September/October 2010 Issue • Volume 38 • Issue 7

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Applications Invited for
ASA Editorships

Applications are invited for the editorships of Contexts and the Rose Series in Sociology.

The official terms for the new editors (or co-editors) will commence in January 2012 (the editorial transition will be in summer 2011) and is for a minimum of three years (until December 2014) with a possible reappointment of up to an additional three years.


Contexts, ASA’s award-winning magazine, first published in 2002, is devoted to bringing sociology to a wide audience by presenting the findings and ideas of sociology in engaging, non-technical language. It currently uses a variety of approaches, including 3,000-word feature articles, photo essays, book reviews, culture reviews, and first-person essays. There is a great deal of editorial flexibility around continuing current features and creating new ones. To sustain its success, the new editor(s) should be committed to addressing a broad public through the magazine’s choice of topics and style of presentation. Aimed at anyone interested in the latest sociological ideas and research, Contexts seeks to apply new knowledge, stimulate fresh thinking, and disseminate important ideas and findings produced by the discipline. Contexts’ articles often synthesize key findings, weave together diverse strands of work, draw out implications for policy, and debate issues of controversy about which the public is concerned. The hallmarks of Contexts are accessibility, broad appeal, and timeliness. By design, it is not a technical journal, but a magazine for diverse readers who wish to be current about social science knowledge, emerging trends, and their relevance. A new publishing agreement with SAGE (beginning in 2011) will further increase the visibility and circulation of Contexts.

While potential editor candidates should feel free to submit a proposal based on a sole editorship, the experience in Contexts’ first decade suggests that the best way to fulfill its mission may be to enlist co-editors or a team of editors within a single department, a single institution, or nearby institutions. In addition, editors are encouraged to recruit a team of volunteers, including contributing editors (for trends, books, culture reviews, and photo essays) as well as graduate students.

The key elements of the editorial workload include receiving and soliciting contributions; distributing features for scholarly review; working closely with authors to refine their contributions; intensive editing for the lay audience; composing the "Discovery" notes; helping develop an attractive layout; and shepherding the magazine through production. Unlike ASA’s more traditional scholarly journals, editing Contexts involves photo selection, developing graphics and captions, and working with a designer to create and finalize its unique "look and feel." While full-length submissions are accepted, most successful articles go through a unique two-stage submission process initiated by the founding editor of Contexts, Claude Fischer, and described in the submission guidelines at Contexts also accepts proposals and full submissions for other departments of the publication, including Culture Reviews, Trends, and Book Reviews. With a quarterly schedule and 24 feature articles a year, an editorial team, including student assistants and interns, should be able to handle the work in about two days per week.

Rose Series in Sociology

The Rose Series was established in 1967 through a bequest to the ASA from Arnold and Caroline Rose. The Rose Series publishes high visibility, accessible books (2-3 per year) that integrate issues and address controversies across a broad set of sociological fields. The books are lively and often involve controversial topics. To the greatest extent possible, they will provide the best available evidence and recommendations with which to address significant public policy issues. The goal is to achieve wide dissemination, both throughout sociology and to broader intellectual and professional communities beyond the discipline.

There is perhaps nothing more central to the long-term success of the Rose Series than a strong, proactive editor or editorial team, who need to be energetic and committed to the tasks involved in editing a book series, including maintaining contact with current and potential authors. The time demands associated with these responsibilities vary from week to week and depend on the number and efficiency of editors, but in general, require one half to one full day per week.


Candidates must be members of the ASA and hold a tenured position or equivalent in an academic or non-academic setting. Editors are required to maintain ASA membership during their term of service. Members of ASA Council and the Committee on Publications are not eligible to serve as editor, and if appointed, are required to resign from service on any other ASA editorial board.

In accordance with ASA’s mission to publish high quality scholarship, the following criteria are considered in selecting editors:

Application Process

Proposals are due by November 1, and will be considered by the Committee on Publications during its December 2010 meeting. The Committee’s recommendations will be considered by ASA Council for review in early 2011.

For complete information on application requirements, see or contact Janine Chiappa McKenna, ASA Journals and Publications Manager, at asalogo

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