Saturday, December 24, 2005

asa & aa,a?

It took only five weeks after first being noted here in JFW, but prominent gender scholars in sociology have now also listservly noticed the curious difference in the gender distribution of those who won elections in 2005 and those who the relevant ASA committee assembled as the slate of candidates for 2006. The following was sent to the Sociologists for Women in Society listserv Thursday:*
Date: Thu, 22 Dec 2005 14:14:00 -0500
From: Judith Lorber
Subject: ASA 2006 ELECTIONS

Compare the results of the 2005 elections with the slate for 2006.
Affirmative action, anyone?

[2005 Election Winners]

Frances Fox Piven, City University of New York

Vice President-Elect
Bonnie Thornton Dill, University of Maryland

Council Members-at-Large
Judith D. Auerbach, American Foundation for AIDS Research
Evelyn Nakano Glen, University of California-Berkeley
Michele Lamont, Harvard University
Gay Seidman, University of Wisconsin - Madison

Candidates in 2006 ASA Election

Arne L. Kalleberg, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill
Victor Nee, Cornell University

Vice President-Elect
Randall Collins, University of Pennsylvania
Douglas McAdam, Stanford University

N. Jay Demerath III, University of Massachusetts
Donald Tomaskovic-Devey, University of Massachusetts - Amherst
The issue came up recently again when I asked a friend and ASA member (who, if she reads this, knows who she is) if she still followed the rules she once told me for how she votes in ASA elections. In order, she votes for (1) people she knows and likes, (2) people whose work she knows and likes, (3) women, and (4) racial/ethnic minorities. Not that there is anything wrong with this! Or, um, necessarily wrong with this, would probably be closer to how I feel. In any event, there's not much that ends up being consequential about this, and certainly so in comparison to the continued male domination of certain other democracies that have a bit more power. Besides, I'm sure my friend is alone in the way she approaches the ASA elections, and everyone else carefully reads the candidate statements and casts ballots on the basis of those.

Anyway, the most interesting election from a sociology-of-sociology-and-gender standpoint is the race for Council: namely, seeing whether Dalton Conley, who I think would have been likely to win a seat otherwise, will still win after his recent NYT op-ed that provoked much disagreement from many sociologists (myself included, although I didn't blog about it).

* (Thanks to the SWS subscriber who forwarded this to me. The Lorber e-mail also included the slate of council candidates, which is also mostly men, although that count doesn't entirely reflect the slate chosen by the ASA committee because at least one candidate is on there by petition.)


tina said...

I had a chuckle when I saw Judith Lorber's email, too. They just can't keep up with JFW.

I've got my money on Dalton Conley not getting a seat on the Council, but from what I hear about the halls of NYU and elsewhere, his perspective is quite appealing to quite a few men graduate students who want to make sure that their rights to govern women's bodies are protected. So I may be wrong, is what I'm sayin'.

Anonymous said...

while I don't see a problem with an email from a members-only listserve being forwarded to others, but posting it online, with the senders' name and such seems just kind of yucky to me.

jeremy said...

I don't know how to conceptualize "yucky", but there is certainly nothing unethical about it. The listserv is available for anyone to join, just like my blog is available for anyone to read. Anyone who thinks sending something to a unrestricted listserv is somehow not putting it into the quotable public domain is operating under a social construction of private discourse that I do not share.

jeremy said...

(Although, just to be clear, even if the listserv was restricted to "all SWS members," I would still regard it as fair to re-post. SWS is an intellectual and professional organization, not a personal club.

To take the point even further, if a graduate student in my department posted something to the graduate student listserv and another graduate student posted it on their blog, I would have absolutely no ethical problem with that, although this is a more debatable situation than the Lorber e-mail. Unless the listserv is explicitly intended for conducting private business and as a forum for potentially sensitive disclosures, people do not have the right to consider official organizational listservs to be "just us" conversations even if they would prefer it to be such.)

jeremy said...

(To clarify my clarification, nothing about this is specific to SWS, nor do I even have any quarrel with anything about the content of Lorber's message.

But, in principle, if somebody posted something I regarded as objectionable or otherwise postworthy to, for example, a listserv of one of the ASA sections of which I am a member, I would have no problem sharing their e-mail to the world via this blog.)

jeremy said...

Tina: Whatever they may be saying in hallways, male graduate students in sociology aren't a large enough constituency to win a seat on the ASA Council. In any case, a strange op-ed indeed.

Anonymous said...

As that other anon says

SLURP SLURP burp burp

Anonymous said...

Conley's op-ed probably increased his support among another group: those who have long thought his research is only mediocre, but who also think the ASA has become too "politically correct" and/or that Conley is being unfairly persecuted because of his non-normative (for a sociologist) views on abortion. If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say he lost slightly more votes among the SWS/feminist/female "demographic" than he picked up from the male graduate student + anti-PC "demographic," but in the end it won't matter because name recognition will carry the day.

Gads, who ever would have guessed that an ASA election could be so, um, interesting?

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, that email was blowing up the internet waves a few weeks ago. Apparently Conley's perspective on paternal rights was shaped by his own personal experiences.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of listserve e-mails, I thought this one from the sex and gender listserve crossed the line:

--------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: [sex_and_gender-announce] and still more jobs!
From: "Sharon Hays"
Date: Wed, September 14, 2005 5:25 pm

hi all-

geez, this is clearly the right listserv for people on the market. (and
if you are, make sure to use these feminist connections. the "old boys"
got to do it on a regular basis.)

so, three more...


Please add these two positions at Ohio University for Fall 2006 to the
announcements. Thanks, Ann Tickamyer

Ohio University. The Department of Sociology and Anthropology seeks a....