American Sociological Association

ASA Footnotes

A publication of the American Sociological AssociationASA News & Events
January-March 2021

ASA Awards Five FAD Grants to Advance Sociology

ASA is pleased to announce five Fund for the Advancement of the Discipline program awards from the June 2020 round of proposals. The FAD is a small grants program funded by National Science Foundation’s Sociology Program through which ASA has supported nearly 400 research projects and conferences. Applications are reviewed by an advisory panel composed of ASA Council members-at-large. 

The program focuses on supporting innovative proposals that have potential to advance the discipline of sociology, with special encouragement given to individuals who are in their early careers at community colleges or institutions without extensive support for research. 

Grant recipients include:

Daniel L. Carlson, University of Utah, Richard J. Petts, Ball State University, and Joanna R. Pepin, University of Buffalo, for The Long-Term Consequences of the COVID-19 Pandemic for Household Gender Equality ($8,000).

COVID-19 has profoundly disrupted the lives of nearly every American household, fundamentally altering paid and unpaid domestic labor in families. Stay-at-home orders and the sudden removal of care and domestic support providers have created a crisis of role conflicts among parents, threatening 60 years of progress toward gender equality. This study aims to understand how parents have responded to meet the challenges of the pandemic and how this response will shape the gendered division of labor over the long term. It does so by administering a survey questionnaire to a panel of partnered U.S. parents at six-month intervals until at least two years after the pandemic ends. Preliminary results from the first survey round demonstrate that the pandemic has both exacerbated and reduced gender inequalities in couples’ divisions of labor. Gender inequality is a persistent and fundamental sociological issue that permeates all aspects of society. The findings from this study will inform theoretical development on the gendered division of labor and work-family policy, and identify topics that are likely to become the subject of research for years.

Lucius Couloute, Suffolk University, and Yolanda Wiggins, San Jose State University, for Black Women and Secondary Criminalization: Understanding the Diffuse Impacts of Mass Incarceration ($8,000).

Although we know much about the collateral consequences of justice system contact for those directly experiencing it, we know less about how our criminal justice system affects broader networks of people who are dealing with the criminalization of a family member. Drawing on in-depth interviews with Black women who have experienced a partner’s incarceration, this study asks: how do black women conceptualize and make meaning of their experiences with the criminalization of partners? How has the rise of mass criminalization impacted this group, both socially and economically? In what ways do black women respond to the incarceration and release of partners? And, how does the criminalization of a partner intersect with the criminalization of Black women themselves? This qualitative research project will help to unpack the hidden social and economic implications of the rise of mass incarceration and determine the extent to which its reach is wider than previously recognized.

Angela R. Dixon, Emory University, for A Deadly Inheritance: Intergenerational Impacts of Kinship and Household Mortality ($8,000).

Blacks are more likely than whites to experience the deaths of multiple family members and experience them at earlier ages. While a great deal of alarm has been raised about recent declines in life expectancy among whites, Blacks still live on average four years less than whites. Though research indicates that experiencing death within one’s family shapes survivors’ health, relatively little research has analyzed how network death contributes to health inequities. The objective of this study is to quantify Black-white disparities in familial and proximate deaths and their relationship to health disparities using longitudinal survey data. This project is innovative in its focus on: 1) racial disparities in death from broader social network ties outside of the nuclear family, and 2) the examination of the pathways through which exposure to death can contribute to adverse health for survivors.

Renee Shelby, Georgia Institute of Technology, for Designing Justice: Sexual Violence, Technology, and the Law ($8,000).

Since the 1970s, citizen-activists have challenged how the justice system neglects assault by redesigning the technology used for self-defense, reporting, investigation, and punishment. The institutionalization of these technologies is signaling a shift in the dominant paradigm from a legal to a techno-legal response to violence. Yet, few studies have engaged survivor, activist, and legal voices to identify the social and legal consequences of these objects, or examined how, if at all, anti-violence technologies could be redesigned to meet a broad spectrum of justice needs and contest the reproduction of racial injustice. The project traces this paradigm shift and examines its impact on racial justice, rape law, and social movement organizing. Through close examination of new narrative and participatory design sources, this analysis will analyze the legal implications of anti-violence technology, and articulates a framework for designing technologies that better serve those on the social, economic, and legal margins. Preliminary findings show that although well-meaning activists design these technologies to mobilize survivors and foster institutional accountability, they are a crucial site of enacting whiteness and uphold the racially unequal practices of the punishment industry. Addressing these inequalities through an anti-oppression lens is necessary to sustain long-term change.

Blake R. Silver, George Mason University, for Labor Market Precarity and Higher Education ($7,840).

How does economic uncertainty shape the ways students navigate higher education? The last 50 years have witnessed a shift from relative stability to precarity in the labor market as steady, well-paying jobs have been replaced by part-time, low-wage, and contingent work. These trends have been compounded in the 21st century, first by the 2008 recession and more recently by the COVID-19 pandemic. While research has documented the broad impact of economic uncertainty on higher education institutions, little is known about how individuals are experiencing this type of uncertainty within colleges and universities. By analyzing in-depth interviews with 80 college students, this project will explore how students navigate economic uncertainty within higher education. Moreover, with the support of an intersectional lens, the study will examine how the mutual constitution of race, class, and gender shapes experiences with and resources for managing labor market precarity.