American Sociological Association

Retirement Network Invited Lecture

Annual Invited Lecture: "A Life in Sociology"

As part of its Annual Meeting program events, the ASA Retirement Network holds an annual "A Life in Sociology" lecture by an eminent retired or late-career sociologist.


2020 Virtual Engagement Event: Howard S. Becker

Howard S. Becker was the 2020 ASA Retirement Network lecturer. Dr. Becker has made major contributions to the sociology of deviance, sociology of art, and sociology of music. Becker has written extensively on sociological writing styles and methodologies. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors in his field. These include a Guggenheim Fellowship (1978-79); the Charles Horton Cooley Award, awarded by the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction (1980); Common Wealth Award (1981); the Cooley/Mead Award from the ASA Section on Social Psychology (1985); George Herbert Mead Award from the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction (1987); and the ASA Award for a Career of Distinguished Scholarship (1998). He holds honorary degrees from Université de Paris VIII, Université Pierre Mendes-France, Grenoble, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, and École Normale Supérieure Lettres et Sciences Humaines, Lyon.

Due to the cancellation of the 2020 ASA Annual Meeting, the lecture was held virtually as "A Conversation with Howard Becker," followed by a Q&A session. 

Watch "A Conversation with Howard Becker"


2019 ASA Annual Meeting (New York): Judith Lorber

Judith Lorber was the 2019 ASA Retirement Network lecturer. Dr. Lorber is Professor Emerita of Sociology and Women's Studies at The Graduate Center and Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. She was the first Coordinator of the CUNY Graduate Center's Women's Studies Certificate Program and was Founding Editor of Gender & Society, the official publication of Sociologists for Women in Society. She received the American Sociological Association's Jessie Bernard Career Award in 1996 for "scholarly work that has enlarged the horizons of sociology to encompass fully the role of women in society."

Read the lecture transcript (PDF)

Listen to the full lecture:


2018 ASA Annual Meeting (Philadelphia): Carroll L. Estes

Carroll L. Estes was the 2018 ORN lecturer. Dr. Estes is Emerita Professor of Sociology at the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF) where she founded and directed the Institute for Health & Aging (1979-1998), and chaired the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences in the School of Nursing (1981-1992). She has contributed more than two decades to non-profit policy research and advocacy on Capitol Hill and nationally. Her publications address the economic and health security of women and vulnerable populations across the life course, and the place of social insurance, social movements and resistance politics surrounding Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, long term care, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Credited as a founding scholar of the "political economy of aging" and "critical gerontology," her current focus is on advancing critical and emancipatory theory, research, practice, and policy.


2017 ASA Annual Meeting (Montreal): William V. D'Antonio

William V. D'Antonio was the 2017 ORN lecturer. Dr. D'Antonio is Professor Emeritus at the University of Connecticut, and also served as ASA Executive Officer (1982-1991). He  is the co-author of 15 books, on family, religion, and politics, and a successful introductory book, Human Society. At the ASA Annual Meeting in Montreal, he spoke on "My Life and Sociology, or How Did a Third-Generation Italian-American Catholic Find His Way to the ASA’s Executive Office?". 

Read the lecture transcript (PDF)
Read the edited narrative (PDF)

Listen to the full lecture:


2016 ASA Annual Meeting (Seattle): Sally T. Hillsman

Sally Hillsman, who retired as ASA Executive Officer of the American Sociological Association in September 2016, was the 2016 ORN lecturer. Dr. Hillsman, who has been a member of the ASA for 50 years, joined the ASA as Executive Officer in 2002 from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) where she was Deputy Director with responsibility for the Office of Research and Evaluation, the NIJ’s external behavioral and social science research program.  Previously, Dr. Hillsman was Vice President of the National Center for State Courts, and Associate Director of the Vera Institute of Justice in New York City.  Dr. Hillsman holds a PhD in Sociology from Columbia University, and is a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Hillsman published her final "Vantage Point" column as ASA Executive Officer in the September/October 2016 issue of ASA Footnotes, titled “#Doingsociology” at the ASA for 14 Wonderful Years.

Read the lecture transcript (PDF)
Read the edited narrative (PDF)

Listen to the full lecture:


2015 ASA Annual Meeting (Chicago): Earl Babbie, "An (Accidental) Career in Sociology"

Earl Babbie presented the inaugural ASA-ORN lecture at the 2015 ASA Annual Meeting in Chicago, titled "An (Accidental) Career in Sociology." in our "A Life in Sociology" series. The Acting Advisory Board decided to invite Dr. Babbie because of his distinguished career and his regional leadership in programs for retired sociologists. In addition to his scholarship, Earl has the reputation of being a thoughtful and humorous speaker. In November 2015, ASA Footnotes published an Emeritus Profile article on Earl's career and his lecture.

Read the lecture transcript (PDF)

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