American Sociological Association

ASA Footnotes

A publication of the American Sociological AssociationASA News & Events
June-August 2019

Yasemin Besen-Cassino Selected as the Next Editor of Contemporary Sociology

Laura Kramer, Montclair State University

Yasemin Besen-Cassino

Yasemin Bessen-Cassino

The ASA recently announced the appointment of Yasemin Besen-Cassino as incoming editor of Contemporary Sociology (CS), the association’s bimonthly journal of book reviews and critical essays. This is an “obvious” next step in a career marked by a high level of editorial experience. Yasemin recently completed four years as Book Review Editor of Gender & Society –shepherding reviews for six issues published annually, and handling the challenge of choosing from among the many new volumes submitted or suggested for review. She has just finished a term on the editorial board of Contexts. While in graduate school, Yasemin served as Managing Editor of Men and Masculinities

With Besen-Cassino’s editorship, we can anticipate several new or expanded features in Contemporary Sociology. Yasemin will enrich the reviewer base by drawing on an increasingly international pool of sociologists and by bringing in people from across the career span. She plans to encourage jointly written reviews, which may introduce people to the reviewer role earlier in their careers as well as bring people with different areas of expertise together to collaborate in reviewing a book with an interdisciplinary focus. 

Yasemin’s data-based approach to editing led her to learn about the patterns of reviewer use at Gender & Society. As an emeritus faculty member, I benefited from her recognizing this underutilized resource when she invited me to review. She is savvy about the invisible work of an editor; for example, tapping retired sociologists is apt to improve acceptance rates and turn-around times! Another initiative we will see is an increased level of social media activity related to the journal. At Gender & Society she initiated the creation of podcasts with some reviewed authors. In addition, Yasemin plans to use Twitter and Instagram to publicize the articles and reviews in CS.

Besen-Cassino came to Montclair State’s Sociology Department in 2005 directly from her graduate studies at SUNY-Stony Brook, where she earned both her masters and doctoral degrees. Yasemin’s specialization in the study of gender and youth, particularly youth employment, began while she was a graduate student. She has since added a focus on gender, youth, and the political arena. In each area, Yasemin has been extremely productive. She models the variety of ways to share her results: books, monographs, articles, conference presentations, podcasting, and the popular media. Yasemin is also an active book and manuscript reviewer. Last August, she drew on her experiences as an editor and reviewer to present “How to Write Book Reviews” at the ASA meetings. This productivity is especially notable given the high teaching load at MSU, as well as the relative scarcity of internal support for research and writing.

She has received numerous awards for her work. Missing from her CV is one particular treat she received because of her work; she had the opportunity to meet Lilly Ledbetter, for whom the Fair Pay Act (2009) was named.

Yasemin’s work is international in scope. Her undergraduate degree was earned at Bogazici University, in Istanbul. While her research has largely focused on the United States, she has often participated in multinational conferences to share with and learn about related research in other societies. Her work is also interdisciplinary – several of her projects have been collaborations with her husband, Dan Cassino, a political scientist.

Yasemin’s teaching has been recognized since her graduate school days. Using their strengths in teaching and using qualitative and quantitative methods, she and Dan authored Social Science Research Methods by Example (Routledge, 2017). A new membership in the ASA’s Program Reviewers and Consultants group (previously known as the Department Resources Group) indicates both her interest in and insight into the challenges facing sociology and sociologists in the contemporary academy. 

In addition to Yasemin’s research, writing, and teaching, she is actively involved in service – she is starting a term as Sociology Department Chair at Montclair and is a member of the Publications Committee of SWS – which is a big responsibility as the organization plans to launch a second journal! Yasemin is committed to being a public sociologist. For example, she testified as an expert witness on gender and wage inequity to the New Jersey State Legislature.