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The 2000 ASA Annual Meeting

Sociologists Keep Coming Back to Washington, DC

The 95th Annual Meeting marked the 15th time that the Association has met in Washington, DC. From that first DC meeting in 1911 to this one in the year 2000, Washington has been an attractive site for social scientists. With a theme of “Oppression, Domination, and Liberation: Challenges for the 21st Century,” this year’s Annual Meeting caught the attention of sociologists as well as media representatives. An estimated 5,300 people attended the meeting, including a record number of exhibitors.

ASA President Joe R. Feagin and the 2001 Program Committee took advantage of the available facilities by opening the doors and accepting a record number of suggestions from members. Over 570 program sessions offered a wide buffet of intellectual treats during the five meeting days. Well-attended plenary sessions addressed sexism and racism, thematic sessions delved into the meeting theme, and seminars and workshops provided opportunities to upgrade skills and find new resources. Section sessions attracted good audiences, and poster sessions disseminated information on funding, data resources, graduate programs in sociology, and modes of visual research and analysis, as well as highlighting research on inequality and research by new PhDs.

There were several notable guest appearances. This year’s town meeting on “Who Matters and Who Counts: Taking Stock of Census 2000” featured Census Director Kenneth Prewitt and distinguished panelists. Ralph Nader, consumer advocate and Presidential candidate on the Green Party ticket, participated in a special session on “After Seattle: The WTO and the New World Order.” The Section on Rational Choice brought in Douglass C. North, Nobel laureate in economics, to speak at a panel on “The New Institutionalism in the Social Sciences.”

Special events like the Department Chairs Conference, Directors of Graduate Studies forum, and the Community College Faculty breakfast helped build links between colleagues in academia. Fellows from the ASA Minority Fellowship Program, students in the MOST Program (Minority Opportunity through School Transformation), and Honors Program students had access to meetings and sessions specially planned for their benefit. Film/video screenings organized by Michael Skladany featured discussions with filmmakers and more than one opportunity to see a new release.

The exhibit area was continually busy showcasing new publications, software, data sources, internet resources, and other professional materials for sociologists. The merger of ASA Paper Sales with the ASA Bookstore provided convenience for both attendees and service staff. The location of registration services and the exhibit area in different hotels drew mixed reviews from attendees, but, for the most part, the shuttle service worked quite smoothly. And those who had the time and stamina to walk between the Hilton and Marriott received cooperation from the weather, with temperatures in DC staying cooler than normal this summer.

All in all, the 95th Annual Meeting was quite a success, ranking as the third highest meeting in terms of registration numbers. If you couldn’t join us in DC this summer, we missed you and hope that you can venture to the West Coast next year for the exciting program planned by the 2001 Program Committee. Mark those dates on your calendar now: August 18-21, 2001, in Anaheim, California. See you there!