Michèle Lamont, a Professor of Sociology and African and African-American Studies and the Robert I. Goldman Professor of European Studies at Harvard University, has been elected the 108th President of the American Sociological Association (ASA). Lamont will serve as President-Elect for one year before succeeding the City University of New York Graduate Center's Ruth Milkman as ASA President in August 2016.
"I am honored by the trust put in me and hope to make the most of this opportunity to define an intellectual agenda for our field and to bolster the influence of sociology in the public sphere," said Lamont, who is also the Director of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard and Co-Director of the Successful Societies Program of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.
The ASA membership also selected Kathleen Gerson as Vice President and David Takeuchi as Secretary. Gerson is a Collegiate Professor of Arts and Science and a Professor of Sociology at New York University, while Takeuchi is a Professor, the Dorothy Book Scholar, and the Associate Dean for Research in Boston College's School of Social Work. Following a year of service as Vice President-Elect and Secretary-Elect, Gerson and Takeuchi will succeed the University of Illinois at Chicago's Barbara J. Risman and Arizona State University's Mary Romero respectively.
"We are fortunate to have these three outstanding scholars join our leadership team," said ASA Executive Officer Sally T. Hillsman. "Michèle Lamont, Kathleen Gerson, and David Takeuchi have all made important contributions to the discipline and to the ASA. We look forward to the innovative and exciting ideas they will bring to the Association in their new roles."
Previously, Lamont, who earned her PhD from the Université de Paris, chaired the Council for European Studies and was a member of the High Council on Science and Technology to the Prime Minister of France. She studies the cultural processes of inequality and stigmatization in the United States and elsewhere.
"I plan to work on enhancing sociology's influence in education, politics, and the media in order to broaden our impact as an enlightening, empowering, democratizing, and diversifying force," Lamont said.
More specifically, Lamont plans to reinitiate efforts to create high school Advanced Placement sociology courses and support the development of K-12 sociology programs.
As Vice President, Gerson, who received her PhD from the University of California-Berkeley and is currently Co-President of Sociologists for Women in Society, hopes "to help the ASA build an arena in which sociologists of all stripes can contribute their expertise to the national and international dialogue."
Through the ASA Annual Meeting and other initiatives, Gerson wants to "make it clear — both to the ASA members and the wider world — that sociology is indispensable to understanding and addressing the pressing challenges facing the U.S. and the world."
Takeuchi, who earned his PhD from the University of Hawaii and is on the National Academy of Sciences' Panel on the Integration of Immigrants into American Society and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Health & Society Scholars National Advisory Committee, said his goals include helping to move the work of sociologists and sociology into the public arena, enhancing the research support for the social sciences, and establishing more collaborative efforts with other disciplines.
During their distinguished careers, Lamont, Gerson, and Takeuchi, have all held a variety of leadership positions within the ASA. Lamont currently chairs the ASA's Inequality, Poverty, and Mobility Section, and previously chaired the Culture Section and the Theory Section. She also served as a Council Member and a member of the Editorial Board of the American Sociological Review (ASR). Gerson is a past chair of ASA's Family Section and served on ASR's Editorial Board, as well as on ASA's Committee on Nominations and its Committee on Publications. Takeuchi is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior and serves on advisory committees for both ASA's Minority Fellowship Program (MFP) and its Honors Program.
"Without the ASA, especially the MFP, I would never have received my PhD and enjoyed a career as a social scientist," said Takeuchi. "Running for an office when called upon is the least I could do to pay back for all of the benefits that I received in becoming a sociologist, including substantive and methodological training, exceptional colleagues who became exceptional friends, outstanding students who became top researchers, and a wonderful professional and personal network that have been very helpful and supportive."
About the American Sociological Association
The American Sociological Association, founded in 1905, is a non-profit membership association dedicated to serving sociologists in their work, advancing sociology as a science and profession, and promoting the contributions to and use of sociology by society.
This press release was written by Catherine Turvey, ASA Public Information Office.