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Major Award Recipients Honored in Anaheim

The 2001 recipients of the major ASA awards were honored on August 19 at the Awards Ceremony during the Annual Meeting in Anaheim, CA. The ceremony, presided over by Carole C. Marks, Chair of the ASA Committee on Awards, was attended by Annual Meeting participants, friends, family, and colleague of the award recipients. The following citations are based on the introductions prepared by each Award Selection Committee Chair.

Dissertation Award
Jeremy Freese, Indiana University (2000), For “What Should Sociology Do About Darwin: Evaluating Some Potential Contributions of Sociobiology and Evolutionary Psychology to Sociology”

Jeremy Freese’s dissertation engages the advances made in modern evolutionary biology and explores their implications for modern sociology. In “What Should Sociology Do About Darwin?” Freese answers that query with degrees of insight and learning that are exemplary. He explores the work of sociobiology and evolutionary psychology, in particular, concentrating most of his attention on the results and theories of the latter field. He examines a number of intriguing results in this field, doing both several original empirical studies of major claims as well as rigorous theoretical analysis of the reasoning and logic behind them. Freese’s work propels sociologists to bridge the gap that now separates our field from the work of modern evolutionary biology.

Jessie Bernard Award
Barbara Laslett, University of Minnesota

Barbara Laslett’s career is the story of feminist sociology, from its emergence over three decades ago to its current influential respectability. As a new PhD, she was one of the founding members of the ASA’s women’s caucus that eventually became Sociologists for Women in Society. That commitment to both gender studies and to the advancement of women in the academy has remained the unifying thread and hallmark of her career. Laslett’s scholarship began with “Mobility and Work Satisfaction” in 1971 and then branched out to follow her increasing engagement with feminist themes and studies that explored the intersection of life history and intellectual pursuits. She has been an unfailing source of support and encouragement to feminist scholars, through mentoring of graduate students, as well as through her editorial and organizational work. In her own career, the intersection of biography with history has produced the kind of sociology pioneered by Jessie Bernard, the blending of scholarship with emotional depths and a commitment to gender equality.

DuBois-Johnson-Frazier Award
Troy Duster, New York University and University of California-Berkeley

Troy Duster is honored for his many and varied contributions as an active researcher and public voice, asking the tough or unasked questions about race, inclusion, and social justice. In recent years, he has made major contributions to understanding the social implications of “advances” in the fields of molecular biology and genetics, including working with the National Center for Human Genome Research. Duster’s sage advice on academic life and diversity issues is evident in his appointment as a Board member for the American Association of Colleges and Universities and as a frequent consultant to the Ford Foundation. With service on such Boards as the State of California Master Plan for Post-secondary Education, the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and the National Coalition of Universities in the Public Interest, and currently as a member of the National Advisory Committee of the Decade of Behavior, Duster embodies the tradition of this award – serving effectively as a wide-ranging public intellectual, making significant contributions to racial justice and social equality in the academy and society.

Distinguished Career Award for the Practice of Sociology
David Mechanic, Rutgers University

David Mechanic has brought to bear his considerable scholarship in medical sociology to important applications. His rapid rise on the rungs of academia at the University of Wisconsin and Rutgers University, however, is but the institutional backdrop for his truly outstanding record of scholarship and for his respected and influential presence in a variety of state and federal bodies, including participation in no fewer than 29 federal panels. In addition to his membership in the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he has served as Chair of a panel that was part of the President’s Commission on Mental Health, Chair of the Subcommittee on Mental Health Statistics, and as Chair of the Program Committee of the National Institute on Aging. In many of the policy-shaping bodies in which he has participated, he has been a clear voice promoting large-scale data efforts that track major trends in health and health services. Probably more than any other individual, his advocacy brought sociology into forums influencing health policies.

Award for the Public Understanding of Sociology
Alan Wolfe, Boston College

Alan Wolfe is perhaps sociology’s premier public intellectual: our ambassador to politically and culturally engaged readers. His writings transcend narrow partisan labels: he is simultaneously progressive, sympathetic, caustic, moral, and traditional. Wolfe’s most recent book, One Nation, After All (1998), is an exemplar of a morally informed, empirically grounded analysis of American politics, middle-class attitudes and beliefs. His book, Whose Keeper? (1989) won the C. Wright Mills Award from Society for the Study of Social Problems. His article “Mind, Self, Society, and Computers” won the ASA Theory Section prize, and was reprised in his creative book, The Human Difference: Animals, Computers and the Necessity of Social Science. Wolfe’s articles, essays, and reviews in numerous influential journals and magazines, such as the New Republic, are filled with sparkling insight, progressive but balanced, sympathetic to all but rigorously critical. In reaching a broad audience, Wolfe is able to convey the essence of the sociological perspective on politics, culture, morality, race, and religion.

Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Award
Department of Sociology, Indiana University
Indiana University’s Department of Sociology is honored for its efforts to train graduate students to teach and engage them in the scholarship of teaching and learning, a truly unique accomplishment among research institutions in academia. Although this award goes to the entire department for its outstanding work in promoting the excellence of teaching, three individuals deserve special recognition: Professors Brian Powell, Bernice Pescosolido, and Kent Redding. Their combined, synergistic efforts have made the department a leader in training graduate students to teach. The department offers a certificate in college pedagogy; special emphasis on the training of international instructors; a graduate teaching fellowship; a partnership with award-winning faculty at other Indiana colleges to plan courses, workshops, and conferences. The department was selected as one of four sociology programs in the ASA’s Preparing Future Faculty project. The legacy of this department shines in its graduates, many of whom have won numerous teaching awards in various colleges where they now teach, and they have published extensively in Teaching Sociology. This department reminds us that teaching need not, indeed cannot, be separated from research and that doing both well enhances our individual scholarship and institutional commitments to training graduate students.

Distinguished Scholarly Publication Award
William P. Bridges, University of Illinois- Chicago , and Robert L. Nelson, Northwestern University , for Legalizing Gender Inequality: Courts, Markets and Unequal Pay for Women in America (Cambridge University Press, 1999)

Legalizing Gender Inequality is a pathbreaking analysis of gender inequality. The authors’ aim was to advance theories of inequality by examining the relationship between market and organizational processes, laying out the mechanisms by which firms produce and reproduce gender pay disparities. The book is a methodologically creative analysis of inequality processes. A series of in-depth legal case studies about gender discrimination in pay demonstrates how courts have legitimated these disparities. The authors develop a new sociological framework: the organizational inequality model. They argue that gender inequality in pay is an aspect of organizational systems, producing shared understandings and expectations about how business is conducted. Their theory provides a framework for mapping historical, industry, and firm-specific variations of how organizations incorporate the context of broader societal gender relations into institutional practice. They make detailed suggestions about how work practices could be modified in order to reduce disparities, and consider the legal implications for firms in the United States. In sum, this is a superb work of sociological scholarship that is destined to have a far-ranging impact through the social and legal sciences.

Career of Distinguished Scholarship
William Foote Whyte (deceased), Cornell University
Throughout a career spanning more than half a century, Whyte addressed questions that lie at the heart of sociology—how individuals, groups, and societies shape each other, how social processes operate at every scale of human activity—and illuminated them with his participant observation. His works are memorable, starting with the classic Street Corner Society: The Social Structure of an Italian Slum, 1943 (which has been translated into Spanish, Italian, French, German, Chinese, and Japanese), and including: Money and Motivation: An Analysis of Incentives in Industry, 1977; Worker Participation and Ownership: Cooperative Strategies for Strengthening Local Economies, 1983; Making Mondragon: The Growth and Dynamics of the Worker Cooperative Complex (with K. Whyte), 1988. Whyte’s analyses on these and other topics played an important part in subsequent scholarly work, stimulating further research. And, perhaps more importantly, his Street Corner Society introduced, since its publication almost sixty years ago, innumerable students the world over to the power of sociological analysis. The American Sociological Association is proud to honor this creative and imaginative scholar. (ASA Past-President Whyte died this year.)