 35 years, Aldridge has been an outstanding teacher and mentor to countless students at Emory and other universities. Her excellent teaching and mentoring have been recognized with several awards including The Great Teachers of the Century Award from Emory University and the A. Wade Smith Award for Teaching, Mentoring, and Service from the Association of Black Sociologists.

Aldridge’s expertise in stratification of gender, race, and ethnicity, her high rate of productivity as a scholar-teacher, as well as her knowledge and experience in the establishment of African American Studies have made her a highly sought after consultant by many universities, foundations, and corporations. In this capacity, she has worked with Hampton University, the University of Virginia, Yale University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Ronald McNair Foundation, and AT&T among others. She was also the two-term president of the National Council of Black Studies and president of the Association of Social and Behavioral Sciences as well as co-chair of the 30th Anniversary Celebration of the Civil Rights Movement in Atlanta.

Her efforts in the areas of social justice and human rights have not been limited to the United States. Aldridge demonstrated her commitment to advancing the position of black populations around the globe in her work on the Anti-Apartheid Committee of Emory University and as a consultant to the governments of the Gambia, Ghana, and Senegal. Moreover, her dedication to sustainable development is revealed in the foundation she began (with her husband) to provide support for health projects, scholarships, and technology in Ghana’s rural areas and at the University of Cape Coast. In 2006, the Southern Sociological Society also recognized her work by presenting her with the Charles S. Johnson Award for her achievements on race relations in the South.

Given her countless contributions to the fields of sociology, African American Studies, Black Women’s Studies and to her many students, her leadership of numerous professional and community organizations, and her work as an applied sociologist, Aldridge is truly an outstanding scholar-activist. She embodies the traditions of Cox, Johnson, and Frazier in ways that would make them, and surely make us, proud to be sociologists.

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Valerie Jenness


Valerie Jenness

Public Understanding of Sociology Award, co-winner

In 1998, two especially horrific crimes shook the nation and reinvigorated debates about hate crime laws in the United States. In the aftermath of James Byrd Jr.’s and Matthew Shepard’s slayings, Valerie Jenness gave interviews to leading newspapers and radio stations across the country, providing the public with the context to make some sense of the crimes themselves, as well as the growing debate over the efficacy of hate crime legislation. Jenness was uniquely suited for this role, given her scholarly work documenting the social movement behind hate crimes laws and her growing expertise and participation in the world of policy-making.

The skillfull balancing of the roles of preeminent scholar, policy advisor, and public sociologist has defined Jenness’s career. In recognition of her remarkable success at these various endeavors, she was named the co-winner of the Public Understanding of Sociology Award. Jenness is Professor of Criminology, Law and Society and Professor of Sociology at the University of California-Irvine, where she currently serves as the Interim Dean of the School of Social Ecology.

Jenness’s scholarly productivity is staggering. Aside from her studies on social movements and hate crimes legislation, which culminated in two award-winning books, articles in numerous journals, and various translations, she has published another award-winning book and several articles on the prostitutes’ rights movement. A more recent project involves assembling a unique dataset comprised of more than 300 interviews of currently incarcerated transgender inmates to study their experiences in the correctional system.

Jenness’s research does not detract from her equally remarkable service to the profession. She is Past President of the Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP), served as co-editor of Contemporary Sociology (2005-08), associate editor of Social Problems (1999-2002), chaired numerous ASA and SSSP committees, and advised—as a committee member or chair—over 70 graduate students in a career that began less than two decades ago.

This award is given for exemplary contributions to public understanding of sociological research and scholarship, and it is Jenness’s tireless efforts to translate sociological findings and insights to multiple publics that makes her such a deserving winner. Interviews in the New York Times and Washington Post, among countless other newspapers, and interviews on NPR and other media outlets have made her the leading, and often lone, social scientist engaging the public on hate crimes laws.

Her service extends beyond the general media to the heart of policymaking. Jenness has offered expert testimony before the U.S. Congress, and worked closely with state agencies and legislators—including state senators and the governor’s office—to craft and improve state-level corrections laws in California. Her testimonies and consultancies have helped shape correctional policy debates in California and been entered as evidence in a prominent Superior Court case.

These endeavors, along with her scholarly work, make Jenness a model public sociologist. She remains determined to make sociology relevant to wider publics while staying true to her commitment to independent, rigorous, and comprehensive social science research. In her words, bridging these divides is akin to "walking a tightrope," a high-wire act she has managed brilliantly in her young career.

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Doris Wilkinson


Doris Wilkinson

Public Understanding of Sociology Award

Doris Wilkinson, Professor of Sociology at University of Kentucky, is best known within sociology for her pioneering work on critical race theory and the sociology of health and illness. She has a long and distinguished career of service to the discipline, personal and professional achievements, and public education outreach that together make major contributions to the public understanding of sociology. She has served as President of the Eastern Sociological Society, Vice President of the American Sociological Association, President of the Society for the Study of Social Problems, and President of the DC Sociological Society. While serving as ASA Executive Associate of Careers, Minorities, and Women, she was awarded a grant from the National Institute of Education to establish a Research Skills Institute for women and minorities.

Wilkinson was a pioneer in the desegregation of the University of Kentucky, enrolling as a freshman a few months after the historic Supreme Court Decision in 1954 and becoming the first African American to graduate in 1957. In 1967, she became the first full-time African American female faculty member at the university. She earned an MA in sociology from Western Reserve University in 1960 and a PhD in medical sociology from Case Western Reserve University in 1968. Wilkinson became the founder and first director of the African American Studies and Research Program at the University of Kentucky and founded a Forum for Black Faculty, the Carter G. Woodson Lecture Series, and the Black Women’s Conference.

For over 40 years, Wilkinson’s research and writings have helped to bring to a broad public audience a sociological understanding of race and ethnic relations, class and gender, occupations and professions, and social change and social movements on university campuses and in the society at large. She co-edited Race, Class, & Gender: Common Bonds, Different Voices with Esther Chow and Maxine Baca Zinn, and edited one of the first works on The Black Male in America and Black Male-White Female. Her work is contained in Imagine a World: Pioneering Black Women Sociologists. With Marvin Sussman, she co-authored Alternative Health Maintenance and Healing Systems for Families, which emphasizes that alternative health customs and practices do not have to be in conflict with modern medical practices.

Wilkinson creatively uses "social and cultural history exhibits" as a public education tool to convey an understanding of sociological processes. Wilkinson’s curiosity about the subject of 1920s black physicians in Kentucky led her to an historical analysis that included studying minutes from meetings of the National Medical Association, the black counterpart of the American Medical Association. This groundbreaking research culminated in a popular 1988 public exhibition on "Forgotten Pioneers in a Southern Community" that explains how, little more than 30 years after Emancipation Proclamation, 10 black doctors were able to establish practices in Lexington, KY. This exhibit was made into a semi-documentary by Kentucky Education Television and also became a much sought after display at local, state, and national libraries and museums.

Wilkinson is recognized for the application of her writings and research outside of sociology. In the mid-1990s, she joined the widely publicized U.S. Census racial identity debate. Her 1990 article on "Americans of African Identity" and 2000 article, "Rethinking the Concept of Minority," have often been quoted in the media. Her opinions have also been sought on who should decide how a population should identify itself.

Wilkinson’s accomplishments are particularly compelling when viewed from the exclusionary educational, economic, legal, social, and racial context in which they occurred. Her research connects with historical and contemporary issues of great public interest making her findings easily engaging to a broader audience.

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Harriet Presser


Harriet Presser

Jessie Bernard Award

Harriet Presser, University of Maryland, is the 2010 winner of the ASA Jessie Bernard award. She received her PhD in sociology at the University of California-Berkeley in 1969, and has spent much of her career at the University of Maryland-College Park. Her work has helped transform the field of demography by bringing a gender perspective to bear on the study of fertility. More broadly, she has played a key role in integrating gender issues into the sociological study of work and family. She achieved both objectives by consistently making acute empirical observations of things that others had failed to notice. She saw their social significance.

This started with her discovery in the late 1960s that a third of women in Puerto Rico were voluntarily sterilized, and her analysis of the social, economic, and political conditions that led to this widespread practice (Sterilization and Fertility Decline in Puerto Rico, 1973). In her mainland U.S. studies that followed, she was ahead of the curve in recognizing the importance of the age at which women begin childbearing, of child care availability, and of the varied time schedules demanded by jobs in our new 24/7 service economy.

In the 1970s, she conducted a longitudinal study showing that the age at which women have their first birth has as much or more of an impact on their life course outcomes as how many children they have. Her insights affected the later application of event history analysis to fertility behavior and the emerging interest in teen fertility. In the 1980s, she demonstrated how the cost or unavailability of child care was making it nearly impossible for many women to hold jobs, an issue neglected at the time by policy makers and social scientists. In the 1990s, she began path-breaking work on time use, calling for a new view of the temporal nature of work and family life. She showed how common it was for two-earner couples to work different shifts, with fathers doing child care during mothers’ work shifts. She found that poor single mothers were most apt to work nonstandard shifts. She documented the difficulty in finding child care and argued that welfare reform must take these constraints into account. Her work on time use culminated in the publication of Working in a 24/7 Economy: Challenges for American Families (2003). She then began comparative work on the feminization of nonstandard work schedules, examining the relevance of social policies in various countries.

She has been a catalyst for a number of institutional transformations that have brought women’s concerns to the forefront. In the 1970s, she worked to get the U.S. Census Bureau to stop the sexist practice of labeling men the "heads" of households in datasets and government reports. She played a key role in expanding the collection of national data on child care and work schedules. She was the founding director of the Center on Population, Gender, and Social Inequality at the University of Maryland, the first center on population studies to focus on gender and inequality. Internationally, she was a leader among sociologists calling for rigorous research on the multi-dimensional meaning of women’s empowerment, a concept that emerged at the United Nations’ International Conference on Population and Development (Cairo, 1994) and the World Conference on Women (Beijing, 1995). Her 2000 book, edited with Gita Sen, on Women’s Empowerment: Moving Beyond Cairo advanced this agenda, as did her 1997 article, "Demography, Feminism, and the Science-Policy Nexus." She has worked tirelessly for gender to be taken more seriously by demographers as well as other sociologists, and has had substantial success. In recognition of this work, the Population Association of America (for which she served as President) named an award in her honor in 2008, to be given every two years to recognize career contributions to the study of gender in demography.

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Griselda Cristina Mora


Griselda Cristina Mora

Dissertation Awards

The 2010 ASA Dissertation Award Committee selected De Muchos, Uno: The Institutionalization of Latino Panethnicity, 1960-1990 by Griselda Cristina Mora (Princeton University) as the award winner. Paul DiMaggio, Princeton University, served as her dissertation advisor and Miguel Centeno, King-to Yeung, and Robert Wuthnow rounded out her dissertation committee, which she describes as "heavy hitting."

Mora’s dissertation tackles a problem of racial formation in its historical specificity—how has the idea been institutionalized "that Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans and other Latino subgroups share common cultural propensities, and form part of a panethnic collective in America"? To answer this question she used a multimethod approach focusing on archival data; interviews with media executives, government officials, and civil rights activists; and press reports. The result, in her hands, is a nuanced, informative, and coherent explanation of this racial formation.

Much of the past literature in racial formations prioritizes the role of the state in the construction of racial categories. Mora questions this prioritization in the case of the construction of Hispanic Americans. She contends that, at least in this case, ethnic leaders took an active role in creating and institutionalizing official racial categories. The dissertation demonstrates that the construction of the new category, "Hispanic," entailed extensive negotiation and cooperation between ethnic leaders and state actors.

Mora’s research focuses on the United States from 1960 to 1990. At the beginning of this period there were large populations of Mexican Americans in the Southwest, Puerto Rican Americans in the Northeast, and Cuban Americans clustered in Florida. Three ethnic minorities, which, if combined in some form, might provide and enhance "claims-making" ability. Her dissertation shows that diverse groups, including: the Census Bureau, media specializing in Spanish-language programs, and social movement leaders, aided the racial formation of Hispanic Americans because in different ways it served their purposes.

Social movement leaders and media executives aided the U.S. Census Bureau in carrying out the enumeration of "Hispanics," which helped justify the Bureau’s inclusion of this category. In turn this helped to legitimate the development of panethnic organizations and their claims for resources and policies changes. The identification and enumeration of Hispanic Americans as a group helped the media to convince advertisers that the market segment of "Hispanics" was large and that large numbers of people self-identified as Hispanic. Mora maintains that it is too simple to say that the government in some sense imposed this racial formation on these groups. These government agencies instead participated in shaping the institutionalization of this racial formation along with other interest groups. A pivotal example involved the negotiations about whether the term Hispanic was to be used as an ethnic and racial category.

Mora notes that her dissertation involves three studies. The first examines the evolution of the National Council of La Raza and how it evolved from a Chicano to Hispanic social movement organization in large part to gain leverage with state and corporate funding agencies. The second focuses on the U.S. Census Bureau and how it negotiated statistical principles with pressures from Latino political leaders to create a Hispanic data category for the 1980 census. The third examines how Univision Communications Corporation evolved from a Southwestern Spanish-language television network that focused on Mexican Americans into a national "Hispanic" network employing census data to create the idea of a "Hispanic market."

Mora has woven together these studies to create an important piece of research. It is an impressive, informative, and compelling story of the racial formation of Hispanic Americans. logo_small

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