FOOTNOTES September/October 1999
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The 1999 ASA Annual Meeting
Lively Annual Meeting in Sociology’s Kind of Town
The 94th Annual Meeting in Chicago—centered on the theme “Transitions in World Society at Century’s End”—lived up to its billing. Sunny days, street fairs, a glistening Lake Michigan, great eating and music, and the ubiquitous cow art made Chicago a perfect place for sociologists to work and socialize. Over 5200 people attended and participated in the meeting. The local Chicago sociologists did an excellent job in preparing Footnotes articles, a restaurant guide, and very special tours of the city.

ASA President Alejandro Portes and the Program Committee crafted three important Plenaries, special sessions, and hundreds of opportunities for sociologists to share their work. Census Director Kenneth Prewitt led a lively town meeting on the challenges of Census 2000. Sociologists’ skills were honed in teaching, academic, and professional workshops and in didactic seminars. The Student Forum made its organizational debut offering sessions and networking opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students. And the Honors Program included over fifty top-flight sociology students who brought the tireless energy needed to navigate a convention.

Seemingly recent innovations are now core elements of the program such as the Chair Conference, the Funding Day events, the meeting of Directors of Graduate Study, Café ASA, the book giveaway to students, the Welcoming Party, special events for the Minority Fellowship Program, the Data Resources poster session, and the Community College Sociologists’ breakfast, just to name a few highlights.

The exhibit area did a brisk business showcasing new publications, software, data sources, and other professional materials for sociologists. Nearby, the ASA bookstore featured ASA publications on teaching, careers, and public policy. And when the need came to sit down, film and video screenings provided just the venue. ASA had not met in Chicago since 1987, and it was great to be back in a city with a rich sociological history and equal strength in the present.