American Sociological Association

Thematic Sessions

Engaging Community in Sociology

Social justice emphasis in doing sociology involves engaging with communities impacted by social inequality. This panel explores the ways that sociologists engage neighborhoods, organizations, and other community structures that bring local, national or international members together to develop projects that embrace their needs and concerns.

Participants: (Session Organizer) Mary Romero, Arizona State University; (Presider) Ashley Wood Doane, University of Hartford

  • Partnering through Policy: Organizational Scholarship and Social Justice in the International Domestic Workers Movement. Jennifer Fish, Old Dominion University
  • An Intersectional Study of My Personal Food Justice Journey. Phoebe Christina Godfrey, University of Connecticut
  • Objectivity, Neutrality, Access, and Advocacy: Conundrums in Socially Engaged Research. Mary E. Pattillo, Northwestern University


Illegality and Social Justice Research
What role can sociology play in social justice research?  This panel tackles this question from the perspective of Illegality, a status affecting over 11 million individuals in the United States, and an estimated 15% of the world’s 214 million migrants. Panelists tackle this question from a variety of institutional foci, evaluating the precarity of illegality, as well as the agency inherent in undocumented life. Amada Armenta begins the panel with a critical look at the concept of sanctuary. She juxtaposes this growing local movement to the reality of immigrants on the ground who regularly confront police practices that facilitate apprehension, detention, and ultimately deportation.  Next, Rocio Rosales draws on interviews in two Southern California detention centers with detainees and their families.  Her research informs our understanding of the economic, social and health impacts that detention (and ultimate deportation in many cases) is having. Leisy Abrego broadens our typical singular focus on undocumented individuals by jointly examining the legal boundaries of undocumented, refugee and asylee, highlighting opportunities and examples for solidarity across each.  Veronica Terriquez offers a final perspective from the vanguard of the immigrant youth organizing front.  Her intersectional perspective on immigrant organizing shows how these mobilizations draw together the issues facing undocumented, LGBT, and youth of color across a multi-pronged agenda that includes immigrant rights, but also housing, voting and educational justice. Together these sociologists offer important perspectives on how their research connects to important policy debates around immigration, white supremacy, and the legacy of U.S. empire.

Participants: (Session Organizer) Shannon Marie Gleeson, Cornell University; (Presider) Shannon Marie Gleeson, Cornell University

  • Sanctuary for Whom? Cities, Policing, and Local Immigration Policy. Amada Armenta, University of Pennsylvania
  • Understanding the Impact of Immigrant Detention. Rocio Rosales, University of California, Irvine
  • Undocumented, Refugees, or Asylees? Solidarity across Legal Boundaries. Leisy Janet Abrego, University of California-Los Angeles
  • The Changing Scales of Immigrant Youth Organizing: Exercising Power in the Electoral, Local, and Cultural Arenas. Veronica Terriquez, University of California-Santa Cruz


Labor, Work and Social Justice
Social inequality is evident in the working conditions dominating the economy. Precarious work is increasing becoming the new normal as companies refuse to pay a living wage, offer benefits or employment security. Many workers with and without unions organize around justice by recognizing race, nationality, citizenship status, gender and age differences. Many seek social justice in the workplace by joining other related movements. This panel examines the workers’ efforts at collective bargaining, structural barriers contributing to low incomes and increasing income inequality.

Participants: (Session Organizer) Mary Romero, Arizona State University; (Presider) Katherine Maich,  Pennsylvania State University

  • The Impact of Amazon on Labor and Other Social Justice Movements. Benjamin Woods, Jobs with Justice
  • Regulating and Rewarding Work in the New Economy. Arne L. Kalleberg, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
  • The Politics of Labor Market Redistribution in the United States and Scandinavia. Leslie McCall, City University of New York-Graduate Center; Arvid Lindh, Stockholm University
  • Expanding the Moral Circle: Challenging Relational Inequalities at Work. Donald Tomaskovic-Devey, University of Massachusetts


Critical Sociology and Public Policy
Critical sociological perspectives and analyses have the potential to make important contributions to the formation and assessment of public policy on numerous issues but particularly on those related to racial, gender, and class inequality.  Critical sociology is especially needed today in the contentious political environment associated with the Trump presidency.  Race, gender, and class imbue major public policy issues in the national landscape but they tend to be veiled with color- and gender-blind ideologies.  Major substantive public policy issues of the day that are informed by critical sociology include health care, education, labor, immigration, sexual harassment, inequality, human rights, housing, and voting, among others.  This panel brings together leading sociologists who work from critical sociology perspectives and public policy on a variety of areas associated with race, gender, and class.  The panelists work from various methodological and analytical approaches.  The potential panelists include the following scholars.

Participants: (Session Organizer) Rogelio Saenz, University of Texas-San Antonio; (Presider) Rogelio Saenz, University of Texas-San Antonio

  • Bringing Intersectionality In: Why Separately Examining Public Policies Exacerbates Disparities among Marginalized Populations. Tiffany D. Joseph, Northeastern University
  • Immigration Policy as a Social Determinant of Health. Edward D. Vargas, Arizona State University
  • An Intersectional Guide to the Theory and Practice of Dismantling the Coercive Arm of the State. Tanya Maria Golash-Boza, University of California-Merced
  • Leveraging the Conceptual Use of Intersectionality for K-12 and Higher Education Policy and Empowering Vulnerable Communities. Nancy López, University of New Mexico


Social Justice and Sociological Research
Sociologists have long been attentive to the many inequalities that arise in society, as well as the shifting political and economic forces that sustain them. Many sociologists see their work not only as a means to understand these inequalities and related hierarchies of difference, but also as a way to effect some kind of change through policy, protest, or simply in the everyday. Whether or not sociologists have any success in bringing about substantive change is open to debate—more important, for the purposes of this panel, is to consider how commitments to social justice can effectively guide or inform sociological inquiry. This panel invites scholars committed to a diverse set of communities and interests to share their own reflections on what remains a central tension in the discipline—between sociology as a science, on the one hand, and sociology as political practice, on the other. The following questions will help organize the discussion: What is the proper relationship between advocacy and method? What special challenges must researchers consider as they negotiate and maintain access to a particular community, in light of inevitable disagreements and competing points of view within it? What do researchers owe individuals or groups attached to the communities their work might support? Finally, what do they owe the public at large, which may or may not share the same beliefs or ideologies as researchers and the groups they feature in their work?

Participants: (Session Organizer) Patrick Inglis, Grinnell College; (Presider) Patrick Inglis, Grinnell College

  • Collaborative Justice in Neighborhood Redevelopment: Working with Local Activists to Influence Urban Policy and Create Resident-led Change. Teresa Irene Gonzales, Knox College
  • When a Scientific Study of Sexual Assault Meets Social Justice Movements. Shamus Rahman Khan, Columbia University
  • Inside-Outside: Strategic Interventions in the Black Lives Matter Movement. Keeanga Yamahtta Taylor, Northwestern University


Doing Sociology Outside the Academy: Insights from Sociologists Working in Diverse Settings
How are sociologists are using sociological knowledge and skills beyond the academy.  More sociologists are crossing the once impermeable boundary between academic sociology and sociological practice.  For some the move to sociological practice is a destination and for others it is a temporary sojourn.  In both cases, sociologists find that they can contribute to scholarship and social change from within practice-based institutions. Panelists will discuss what pulled them toward nonacademic careers, how they use their sociological knowledge and training to make a difference across a range of settings and applied problems, and how sociology has an impact through their work.  In this moderated discussion, panelists will address how sociology is perceived and valued in their work settings, their experiences in interdisciplinary teams and settings, whether and how they use sociological language and concepts with colleagues, clients, and stakeholders, and how sociology shapes their work and its products.

Participants: (Session Organizer) Chloe E. Bird, RAND; (Presider) Chloe E. Bird, RAND; (Panelist) David M. Bott, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services; (Panelist) Christine A. Bachrach, University of Maryland; (Panelist) Roy E. Feldman, Behavior Analysis In NY, LLC; (Panelist) Michael S. Fleischer, Organizational Dynamics Consulting; (Panelist) Cameron Macdonald, Qualitative Health Research Consultants; (Panelist) Karen Lutfey Spencer, University of Colorado Denver


Populism: Left and Right
Sociology has traditionally shied away from investigations of populism. Whether over concern for the fluidity of the concept or the methodological problems related to comparison, variation, and confounding variables, sociology (even in subfields such as social movements, political sociological, and race and ethnicity) has struggled with the concept.  However recent resurgences of populism in Latin America, the Middle East, and from the left and right in the run-up to 2016 presidential election, sociology is now called upon to address the theoretical, empirical, and methodological dilemmas related to populism without distilling these issues to matters of political ideologies or organizations.  Without such intervention, sociology is at risk to be woefully wrong—or possibly worse—deemed irrelevant when it comes to understanding the social causes and consequences of populism in the new millennium.

Participants: (Session Organizer) Mary Romero, Arizona State University; (Presider) Michael Rosino, University of Connecticut

  • Populism, Nationalism, and the Rise of Radical Politics. Bart Bonikowski, Harvard University
  • Populism and Sociology: Lessons from Latin America. Carlos De la Torre, University of Kentucky
  • Populism and Popularity: Which Women Count in the “New” Mobilizations? Zakiya T. Luna, University of California-Santa Barbara


New Social Movements
Over the last decade, new social movements appeared in response to police violence, deaths along the U.S.-Mexico border and deportations, attack on women’s rights, and gun violence. What prompts governments to respond to new social movements? What factors feed into establishment and growth of opposition movements? How do structures facilitate and hinder these new social movements? Social change is often brought about by social movements. Are the strategies and tools of these new social movements effective in producing social change that lead to reductions in inequality and promotion of human rights? Or are some new social movements seeking changes that lead to restrictions and containment of fundamental freedoms and liberties?

Participants: (Session Organizer) Mary Romero, Arizona State University; (Presider) Rashawn Ray, University of Maryland

  • Beyond the Good Immigrant: How Identity Politics Have Come to Dominate the Dreamer Movements. Walter Nicholls, University of California-Irvine
  • How the Women's March Sparked the Resistance? Dana R. Fisher, University of Maryland
  • Social Justice in the Desert: Faith-Based Mobilizing to Save the Lives Along the Arizona-Sonora Desert. Kraig Beyerlein, University of Notre Dame
  • The Movement for Black Lives: Power, Polemics, and Potential Legacy of Leader-full Social Justice Action for the African Diaspora. Hillary Potter, University of Colorado-Boulder


Labor Migration
Migration in today’s globalized world includes various forms of migration, trafficking and displacement by war and natural disasters. Xenophobia is increasing, resulting in immigration laws limiting the opportunities for displaced people, economic refugees, and victims of trafficking to find sponsorship in resettling internationally in supportive environments. Increasing number of scholars are grabbling with immigrant justice that crosses boundaries and walls.

Participants: (Session Organizer) Mary Romero, Arizona State University; (Presider) Sylvia Zamora, Loyola Marymount University

  • On the Move: Global Care Migration. Heidi Gottfried, Wayne State University
  • Whitewashing Abolition: Racial Vigilantism, Redemptive Labor, and the Global Fight to Combat Human Trafficking. Elena Shih, Brown University
  • The Return of the Bracero Program: The Migration Industry in the Recruitment of H2 Visa Workers. Ruben Hernandez-Leon, University of California-Los Angeles


Academy in Crisis
Higher education as a means for social mobility in the U.S. is less of a reality as state and federal funding is cut. Attitudes about educating future generations moves further away from being perceived as a public responsibility and the financial burden placed on student s and their families. Consequently, students from low-income families are less likely to graduate than students from high-income families, increasing the wealth gap in the U.S. For-profit colleges’ claims to meet the needs of nontraditional students and increase access to poor students adds to growing inequality. Panelists will discuss the crisis students and the American public face in higher education.

Participants: (Session Organizer) Pamela Barnhouse Walters, Indiana University; (Presider) Pamela Barnhouse Walters, Indiana University

  • Provocations on the University in the New Economy. Tressie Cottom, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Paying the Price: College Costs and the “Reform” of American Higher Education. Sara Goldrick-Rab, Temple University
  • Who Should Pay: Higher Education, Responsibility and the Public. Brian Powell, Indiana University


Educational Justice
Educational researchers predicted that the 21st century would no longer be concerned with racial and ethnic inequalities in education and instead be supplanted by social class inequalities. However, the reality in the second decade of the 21st century is that race and ethnicity still matters. Because educational disadvantage due to race and class remain intertwined for many children, schools and the larger society cannot move beyond the conjoined nature of these inequalities. Affluence and poverty do cut across racial and ethnic lines, but the United States is still a society where race matters. The disadvantages experienced by minority and immigrant children today are unlikely to disappear even in the next thirty years. In a globalizing world where the magnitude and quality of educational opportunity and attainment differentiates peoples, many of the issues associated with these disadvantages are likely to be even more salient in the future. 
As the gaps widen between those who have access to educational opportunities and resources and those who do not, researchers interested in educational justice address the factors contributing to these discrepancies and offer a vision of how to create the types of educational systems and learning opportunities deserved by all members of a society. The three panelists in this session present research that addresses educational inequities for particular groups in the U.S. and contribute to the search for solutions through policy, advocacy and legal action.

Participants: (Session Organizer) Pamela Anne Quiroz, University of Houston; (Presider) R. L'Heureux Lewis-McCoy, The City College of New York - CUNY

  • Lives Still in Limbo: (Un)DACAmented and Navigating Uncertain Futures. Roberto G. Gonzales, Harvard University
  • The Illusion of Inclusion: Inseparable Race, Ethnicity and Class in 21st Century. Ruth E. Zambrana, University of Maryland
  • From Child-Saving to Citizen-Making: Protection and Punishment in an Unequal City. Carla Shedd, The Graduate Center, CUNY


Family and Social Justice
Families exist in myriad forms and are increasingly multiracial, multicultural, and transnational. Nevertheless, the challenges of racism, poverty, ageism, globalization and a number of other oppressive conditions continue to impact family relationships. Sociological research aligned with Social Justice addresses the basic necessities, opportunities, and physical and psychological security of families. It also addresses participation in decisions and policies that impact families. The research presented by panelists in this session encompass two dimensions of social justice: the politics of redistribution (social equality) and the politics of recognition, (respect and celebration of difference). This work occurs at a fraught historical moment, a moment when groups have mobilized to restrict rights and opportunities of diverse families. Panelists in this session address intergenerational relationships, migration, and the critical implications of transnational politics on family relationships, as the welfare of families is seen as part of the greater good of society.

Participants: (Session Organizer) Pamela Anne Quiroz, University of Houston; (Presider) Marisol Karina Clark-Ibanez, CSU San Marcos

  • Dismantling Dependence: Indian Immigrant Professional Families Negotiating the Visa Regime. Pallavi Banerjee, University of Calgary
  • Black, Sexual Minority Women and the Great Migration: A Search for Sexual Autonomy and Economic Freedom. Estela Bernice Diaz, Columbia University; Mignon R. Moore, Barnard College
  • The Family Discontents of Globalization Joanna Dreby, State University of New York-Albany; Wayner Jimbo, Skidmore College


Activist Research in Public Discourse and Policy
According to Michael Buroway, "As mirror and conscience of society, sociology must define, promote and inform public debate about deepening class and racial inequalities, new gender regimes, environmental degradation, market fundamentalism, state and non-state violence.” Though activist scholarship in the discipline has long preceded this statement, the past fifteen years has seen a reinvigoration of activist research as sociologists engage social justice causes that range from vegetarianism and food deserts to global warming and the promotion of peace. The members of this panel bridge social justice activities with academic scholarship to create a more equitable and inclusive society. In the process they also demonstrate how sociology, politics and policy are inextricably linked.

Participants: (Session Organizer) Pamela Anne Quiroz, University of Houston; (Presider) Jose Zapata Calderon, Pitzer College

  • Centering the oppressed, the exploited and the dispossessed: Knowledge, power and transformation. Walda Katz-Fishman, Howard University; Jerome Scott, League of Revolutionaries for a New America
  • The Family Discontents of Globalization. Corey Dolgon, Stonehill College 
  • Combining Research, Teaching, and Organzing for Social Change. Jose Zapata Calderon, Pitzer College

Lessons from Abroad
During a time of increasing isolation from the rest of the world, socially, politically, economically, legally, sociologists recognize that U.S. political leaders, as well as academics, have much to learn from other countries. The lessons are manifold: the growth of right-leaning parties, violence, and demise of the welfare state, among others. This session will offer perspectives on what sociologists can learn from lessons abroad, and how these lessons can inform our scholarship.

Participants: (Session Organizer) Brian Gran, Case Western Reserve University; (Session Organizer) Bandana Purkayastha, University of Connecticut; (Presider) Debra Street, State University of New York-Buffalo

  • Global Adoption of Restrictive NGO Laws and Its Consequences: Lessons for U.S. Foreign Policy. Jeong-Woo Koo, Sungkyunkwan University
  • Responding to Closing Space for Civil Society: Lessons Learned from Multi-country Feminist Law Reform Advocacy Study. Yakin Erturk, Middle East Technical University
  • Politics and Markets: Lessons about Inequality from the Swedish Experience. Joakim Palme, Uppsala University

On Mentoring Scholar-Activist
Many sociologists envision their scholar activism as including teaching and mentoring new scholar activists who seek new visions and possibilities. What can we learn from experiences of prominent sociologists who have mentored scholar activists over their careers? Can sociologists anticipate institutional support for their mentorship? What barriers may they encounter? Why mentor scholar activists?

Participants: (Session Organizer) Brian Gran, Case Western Reserve University; (Presider) Matthew Oware, DePauw University

  • Revising the U.S. Constitution. Why? How? Judith Blau, University of North Carolina
  • Revolutionary Mentoring. Rodney D. Coates, Miami University
  • Sociology for Social Transformation. Jackie Smith, University of Pittsburgh
  • Rebuilding Broken Communities. Charles Payne, Rutgers University Newark

Doing Scholar Activism
Jane Addams, George Herbert Mead, W. E. B. DuBois. Sociology has a long tradition of scholars who are activists. This tradition continues today as sociologists employ scholarship to challenge inequities, inequalities, human rights violations, and violence. Their activism, in turns, informs sociological scholarship about social and political structures that can act as obstacles and facilitators to collective behavior and social movements.

Participants: (Session Organizer) Brian Gran, Case Western Reserve University; (Presider) Elizabeth Clifford, Towson University. 

  • Roots, not the Shoots: Community Accountability and Engagement in Liberatory Scholarship. Monica M. White, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Everybody Eats: Community Embedded Service-learning as Public Sociology and Social Justice Work. Sarah N. Gatson, Texas A&M University
  • Social Research + Social Justice = Social Obligation for Social Activism. Rashawn Ray, University of Maryland


Activism and social movements have long held attention of sociologists. During a time when the United States is under-going significant social change, with contentious politics a feature of everyday life, activism and social movements will continue to be essential features of the socio-political landscape.

Participants: (Session Organizer) Brian Gran, Case Western Reserve University; (Presider) Ira Silver, Framingham State University 

  • Uncovering, Unsettling and Disrupting Settler Colonialism in the United States. Erich W. Steinman, Pitzer College
  • Extractive Projects and State Violations of Human Rights on Indigenous Lands in North America: The Perpetual State of Exception. Colin J. Samson
  • Breaking New Ground and Pushing the Limits of Environmental Justice Politics. David Pellow, University of California-Santa Barbara


Visual Sociology
Visual sociology concentrates on the visual representation of society and culture. Implicitly comparative and historical, visual sociology typically studies visual data, including photographs and video. While cell phone cameras have made visual data nearly ubiquitous, visual sociologists seek to identify patterns across society, culture, and social relationships that reveal power, inequality, and social change.

Participants: (Session Organizer) Brian Gran, Case Western Reserve University; (Presider) Jordanna Chris Matlon, American University

  • Visually-based Interactions: An Agenda for Visual Research in the Post Truth Era. Regev Nathansohn, Haifa University
  • The Moving Image as a Tool for Activating Photographs from Troubled Histories: Confronting the Past in the Present. Miranda Pennell, Independent Scholar
  • Collaborative Seeing: A Reflexive Approach for Visual Analysis. Wendy Luttrell, City University of New York


Environmental Justice
Environmental justice can be understood as ensuring that everyone and their communities enjoy equal protections of their health, safety, and security through laws and regulations. While environmental problems continue to transcend physical and social boundaries, and leaders of some national governments back pedal from environmental obligations, sociologists can continue to make significant contributions to ideas, practices, and measures surrounding environmental justice. This panel will ask questions and share insights into sociology's leadership when it comes to environmental justice.

Participants: (Session Organizer) Brian Gran, Case Western Reserve University; (Presider) Kari Marie Norgaard, University of Oregon

  • Past is Present: Socio-environmental Succession and Urban Environmental Inequality. Scott Frickel, Brown University
  • Down with the Struggle? Scholarly Engagements, Complicity and Environmental Justice Activism. Melissa Checker, Queens College
  • Then and Now: Revisiting Sites of California’s Early Anti-toxics and Environmental Justice Campaigns Three Decades Later. Tracy Perkins, Howard University


Human Rights
Foundations of U.S. sociology are deeply connected to questions surrounding human rights. Social movements have led to human rights. Disasters reveal strengths and weaknesses of human rights structures. Human rights are often undertaken by organizations. Politics surround human rights, influencing their implementation and progress. Sociology is well positioned to ask fundamental questions of human rights. In turn, our discipline may benefit from studying human rights.

Participants: (Session Organizer) Brian Gran, Case Western Reserve University; (Presider) Elizabeth Heger Boyle, University of Minnesota

  • Decolonizing Human Rights: A Path to Social Justice for All. Keri E. Iyall Smith, Suffolk University
  • Minority Rights and National Constitutions. Kiyoteru Tsutsui, University of Michigan
  • Contemporary First Amendment Politics. Louis Edgar Esparza, California State University-Los Angeles
  • Beyond Publication: Harnessing Public Universities for Critical Human Rights Praxis. Davita Silfen Glasberg, University of Connecticut and William Armaline, San Jose State University


Right to Science
Sociologists can make and have made significant contributions to scholarship surrounding the right to science. Article 15 of the International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights articulates a universal human right to benefits of scientific progress and its application. This UN treaty obligations national governments to take steps to realize this right, including development of science and its diffusion, and ensuring respects of freedoms necessary to scientific research. To meet these obligations, a government must create an environment that allows for free scientific research, for which academic freedom is necessary. A national government must develop international communications about science, as well as protect people from misuse of science. Because human rights are universal, everyone should benefit from this right. This human right should not differ across suspect classes. It should benefit the “most disadvantaged.” This human right should ensure protection from scientific harms.

Participants: (Session Organizer) Brian Gran, Case Western Reserve University; (Presider) Sue Gunawardena-Vaughn, Open Society Foundations

  • Under Construction: The Human Right to Science from its Inception to the Present Day. Mark Frezzo, University of Mississippi
  • The Digital Transformation of Science in Human Rights Advocacy: Implications for a Sociology of the Human Right to Science. John G. Dale, George Mason University
  • Human Right to Science: A General Comment and Beyond. Mikel Mancisidor, University of Bilbao


Human Rights in the Home
Can human rights transcend public-private boundaries? Are rights useful in the family home? Do human rights matter to households? Aristotle’s conception of the state is based on the assumption that government will not intervene into a family home, unless household members’ rights are violated. Important scholarship has challenged Aristotle’s conception, pointing out that the household often is a site of significant power differences. This scholarship demonstrates that rights have limited utility when it comes to the family. This session will assess whether human rights can transcend public-private boundaries and ameliorate inequalities in the family home.

Participants: (Session Organizer) Brian Gran, Case Western Reserve University; (Presider) Denise L. Anthony, University of Michigan

  • Rights at Home: Tracing out Labor Regimes of Legality and Informality in the Private Sphere. Katherine Maich, The Pennsylvania State University
  • Trauma and the Roots of Distrust. Judith A. Levine, Temple University
  • Decoupling at Home. Brian Gran, Case Western Reserve University


Conceptually and methodologically, intersectionality, has challenged several streams of `scholarship, including gender and racism, to move beyond their earlier framing.  At the same time, scholars have begun to further explore intersectionality by looking beyond its earlier moorings.  What are some of the emphases and debates about intersectionality today? This session will feature contemporary research and theoretical questions on intersectionality.

Participants: (Session Organizer) Ranita Ray, University of Nevada-Las Vegas; (Presider) Hae Yeon Choo, University of Toronto

  • Tokenism in the Technology Industry: An Intersectional Analysis of Asian and Black Female Technology Workers in Elite Labor Markets. France Winddance Twine, University of California-Santa Barbara
  • Intersectionality, Decoloniality, and the Analyses of Silence. Bandana Purkayastha, University of Connecticut
  • The Way I See It:” Middle Class Latinxs’ Engagement with Intersectionality. Lorena Garcia, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Complex Inequalities. Evelyn Nakano Glenn, University of California, Berkeley


Feminist Sociology and Justice
Feminist Sociology has celebrated its long roots within a social justice frame.  This stream of scholarship has also advanced through robust debates and disagreements about feminism, social justice, and appropriate frameworks to advance research agendas.  This session presents three such contemporary discussions: standpoint epistemology and the study of intersex, the voices of feminists in Africa on questions of feminism and justice, and social justice feminism in the US today.

Participants: (Session Organizer) Bandana Purkayastha, University of Connecticut; (Presider) Marlese Durr, Wright State University

  • Standpoint Epistemology and the Study of Intersex. Georgiann Davis, University of Nevada-Las Vegas; Alishia Alexander, University of Illinois
  • Feminist Sociology and Social Justice: African Feminist Voices and Perspectives. Josephine A. Beoku-Betts, Florida Atlantic University
  • What Does Social Justice Feminism Look Like? Manisha Desai, University of Connecticut


“New” Religions in the United States and Social Justice
    Description: American sociologists have mostly studied Christianity and Judaism, though a smaller stream of research has focused on post-1965 migrants and their “new” religions.  Even Hinduism and Islam (And Sikhism) have been practiced in the US from the earlier decades of the 20th century, establishing the spaces for these religions remains a socio-political struggle for justice.  Within the US, assumptions about religion and secularism are typically based on the structures of Christianity; diverse groups of Hindus and Muslims have to fit their practices into these structures.  This session will focus on (a) better methodological approaches to study these religions, and (b) the impediments practitioners encounter in the US, as well as the ways in which they resist some of the challenges.

Participants: (Session Organizer) Shweta Majumdar Adur, California State University-Los Angeles; (Presider) Shweta Majumdar Adur, California State University-Los Angeles

  • The Women Living Hinduism and Islam Project: Lessons Learned and New Directions. Anjana Narayan, California State Polytechnic University Pomona
  • “Living Muslim” and “Being Muslim”:  Women of the South Asian Diaspora Negotiate Religion. Nazli Kibria, Boston University
  • Caste Resistance in the United States. Prema Ann Kurien, Syracuse University


Racial Justice
In the 1903 W.E.B. DuBois noted that the problem of the 20th Century was the color-line, but well into the 21st Century contemporary sociologists are still grappling with the consequences of deeply structured racial inequality in the United States. Much research has been examining the dynamics of this inequality and the mechanisms that continue to reproduce white domination as a defining characteristic of U.S. social structure. The 114th Annual Meeting of the ASA is focused on engaging social justice, and it is clear that racial justice must be centered in this discussion. This panel brings together prominent scholars who have studied and considered the mechanisms and consequences of systemic racism in the United States and pushes the work to consider how sociologists can approach a project of systemic racial justice.

Participants: (Session Organizer) Wendy Leo Moore, Texas A&M University; (Presider) Kristen Lavelle, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater; (Discussant) Kristen Lavelle, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

  • Racial Justice and the Matter of Citizenship. Rogelio Saenz, University of Texas-San Antonio
  • Critical Race Theory and the Wisdom of a Black Political Party. Glenn Edward Bracey, Villanova University
  • Enumerated without Counting: Segregation Nation, Mass Incarceration, and the Racial Politics of Representation. Kasey Henricks, University of Tennessee


Criminal Justice and Social Justice
Issues of social justice and criminal justice processes are deeply connected in United States society. Agents of the criminal justice system have long played a role in the enforcement of hierarchical boundaries like race and class. In the contemporary U.S., mass incarceration and militaristic police surveillance has resulted in a criminal justice system that is deeply raced, classed, and gendered and that operates to reproduce social inequalities. This panel interrogates the processes of the criminal justice system and the implications of the current system for projects of social justice.

Participants: (Session Organizer) Wendy Leo Moore, Texas A&M University; (Presider) Tiffany Amorette Young, Texas A&M University; (Discussant) Tiffany Amorette Young, Texas A&M University

  • The Supervised Society: Race, Citizenship and the Afterlife of Mass Incarceration. Reuben Miller, University of Chicago
  • Criminal Justice as Degradation Theater. Michael Lawrence Walker, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
  • The Devil in the Data: Police Reporting as a Dimension of Systemic Police Terrorism. Charity Clay, Xavier University


Transformation Sociology
Articulating the theme of the 114th ASA annual meeting, Dr. Mary Romero noted that “embracing sociology that challenges social injustices and sustains scholar activists is pivotal in this time of increasing social inequalities. Sociologists possess the analytical tools and empirical data necessary to support communities fighting against injustices in many realms.” With this objective in mind, this thematic session pulls together the work of expert sociologists who are engaged in a project of transformation sociology. In other words, a sociology that pushes the boundaries of mainstream sociology, propelling sociological theory out of traditional paradigms that inhibit social justice interventions, bringing sociological data and analysis to community through education and community activism, and connecting sociology and sociological research to national and global issues of human rights and social justice.

Participants: (Session Organizer) Wendy Leo Moore, Texas A&M University; (Presider) Shantel Gabrieal Buggs, Florida State University; (Discussant) Shantel Gabrieal Buggs, Florida State University

  • Social Media, Interest Convergence, and a Campus Anti-Racism Movement. Ervin (Maliq) Matthew, University of Cincinnati
  • If Sociology Isn't Transformative, Then Why Are We Here? Ashley Wood Doane, University of Hartford
  • What the Abolition of the Racial Progress Paradigm Means for Sociology. Victor E. Ray, University of Tennessee-Knoxville


Sociology in the Margins
Articulating the theme of the 114th ASA annual meeting, Dr. Mary Romero noted that “embracing sociology that challenges social injustices and sustains scholar activists is pivotal in this time of increasing social inequalities. Sociologists possess the analytical tools and empirical data necessary to support communities fighting against injustices in many realms.” With this objective in mind, this thematic session examines the way in which processes of mainstream sociology have intentionally or unintentionally pushed particular types of critical social science work into the margins. Centering the work of sociologists who have found a better reception for their scholarship in departments of Ethnic Studies, African American Studies, Chicano/Latino Studies, Women’s Studies etc. this panel examines the way that some critical sociological scholarship has been marginalized and considers the social justice implications for our profession as a result.

Participants: (Session Organizer) Wendy Leo Moore, Texas A&M University; (Presider) Christopher Scott Chambers, Providence College; (Discussant) Christopher Scott Chambers, Providence College

  • Thinking from Submerged Perspectives: Towards a Decolonial Sociology. Macarena Gómez-Barris, University of Southern California
  • The Future of Sociology as a Discipline: Some thoughts from Asian American Studies. Lisa Sun-Hee Park, University of California-Santa Barbara
  • Open the Sociological: The Past and Future Interdisciplinarity of an Anxious Field. Rod Ferguson, University of Illinois


Tools for Communicating Sociology Outside the Discipline: What Works, What Doesn’t Work, and What’s Promising
In the three decades since Herbert Gans' ASA presidential address on "the discipline and the public," powerful new tools for communicating sociology have emerged. Nevertheless, sociologists continue to struggle to make our voices heard in an increasingly crowded information space. This session showcases established and emerging modes of communicating sociology to non-academic audiences. Panelists will draw from theory, research, and their personal experiences in print and online journalism, podcasting, blogging, video, and related modes of engagement with public and policy audiences.

Participants: (Session Organizer) Christopher Uggen, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities; (Presider) Paul E. Calarco, Hudson Valley Community College; (Panelist) Amy T. Schalet, University of Massachusetts at Amherst; (Panelist) Eszter Hargittai, University of Zurich; (Panelist) Herbert J. Gans, Columbia University (Emeritus); (Panelist) Rashawn Ray, University of Maryland; (Panelist) Daniel Hirschman, Brown University; (Panelist) Philip N. Cohen, University of Maryland; (Panelist) Lisa Wade, Occidental College; (Panelist) Gabriel Rossman, UCLA; (Panelist) Sarah Esther Lageson, Rutgers University


2020 Census
By the time that the ASA annual meeting in Philadelphia occurs, the massive enterprise of launching the 2020 U.S. Census of Population will be well underway.  The preparedness, focus, and purpose of this enterprise have been subject to often intense debate among sociologists, even playing a role in the creation of a new ASA task force on federal data.  This presidential session will delve into this discussion by considering the past, present, and future of the U.S. Census through the lens of sociological research.  The “past” part of this presidential session will cover the historical value of the U.S. Census for research on key sociological issues (e.g., the persistence of racial inequality, prevailing family structures).  The speaker will be John Robert Warren and Steven Ruggles of the Minnesota Population Center that has been a leader in harmonizing past editions of the Census for historical comparisons.  The “present” part of this presidential session will cover the challenges facing the upcoming the U.S. Census, including the measurement of race/ethnicity, the use of new data collection technologies, and procedures for including hard-to-reach populations.  The speaker will be Matthew Snipp of Stanford University, co-chair of the aforementioned ASA task force.  The “future” part of this presidential session will cover potential future directions for the U.S. Census and what sociologists want and need from future editions.  The speaker will be Hedwig Lee of Washington University, a population scientist who studies racial disparities and is also a member of the ASA task force.  Overall, the value of this session involves informing the ASA membership, supporting the current mission of the U.S. Census, and helping to set the agenda for future Census data collections.

Participants: (Session Organizer) Robert Crosnoe, University of Texas-Austin; (Presider) Robert Crosnoe, University of Texas-Austin

  • How U.S. Census Data Have Informed the Last Century of Sociological Research. John Robert Warren, University of Minnesota
  • Counting on the Census in 2020. C. Matthew Snipp, Stanford University
  • Who Will be Counted? The Future of the Census. Hedwig Eugenie Lee, Washington University-St. Louis


Sociology for Whom? Challenging Elitism in the Discipline
The discipline of sociology has an elite problem (i.e., a cadre of academics who promote status and careerism at the expense of sociology that “matters.”) It is, partially, this elitism that keeps sociology from recognizing its “promise” (cf. C. Wright Mills). It occurs when the sociological imagination is hijacked in service of individual careerism. American sociologist and 67th President of the American Sociological Association, Alfred McClung Lee (ASA’s first and only President elected as a write-in candidate who faced additional challenges of an organization who systematically tried to marginalize him throughout his presidency), titled his presidential address “Sociology for Whom?” In that address, printed in the 1976 Vol. (41) of the American Sociological Review, Lee revisits what he contends is not a new question: sociology for whom? He writes “In American society, sociological scientists are almost always professionals. As such, they are caught up in the practical expediencies of careerism and, therefore, inclined to act robotlike in terms of the mandates of the marketplace.” Careerism, and the like, are often rewarded in institutions (like academia) that reproduce the very stratified social system in which we reside. Further, we know that systems of oppression are often interconnected with one another, so our lives are complicated with regards to not just elitism in sociology, but also racism, sexism, homophobia and other forms of exclusion. Our panelists are tasked with providing thoughts with regard to where they see elitism (and other forms of oppression) in the discipline today and how we might challenge it. This is a panel presentation and as such, audience participation is encouraged and preferred.

Participants: (Session Organizer) David G. Embrick, University of Connecticut; (Presider) David G. Embrick, University of Connecticut; (Panelist) Barbara Harris Combs, Clark Atlanta University; (Panelist) Fred Block, University of California-Davis; (Panelist) James McKeever, Los Angeles Pierce College; (Panelist) Manisha Desai, University of Connecticut; (Panelist) Ashley Wood Doane, University of Hartford


Sociological Methods to Social Justice
This session will explore how sociological research in the interest of social justice is shaped and affected by different kinds of methodological pursuits. Are there particular issues or questions concerning social justice that are the province of particular methods? Might social justice scholarship grounded and certain methods offer insight and understanding to work being done through of the methodological pursuits? The presentations address these and related concerns.

Participants: (Session Organizer/Presider) Quincy Thomas Stewart, Northwestern University; (Panelist) Tukufu Zuberi, University of Pennsylvania; (Panelist) Barbara Jane Risman, University of Illinois-Chicago; (Panelist) Quincy Thomas Stewart, Northwestern University


Contingent Faculty in Sociology: Issues, Challenges, Advocacy, and Justice
Description: This session will consider papers related to the consequences of the increased reliance on contingent faculty within the discipline of sociology.  Empirical papers exploring conditions of employment, wages, security, benefits eligibility, inclusion in governance and departmental cultures, and career trajectories of contingent faculty will be considered.  These general trends across academia are well documented, so of particular interest will be papers that explore a specific focus within sociology and/or explore advocacy, organizing, mobilization, or collective action by or on behalf of contingent faculty groups.

Participants: (Session Organizer) Catherine L. Moran, University of New Hampshire; (Presider) Catherine L. Moran, University of New Hampshire

  • Contingency in Sociology: ASA’s Task Force and Next Steps. Dan Clawson, University of Massachusetts
  • Preparing Graduate Students for the New Academic Market: Old Narratives, New Narratives, and What Departments Can Do. Victor W. Perez, University of Delaware
  • Where to Go from Here? How Disciplinary Associations Can Better Support Contingent Faculty. Marisa Camille Allison, George Mason University


Activist Knowledge in the Construction of Movement Relevant Research
Conversations among social movement scholars traditionally concern research questions, theories, methods, and findings of interest to others in the discipline. These conversations have not usually been geared toward engagement with activists nor with scholars who study social movements outside of the formal discipline of social movement studies. Accordingly, scholars and activists may not share a conception of “activist knowledge” or of its importance. Additionally, while social movement scholarship remains thin when engaging questions about effective strategy and methods for achieving systemic change, activists often look to scholarship anyhow, seeking information and concepts that can be used immediately as well as larger-scale analytic frameworks through which to understand their collective struggles, and also historical reinterpretations of received activist wisdom. Thus, movement scholars’ contributions are sometimes picked up and deployed by activists. Often, this occurs when scholars are personally involved in movement projects. Other times it is primarily the result of the diffusion of academic scholarship through teaching or popular media. And sometimes it results from the direct engagement of scholars studying the dynamics of particular movements. The effectiveness of such grounded research lies both in the research itself having access to activist knowledge--a sensibility to how diverse activists might think about their activism--and a means of disciplined interaction with activist-intellectuals themselves. This two-part session renews the search for movement relevant research by bringing together respected scholar-activists and activist-intellectuals to consider how scholarship on movements can articulate with, strengthen, and be strengthened by ongoing engagement with activist knowledge.

Participants: (Session Organizer/Presider) Ben Manski, University of California, Santa Barbara; (Session Organizer/Presider) John Krinsky, The City College of New York; (Panelist) Colin Barker, Manchester Metropolitan University; (Panelist) Ruth Wilson Gilmore, City University of New York-The Graduate Center; (Panelist) Bill Fletcher, Belmont University; (Panelist) Hahrie Han, UCSB; (Panelist) Jane McAlevey; (Panelist) Suren Moodliar, Independent Scholar; (Panelist) Randy Stoecker, University of Wisconsin; (Panelist) Lesley J. Wood, York University


Bringing Capitalism Back In: Exploring the Political Economy of Injustice
The recent decade, marked by the collapse of the housing bubble and the economic, social, and political upheavals that came in its wake, has seen a renewed public interest on questions of political economy and the material bases of injustice and inequality.  While sociological thought has historically, and throughout the neoliberal period, always included voices that were critical of capitalism, the engagement of contemporary sociologists with the disruptions and mobilizations of the past decade have catalyzed a new wave of research on the political economic structures not just injustice, but the ways in which struggles against injustice are waged.  These four panelists will explore the ways in which political economic analysis can be deployed in the study of contemporary society.  Panelists will not only examine the relationship between capitalism and social justice, but offer strategies incorporating such analyses to the project of social justice broadly defined.  The session invites scholars who work on various topics that range from gender inequality, migrant labor, racial inequality, mass mobilization, labor unrest, welfare and the neoliberal turn, as well as examining these questions from local, national, and global perspectives.

Participants: (Session Organizer) Suzy K. Lee, Binghamton University; (Session Organizer) Nada Matta, Drexel University; (Presider) Suzy K. Lee, Binghamton University; (Discussant) Michael Schwartz, Stony Brook State University

  • The Political Economy of Mass Incarceration. John J. Clegg, New York University; Adaner Usmani, Brown University
  • Modes of Radical Financial Reform: A Comparison of Democratizing Finance for Social Justice. Michael A. McCarthy, Marquette University
  • The Old Red Storm and the New Pink Tide: A Structural Comparison of Two Left Failures in Latin America. Rene Rojas, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
  • Work Hard, Make History: Labor Processes and Movements in Online Retail. Nantina Vgontzas, New York University


Engaging Students in Social Change through Community Organizing Courses 
Few Sociology departments offer courses in community organizing or related themes, although the subject is sociological, related to graduates’ jobs, and more could have careers in the field if they had the training. This seems largely a consequence of limited discussion about the topic among sociologists. In fact, scholars of social movements rarely discuss community organizing, although the movements they study often engage in this practice. To counter this trend, speakers in this panel will showcase and discuss how students are engaged in the community organizing through their courses and after graduation from. In a way, this is a more applied, activist, and engaging twist on the more common Social Movements and Social Change courses. It is also more activist than other forms of community engagement: it doesn’t just involve students serving a community or making a change that will happen once, but aims at building organizations that can create and deepen change through time for those excluded from institutional power. The goal is to inspire our colleagues and stimulate a debate about how we can engage students into social justice in a way that goes beyond policy and services, towards empowering marginalized communities to create social change.

Participants: (Session Organizer) Sebastián G. Guzmán, West Chester University; (Presider) Sebastián G. Guzmán, West Chester University

  • Leadership, Organizing, and Action: A Pedagogy of Practice. Marshall Ganz, Harvard University
  • Progressive Community Organizing, Social Movements, and Artivism: Inspiring Students to Act(ivism). Karen Morgaine, California State University-Northridge
  • Social Problems to Social Solutions: Why Sociology Needs to Adopt Social Action in Our Courses. Scott James Myers-Lipton, San Jose State University
  • Bringing Community Organizing Training to the College Classroom. Randy Stoecker, University of Wisconsin


Forging a Science of Policing’s Consequences 
As concerns about persistent and high-profile incidents of police misconduct mount, and a consensus emerges that “Zero Tolerance” and “Tough on Crime” policing does not promote public safety, community-focused policing reform occupies renewed public attention. We believe that neither demands for officer accountability nor sustainable departmental reform, will emerge absent a data-driven social justice agenda. Specifically, panelists will highlight how empirical social science research can diagnose and remedy the pain points of officer bias, weak department policies, as well as racially disparate policing practices. Critically, session participants will present evidence from new research on the collateral consequences of police contact, filling knowledge, theory, and praxis gaps in police/community relations, with the express aim of bolstering empirically-based social justice advancement. For the proposed thematic session, participants will approach the consequences of police contact informed by sociological, criminological, and psychological disciplines. Specifically, participants will advance a discussion that leverages the utility of research science for proposing sustainable recommendations for addressing the following challenges in contemporary policing: racially disparate policing as a public health crisis for civilians and law enforcement personnel; the adverse impact of police contact on political socialization and civic participation; and the impact that police misconduct has on civilians’ diminishing reliance on police for service calls and crime control. Finally, the panel will include an assessment of the application of these multidisciplinary findings, by each panelist as well as by the session’s discussant, the nation’s highest-ranking law enforcement executive tasked principally with issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. The aim of this panel is to bridge the potential for reform offered through research and the needs of practicing law enforcement, with the ultimate goal of reducing burdens on communities that are most vulnerable to negative consequences from police contact.

Participants: (Session Organizer/Presider) Erin M. Kerrison, University of California, Berkeley; (Session Organizer) Phillip Atiba Goff, Center for Policing Equity; (Discussant) Tracie Keesee, New York City Police Department

  • Prognosis… Reform: How Data-Driven Policing Can Improve Public Health and Safety. Erin M. Kerrison, Center for Policing Equity; Phillip Atiba Goff, Center for Policing Equity
  • The Network Structure of Police Misconduct in Chicago. Andrew V. Papachristos, Northwestern University
  • Justice is ‘Just Us’: Harnessing Technology to Expand our Understanding of the Individual and Communal Consequences of Policing in the United States. Vesla Weaver, Johns Hopkins University


Immigration Policy and the Dilemmas of Justice in the Age of Trump
This session will explore the how the sociology of migration can illuminate the sources of Trump’s success in shifting the ideological and political terrain of the immigration debate. The panelists will highlight the ways in which population movements across state boundaries are a source of both international integration and national disintegration, producing conflicts over the number, characteristics, and rights of immigrants from which pose significant political challenges for liberal societies.

Participants: (Session Organizer) Rick A. Baldoz, Oberlin College; (Presider) Rhacel Salazar Parrenas, University of Southern California

  • Expanding Sanctuary: Decriminalization and Resistance in the Trump Era. Amada Armenta, University of California-Los Angeles
  • The Illiberal Turn: Immigration and the Paradox of American Sovereignty in the Age of Trump. Rick A. Baldoz, Oberlin College
  • U.S. Immigration and Border Policies: A Series of Unfortunate Events. Douglas S. Massey, Princeton University. 
  • Dis-Inegrating Nation: The Impossible Politics of Immigration. Roger Waldinger, University of California-Los Angeles


Interrogating the Social Justice of Addiction and Drug Treatment for Justice-involved Women
With recent mainstream concern over an “opioid epidemic” and general recognition that incarceration as a response to “The War on Drugs” has failed, addiction and drug treatment programs are receiving renewed attention. This session critically examines the developing industry of “gender-responsive” treatment which thousands of women, many of them women of color, are mandated by the courts to attend each year.  Too many proponents of gender-responsive treatment programming laud its empowerment potential, but pay scant attention to the ways in which conventional womanhood and mainstream characterizations of productive womanhood are deeply classed, racialized, and exclusive.  Panelists will share research findings calling this recovery space into question at the micro and macro levels, underscoring the importance of interrogating such practices through the lenses of intersectionality.  Panelists will also highlight the utility of tackling this research agenda from varied analytical and methodological approaches, across sociological, anthropological, sociolegal, and historical disciplines.  Finally, in concordance with the Annual Meeting’s theme of “Engaging Social Justice for a Better World,” the panel’s discussion will include an assessment of the application of these multi-disciplinary findings in real-world settings by each panelist as well as by the session’s discussant, a formerly incarcerated woman who as an alumna of a substance use treatment program, is intimately familiar with the current gender-responsive recovery terrain.  The aim of this panel is to positively bridge suggestions and claims offered by the researcher community and the grounded needs and experiences of women navigating these sites, to provide space for sustainable solutions and coalition-building.

Participants: (Session Organizer/Presider) Megan Lee Comfort, RTI International; (Panelist) Erin M. Kerrison, University of California, Berkeley; (Panelist) Alana J. Gunn, University of Illinois at Chicago; (Panelist) Jill McCorkel, Villanova University; (Panelist) Allison R. McKim, Bard College


Intersectionality and Social Justice Policy: Leveraging Race, Gender, Class, and Sexual Orientation Data 
How can we improve race, gender, class, sexual orientation and ethnic measurements for social justice policy? How can leveraging the conceptual use of intersectionality or attention to the simultaneity of race, gender, class, sexual orientation, disability, etc. as systems of inequality for data collection, analysis and praxis to advance social justice policy for vulnerable communities? Federal, state and local municipal provides the data infrastructure for engaging in what Kimberlè Crenshaw has called "mapping the margins" or making the invisible visible by identifying groups that often remain invisible race-only, gender-only and class-only analysis. It also helps us document what Patricia Hill Collins has called "the matrix of domination or the intersecting and simultaneous systems of privilege, power, inequality and the dynamics of resistance and empowerment in the lives of marginalized communities. It can also help us embrace what Leslie McCall has called "complex configurations of inequalities" across of a variety of policy-relevant arenas (e.g. voting rights, congressional redistricting, education, housing, health, employment and criminal justice). This panel is structured with brief presentations from scholars, researchers, practitioners, policy makers and the audience. The focus of the dialogue is on how we can improve the local, municipal, state and federal data infrastructure for intersectional knowledge projects and social justice policy-making. A guiding assumption of the panel is that the purpose of data collection is to advance justice and equity and expand opportunity structures.

Participants: (Session Organizer) Nancy López, University of New Mexico; (Presider) Nancy López, University of New Mexico

  • Critical Quantitative Methodologies for Justice: Embracing Complexity in Census Measurement and Analysis. Yasmiyn Irizarry, University of Texas-Austin
  • Using Census Data to Make the Invisible Visible: Creating Meaningful Analyses with Small Sample Sizes. Kimberly R. Huyser, University of New Mexico
  • Administrative Data, Big Data, and Census Data in the Study of Intersectionality. Arthur Sakamoto, Texas A&M University
  • Measuring Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in the Federal Statistical System: Advances and Challenges to Date. Nancy Bates, U.S. Census Bureau


Resistance in The Trump Era: Defending Institutions and Advancing Social Justice
The Resistance includes groups and individuals who have been working for years to advance claims for more egalitarian economic policies and more just and inclusive policies on social issues, crime, and the environment. It also includes groups and individuals who are seeking to protect previous institutional policies and norms that have supported less just and responsive policies in the past. Essentially, the Resistance is a defensive force, which includes large numbers of people who want more than to preserve the status quo. This panel will provide a range of perspectives on the growing Resistance to the Trump presidency, with particular attention to the dilemmas of defending established institutions and advancing new policy goals.

Participants: (Session Organizer) David S. Meyer, University of California, Irvine; (Presider) David S. Meyer, University of California, Irvine; (Discussant) Sidney Tarrow, Cornell University

  • Putting Trump in Historical Perspective. Douglas McAdam, Stanford University
  • Indivisible: From Institution to Movement. Megan E. Brooker, University of California-Irvine
  • Persistence in the Resistance. Dana R. Fisher, University of Maryland; Lorien Jasny, University of Exeter


Social Justice after Unite the Right
The August 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, drew international attention for its shocking display of violent white supremacy. The event sparked urgent discussion about the state of the American far-right today, and of racialized social relations more generally. Where did they come from, those hundreds of white supremacists, neo-Nazis, militia members, and nationalists? Was the rally a brief moment of unity, or reflective of an organized social movement with coherent objectives and strategies? Why did civic leaders permit the protest in the first place, and what did this say about their commitment to addressing endemic, everyday racism in the community? For sociologists interested in these and related questions, the event also became an opportunity to channel research and analysis into the linked projects of healing the community and turning back the tide of white supremacy. 

Coinciding with the second anniversary of the Unite the Right rally, the proposed panel will feature sociologists whose research on race, racism, far-right organizations, and culture is both informing the discipline and engaging with the practical work of social justice. Papers will address doing research with and on community members, institutional leaders, and the press, with an overall interest in how we can apply the distinctive analytical features of sociology to anti-racism, pro-social justice efforts.

Participants: (Session Organizer) Fiona Greenland, University of Virginia; (Presider) Alida Goffinski, University of Virginia; (Discussant) Angel Adams Parham, Loyola University-New Orleans

  • Searching for Alternative Facts: Mainstreaming the Extreme. Francesca Tripodi, James Madison University
  • Is There a United Far-Right? Kathleen M. Blee, University of Pittsburgh
  • When Tolerance Turns Deadly: Charlottesville as an unlikely Symbol of Racist Hate. Milton D. Vickerman, University of Virginia


Social Justice through the Lens of Disability   

Disability is a fundamental aspect of social stratification yet too often undertheorized and naturalized in sociological scholarship. The American legal system as well as our social welfare systems are founded upon preconceived ideas of personhood, and they distinguish among fit/unfit and worthy/unworthy citizens in the receipt of rights and social support. Because we fail to incorporate disability justice into theories of inequality, we further overlook disability in our conceptualizations of social justice.

The very idea of social justice demands attention to disability for several reasons. First, scholarship on embodiment explores the ways in which injustice is written on our bodies, and social justice must embrace diverse bodies produced naturally and actively through systems of inequality. Embodiment further ties into work on the socio-geographic and spatial distribution of power that fuels inaccessible/accessible, inclusive/exclusive environments. Second, disability demands that we rethink the myth of the autonomous citizen and take vulnerability and relationality into account. Martha Nussbaum’s capabilities approach, for example, asks how we ensure human dignity to a population with diverse abilities and needs, acknowledging that even with equal distribution of resources needs and abilities vary. Third, disability affects models of self-advocacy and organization in attaining social justice, rethinking ableism and “compulsory able-bodied” norms and actions as they manifest within rights movements and “progressive” organizations. Finally, the bases of social justice – such as access to creative production, equitable distribution of resources, and/or open civic dialogue – must each be reconsidered to imagine if and how these bases include and operate in a world with disability.

Participants: (Session Organizer/Presider) Allison C. Carey, Shippensburg University; (Session Organizer) Heather E. Dillaway, Wayne State University

  • Critical Disability Studies and Epistemic Justice. Michelle Fine, Emese Ilyes and Austin Oswald, The Graduate Center, City University of New York
  • Rethinking Interdependence: Desiring Messy Dependency. Akemi Nishida, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • The Costs of Exclusion and the Fight for Inclusion. Sara E. Green, University of South Florida
  • Prisons and Criminal Injustice as Disability and Social Justice Issues. Liat Ben-Moshe, University of Illinois at Chicago


Sociologists Engage on Criminal (In)justice 

Description: In the last decade the public discourse on punishment in the United States has experienced a decided shift. Policymakers on both sides of the aisle have begun to rethink our nation’s criminal justice policies – in particular aggressive policing, use of bail/fines and fees, and investment in prisons. Activists, including formerly incarcerated persons, have created new reform (and abolition) movements. And the public increasingly reports support for rehabilitation. While punishment scholars have almost uniformly critiqued mass incarceration since the 1990s, the shift in discourse provides scholars with more opportunities than ever to engage policymakers, activists and the public on issues of criminal (in)justice. Having produced the cutting-edge scholarship on the rise and consequences of the carceral state, sociologists are uniquely positioned to contribute to criminal justice reform. A distinguished panel of speakers will draw from their diverse personal experience as public sociologists to address three key questions. First, from providing empirical data to direct advocacy, what are the myriad of roles for sociologists in shrinking the carceral state? Second, what are best practices for reaching the target audience and how has that audience responded? And third, what are the successes and challenges of public engagement? The panel will begin to build a community of sociologists who can learn from and support each other as they help inform a critical public dialogue on policing and punishment in the United States.

Participants: (Session Organizer) Bruce Western, Harvard University; (Session Organizer) Heather A. Schoenfeld, Northwestern University; (Presider) Heather A. Schoenfeld, Northwestern University; (Discussant) Bruce Western, Harvard University

  • Monetary Sanctions: Making Policy and Practice Change and Moving Forward. Alexes Harris, University of Washington
  • Whose Side are We On? Race, Professionalism and Politics in the Academy. Nikki Jones, University of California-Berkeley
  • Publishing Public Commentary on Crime and Justice Research. Christopher Uggen, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities


2019 Pearson
2019 Fordham University
2019 Hofstra