Newswise — WASHINGTON, DC, October 12, 2016 — Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Professor and Chair of Sociology at Duke University, has been elected the 109th President of the American Sociological Association (ASA), and Christopher Uggen, Regents Professor of Sociology and Law at the University of Minnesota, has been elected Vice President. Bonilla-Silva and Uggen will serve as President- and Vice President-elect for one year before succeeding Harvard University’s Michèle Lamont and New York University’s Kathleen Gerson respectively in August 2017.
“I was humbled and honored by my election as ASA President,” said Bonilla-Silva. “I was particularly excited because my brand of sociology — critical, change-oriented, and committed to making the world more democratic, inclusive, and equal — is viewed in some sociological quarters as ‘political’ and I still got elected.” The President-Elect of the Southern Sociological Society, Bonilla-Silva earned his PhD in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has held several ASA leadership positions in the past, including Council Member, Member of the Committee on Nominations, and Chair of the Section on Racial and Ethnic Minorities. “I have served the Association in many capacities, but the chance to serve as President of the Association is something quite different,” said Bonilla-Silva, who taught at Texas A&M University and the University of Michigan before joining the Duke faculty. “ASA Presidents can help effect change in the organization and leave a historical imprint through the theme they choose and the program they put together for the Annual Meeting, as well as the special projects they work on.” As ASA President, Bonilla-Silva hopes to create a task force to explore how race affects sociology. The author of a number of books, including Racism Without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in America, Bonilla-Silva’s research has focused on racial theory, racial ideology, racism and methodology, and racial stratification in the United States. While in office, Bonilla-Silva also plans to follow in the tradition of “public sociology,” which emphasizes sociologists’ engagement in public debates and with audiences outside academia. “Sociologists need to be more engaged in the public square,” said Bonilla-Silva. “We ought to aspire not just to study the world, but to make it better and, to do so, we should be part of public debates. I hope to develop strategies to increase the presence of sociology and of sociologists in the public domain.”
Like Bonilla-Silva, Vice President-elect Christopher Uggen is also an alumnus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Sociology.
He hopes to broaden the visibility of sociology and help younger sociologists. “I’ve benefited a ton from the personal and institutional support of ASA and its members, so I truly want to do all I can to pay it back by investing in the next generation of sociologists,” said Uggen. A new member of the Board of Overseers for the General Social Survey, Uggen believes ASA can play a larger role in advocating for the resources sociologists need to do great research.
“I think sociologists are doing important work, and part of my job is to help support that work and shine a light on it,” said Uggen, who has held a variety of leadership positions in the ASA, including Chair of the Section on Crime, Law, and Deviance, and Editor (with Doug Hartmann) of the award-winning Contexts magazine.
“I’ve seen how sociology speaks powerfully to the central dilemmas of the day,” Uggen said. “As a ‘big tent’ sociologist, I value the richness and diversity of our field and the science and activism that sociology inspires. Effective ASA leadership helps put our productive internal tensions to good purpose, while advocating to external audiences on behalf of our membership. As Vice President, I will work to expand the reach and impact of sociology, to use old and new media to bring sociology to more students, and to sustain and nurture the research infrastructure that advances sociological knowledge.”
A faculty member at the University of Minnesota for more than 20 years, Uggen’s research focuses on crime, law, and justice. His work on felon disenfranchisement (with Jeff Manza), was highlighted in The New York Times Magazine’s 2004 “Year in Ideas” issue and his research on crime, harassment, and discrimination is regularly cited in the media.
During their distinguished careers, both Bonilla-Silva and Uggen have received numerous awards for their contributions to sociology. In 2011, Bonilla-Silva won the Cox-Johnson-Frazier ASA Award, which recognizes outstanding mentoring and scholarship pertaining to racial issues, social justice, and activism. He is also a past recipient of the Oliver C. Cox ASA Section Award, given by the ASA Section on Racial and Ethnic Minorities to the author of the “book of the year” on race and ethnicity. Uggen, who received the ASA Crime, Law, and Deviance Section’s Peterson-Krivo Mentoring Award in 2014, is a Fellow of the American Society of Criminology and recipient of the 2016 SUNY Albany Hindelang Speaker Award for career contributions to criminology. ###
About the American Sociological Association The American Sociological Association (www.asanet.org), 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.
Elizabeth McCauley, ASA Public Information Office, wrote this press release.