Later this summer, I will be joining my colleagues in sociology for our annual national conference, hosted by the American Sociological Association. This year’s theme is “Interrogating Inequality: Linking Micro and Macro.” I am pleased to see that this focus on inequality — really the core topic of most sociological research — includes some inward reflection, as well. Two sessions caught my eye:
- “Revisiting the 2003 ASA Race Statement,” a thematic session that asks whether we should continue to examine race and ethnicity in sociological research on inequality. Scheduled for Sunday, August 11th, 10:30am-12:10pm. Featuring panelists Nancy Lopez, David R. Williams, Michael Omi, Lynn Weber, Felice J. Levine, Roberta M. Spalter-Roth, and Deborah K. King.
- “Interrogating Inequalities within Sociology,” a thematic session that “will showcase critical analysis of inequality about sociology and its effects on our paradigms, concepts, methods, and findings.” We, as a discipline, are stronger when sociologists of diverse backgrounds and perspectives are included and equally valued. This panel, co-sponsored by the Committee on the Status of Women in Sociology, features Alenxadra Kalev, Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Joey Sprague, Roberta M. Spalter-Roth, Rodney D. Coates, and Erin Leahey.
I have also come across a number of stories in the past few weeks on the status of equality and diversity in academia in general.
- Special issue of Nature devoted to the status of women in science, including attention to ongoing gender gap(s) in science.
- Personal reflections on challenges women academics have faced and, unfortunately, continue to face. Part of the problem appears to be penalties faced by mothers and benefits afforded to married men (but not married women).
- A new book, Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia, addresses some of the unique challenges faced in academe by women of color.
- Academia is beginning to recognize fatphobia (anti-fat prejudice and discrimination) problem. A stupid, bigoted Tweet by an evolutionary psychologist that suggested that fat people are lazy (too lazy to stop eating, and thus too lazy to complete graduate school) set off a beautiful response from many proud fat PhDs (myself included).
- Though we continue to see progress and “firsts“, problems remain for recruiting and retaining faculty of color throughout academe.