The 2020 conference was cancelled due to COVID-19 conditions.
Theme: Democracy in a Divided Society
President: Dennis J. Downey, CSU Channel Islands
Program Chair: Elizabeth Sowers, CSU Channel Islands
Vice President: Ellen Reese, UC Riverside
Some fabulous special sessions were planned for 2020; some will be carried over to the 2021 conference. Here is 2020 President Dennis Downey’s summary:
The conference theme is “Democracy in a Divided Society.” When I selected that theme two years ago, it was already abundantly clear that these issues would be at the forefront of our collective mind this spring. How could they not? I look forward to coming together with colleagues in March to think collectively about the vexing and consequential issues swirling around us, and learning from insightful presentations at sessions throughout the program that speak clearly to our challenging times. Here, I’d primarily like to highlight the thematic sessions organized specifically to address those issues:
“Blind Spots and Third Rails: Underreported News Stories in the US press and Call to Action for a Democracy in Crisis”: The media have a powerful influence in shaping the world in which we live. This session presents a timely look at its shortcomings and the impacts that has on our social and political dynamics. A call to action indeed! Panelists: Deana Rohlinger (Florida State), Izzy Snow (Barnard College), Steve Macek (North Central College), and Andy Roth (Project Censored). Organizer: Susan Rahman (Sonoma State).
“Protest in the Age of Trump”: Social movements on both the left and the right are highly mobilized in the United States right now. This session will help us to understand the factors driving contemporary mobilizations, who is mobilizing and why, and to better understand the powerful possibilities and limitations of movements to bring about the changes that many of us would like to see. Panelists: Megan Brooker (U Kansas); David Meyer (UC Irvine); Rory McVeigh (Notre Dame); Veronica Terriquez (UC Santa Cruz). Discussant: Doug McAdam (Stanford). Organizer: Nella Van Dyke (UC Merced).
“Making it Count: Implications and Sociological Relevance of the 2020 US Census”: While elections dominate headlines, the 2020 Census moves forward. It has been shaped by political battles, and its outcomes will have crucial implications for future battles. Our panel of experts will help us to make sense of it all. Panelists: Dudley Poston (Texas A&M); Raoul Liévanos (U of Oregon); Beth Jarosz (Population Reference Bureau); Victoria Velkoff (U.S. Census Bureau). Organizers: Georgiana Bostean (Chapman University) and Luis Sánchez (CSU Channel Islands).
“Microfoundations of Social and Political Divides”: Sociologists tend to think about socio-politics at the macro-level, but new and fascinating research on identities, status, emotions and values shows that micro-dynamics of social life are essential to understanding social divides – and how to more effectively communicate in that context. This panel is a primer for learning about that research and its implications. Panelists: Rengin Firat (UC Riverside); Jan Stets (UC Riverside); Richard Serpe (Kent State); Kelly Markowski (Kent State); Hye Won Kwon (University of Turku, Finland). Organizer: Rengin Firat (UC Riverside).
“Responses to Immigrant Exclusion”: There is arguably no issue more central to contemporary political divides than immigration – and exclusion is at the core of its dynamics. Here we’ll hear critical analyses from sociologists at the forefront of that field who can inspire and inform our own responses. Panelists: Tanya Golash-Boza (UC Merced); Stephanie Canizales (UC Merced); Laura Enriquez (UC Irvine); Veronica Terriquez (UC Santa Cruz). Organizer: Katie Dingeman (CSU Los Angeles).
“Rural Landscapes through a Different Lens: Sexualities in Rural America”: Rural areas do not have the critical mass that supports LGBTQ communities in urban areas, but neither are they characterized simply by absence. This panel will highlight some of the complexities of LGBTQ life and community in rural areas – and will help urban sociologists to see rural areas in a more compelling light. Panelists: Greggor Matson (Oberlin); Miriam Abelson (Portland State); Emily Kazyak (U of Nebraska). Discussant: Arlene Stein (Rutgers). Organizer: Jennifer Sherman (Washington State).
“Populism, Authoritarianism, and the Prospects of Democracy in a Divided Society: Interdisciplinary and Global Perspectives”: Populism is arguably the defining politics of our era – spanning the political spectrum from right to left, and spanning the globe from East to West. The panel includes experts from a wide range of regional perspectives to help us understand the dynamics and driving force of populism. Panelists: Marco Garrido (U of Chicago); Carlos de la Torre (U of Kentucky); Joseph Lowndes (U of Oregon); Dorit Geva (Central European University); Reha Kadakal (CSU Channel Islands). Organizer: Reha Kadakal (CSU Channel Islands).
“The Politics of Gentrification in Urban and Rural Contexts”: The economic and developmental challenges of urban and rural areas are often presented as having distinct logics, and leading to different outcomes. This panel will focus on the common challenges presented to urban and rural contexts by gentrification, hopefully helping us to see parallels (and build bridges) between them. Panelists: Jennifer Sherman (Washington State); J.J. Schlictmann (DePaul University). Discussant: Ryanne Pilgeram (U of Idaho). Organizer: Jennifer Sherman (Washington State).
“Public Sociology in a Divided Society”: Public sociology has been an aspiration and topic of debate for nearly two decades – but perhaps never as needed as it is now. In this panel, Arlene Stein (Going Public) will be joined by sociologists doing public sociology in a range of different contexts (film, digital, politics, etc.). The session will not only inspire us, but will offer tools to help us to shape our times. Panelists: Arlene Stein (Rutgers); Barb Risman (U Illinois, Chicago); Michael Dreiling (U of Oregon); Gwen Sharp (UNLV). Organizer: James Singer (Salt Lake Community College).
We also have two special thematic presentations on our conference theme from leading scholars in our discipline:
- Elijah Anderson will be presenting the Sorokin Lecture (sponsored by the ASA): “The American Color Line: A Major Challenge for Civil Society.” Anderson, an ethnographer with rich insights cultivated through decades of research, will be speaking about one of the most important divisions in contemporary society. This is certain to be a much-discussed presentation.
- Doug McAdam will be giving the Star Speaker presentation (sponsored by the Emeritus and Retired Sociologists Committee): “Putting Trump in Context: Race, Region, and the Erosion of American Democracy.” McAdam’s research has chronicled how contentious action has shaped our society over the past half century, bringing a rich perspective to interpret and better understand our current era.
One innovation that I’m very excited about is a series of thematic “dessert forums” each evening of the meeting to be held in the panoramic Vistas event space on the top floor of The Graduate Hotel. Members will be able to come back to the hotel after dinner with colleagues old and new, and enjoy a less formal forum focusing on some topic related to the program theme. Thursday evening’s dessert forum will be: “Inside the Malheur Occupation: Understanding Rural Rebellion in the West,” focusing on the critical 2016 protest in Eastern Oregon by Western ranchers and an assortment of fellow travelers aimed primarily at federal land policies. The forum will feature the journalist James Pogue who was able to gain access to the occupation and its leaders (chronicled in his book Chosen Country: A Rebellion in the West), and will help us to understand the motivations of protesters and their layered (and often contradictory) aims. Several sociologists will offer brief responses prior to a collective discussion with the audience: Susan Mannon (U of the Pacific), Pete Simi (Chapman U), and Michael Cope (Brigham Young). This is guaranteed to be a vibrant opening evening of our meeting.
Friday evening’s dessert forum will be an innovative event focused on poetry as a tool for social justice: “Poetry for a Just Society: Reading by Oregon Poet Laureate Elizabeth Woody followed by Open Mic Poetry.” We will be joined by Liz Woody, Oregon’s Poet Laureate in 2017, who will read some of her remarkable work exploring issues of indigenous identity, rural life, the natural world, social inequality, among many other themes. Woody was born in Arizona and is an enrolled member of the Confederate Tribes of Warm Springs in Oregon. A profile on the website Ecotrust described Woody as “both a bridge-builder and a master of the difficult art of elevated plain speech, an approach to language that draws people in rather than shutting them out.” That is an invaluable model for our times. Following Woody’s presentation, Lori Walkington (CSU San Marcos) will host the PSA’s first open mic poetry event which will exemplify ties between art, activism, social connection, and social change. The poets among us should come ready to present their own work!
Our dessert forum finale on Saturday evening will be a “town hall” event addressing head-on the role of Sociology in our current political context, titled “The 2020 Elections and Beyond.” The event will be hosted by PSA Vice President Ellen Reese, and will feature a panel of sociologists who will spark a discussion on a range of issues in contemporary politics, and the potential for sociologists to provide solutions. The panel of sociologists will be: Elijah Anderson (Yale University), Stephanie Mudge (UC Davis), Carlos de la Torre (U Kentucky), Jennifer Sherman (Washington State), Rengin Firat (UC Riverside), Barb Risman (U Illinois Chicago), Arlene Stein (Rutgers), Deana Rohlinger (Florida State), Laura Enriquez (UC Irvine), and Greg McLauchlan (U Oregon). This will be an important opportunity for a collective discussion among PSA members about our role as sociologists in finding a path out of our current political wilderness.
Beyond the thematic programming, we have over 250 sessions addressing substantive issues across the range of subfields in sociology. We have nearly two dozen panels focusing on new books in our discipline, several sessions highlighting films, a wealth of sessions focused on teaching sociology, a variety of affinity meetings and professional development opportunities. We will also have two types of special sessions to bring together members interested in specific disciplinary subfields. You will find a half dozen PSA Mentor Sessions — a new addition to our meetings in which an established sociologist in a subfield will serve as a formal discussant for presentations by several graduate students and early career sociologists. You will also find seven Open Discussion Sessions in which members can come together to discuss emerging (or ongoing) topics and issues central to their subfields – a great way to connect with colleagues sharing your particular interests. We also have dozens of undergraduate roundtables to serve the PSA’s mission of developing the next generation of sociologists – drop in on one, if you have the opportunity.
2020 Sessions and events for students: Each year the PSA Student Affairs Committee and other committees sponsor some special sessions aimed at students–on topics like applying for graduate school, getting a job teaching at a community college, how to make the most of your conference experience, and much more. Sessions planned for 2020 include:
Grounding Social Justice in Classical Theory: Can Sociology Liberate Us? sponsored by the Committee on Rights, Liberties, and Social Justice
Using Sociology: Students and Alumni Apply Sociological Skills to Their Careers sponsored by the Committee on Practicing and Applied Sociology
Practical Approaches: Sociology to Professional World: Marketing Sociology as a Skill Set for New Graduates sponsored by the Committee on Practicing and Applied Sociology
Getting Jobs in Academia
Socio-Poetics and Storytelling sponsored by the Committee on the Status of Racial and Ethnic Minorities
Grad Fair Meet with representatives from graduate programs in sociology across the PSA region
Be The Change You Wish To See In The World: Teaching At The Community College
Balancing Teaching and Graduate Study: Lessons by and for Graduate Students by Alpha Kappa Delta
2020 Program Committee
Program Chair: Elizabeth Sowers, California State University, Channel Islands
|Topical Area||Organizer Name and Affiliation|
|Applied, Clinical, and Public Sociology||José Muñoz, CSU San Bernardino|
|Art, Culture, and Popular Culture||Linda Rillorta, Mt. San Antonio College|
|Asian/Asian American Sociology||Dana Nakano, CSU Stanislaus|
|Black Sociology||Lori Walkington, CSU San Marcos|
|Childhood and Youth||Gabrielle Plickert, Cal Poly Pomona|
|Crime, Law, and Deviance||Josh Meisel, Humboldt State University|
|Education (Higher Education & other)||Brianne Davila, Cal Poly Pomona|
|Environmental Sociology||Laura Earles, Lewis-Clark State College|
|Ethnography||Jennifer Reich, Univ. of Colorado, Denver|
|Food and Society||Rachel Soper, CSU Channel Islands|
|Gender||Georgiann Davis, U. of Nevada Las Vegas|
|Indigenous Sociology||James Courage Singer, Salt Lake CC|
|Intimate Relationships, Families, & Reproductive Politics||Laury Oaks, UC Santa Barbara|
|Labor and Labor Movements||Jason Struna, University of Puget Sound|
|Latinx Sociology||Celia Lacayo, UCLA|
|Life Course and Aging||Anna Muraco, Loyola Marymount U.|
|Marxist Sociology/Critical Sociology||Jey Strangfeld, CSU Stanislaus|
|Media and Communication||Susan Rahman, College of Marin|
|Medical Sociology and Health||Alicia Bonaparte, Pitzer College|
|Methods||Pete Simi, Chapman University|
|Migration/Immigration||Katie Dingeman, CSU Los Angeles|
|Peace, War, and the Military||Augustine Kposowa, UC Riverside|
|Politics & the State (Political Sociology)||Raphi Rechitsky, National University|
|Population and Demography||Georgiana Bostean, Chapman University|
|Race, Class and Gender||Kristy Shih, CSU Long Beach|
|Race/Ethnicity||Daniel Olmos, CSU Northridge|
|Regional Studies, Transnationalism, Globalization, & Development||Kemi Balogun, University of Oregon|
|Religion (including Sociology of Islam)||Reid Leamaster, Glendale Comm. Coll.|
|Rural Sociology||Jennifer Sherman, Washington State U.|
|Science and Technology||Dilshani Sarathchandra, U. of Idaho|
|Sexualities||Jodi O’Brien, Seattle University|
|Social Movements and Social Change||Nella Van Dyke, UC Merced|
|Social Psychology, Identity, Emotions||Amanda Shigahara, Sacramento State U.|
|Social Stratification, Inequality, & Poverty||Alexis McCurn, CSU Dominguez Hills|
|Sport and Leisure||Ann Travers, Simon Fraser University|
|Urban and Community Studies||Pepper Glass, Weber State University|
|Theory||Reha Kadakal, CSU Channel Islands|
|Teaching Sociology: Community Colleges||Dolores Ortiz, Oxnard College|
|Teaching Sociology: Four Year Colleges||Michael Chavez, CSU Long Beach|
|Work, Organizations, & Economic Sociology||Christy Glass, Utah State University|
|Undergraduate Roundtables & Posters||Robert Kettlitz, Hastings College|
2020 Committee Sponsored Sessions for Open Call Submissions
Most of the following special sessions being organized by PSA committees are open for paper submissions by faculty, applied sociologists, and graduate students; however, one session–“Undergraduates Researching Race Roundtable” is open only for undergraduate participation.
|Session Title||Sponsoring Committee|
|Teaching and Research in Politically Sensitive Times||Freedom in Research and Teaching|
|Socio-Poetics and Storytelling||Status of Racial and Ethnic Minorities|
|“Safety” in the Era of Trump||Status of Racial and Ethnic Minorities|
|Surviving the Trump Era||Status of Racial and Ethnic Minorities|
|Border Politics||Status of Racial and Ethnic Minorities|
|Academic Entrepreneurship & Alternatives to Academic Careers||Status of Racial and Ethnic Minorities|
|People of Color over the Life Course||Status of Racial and Ethnic Minorities|
|Gendered Resistance in the Sociopolitical Landscape||Status of Women|
|Millennial Women: Challenges and Resources||Status of Women|
|Intersections of Work, Gender, Family||Status of Women|
|Mothering in Academia across the Career Span||Status of Women|
|Women’s Leadership in Social Justice Movements||Status of Women|
|Research on Women of Color||Status of Women|
|Teaching about Climate Change: Engaging Students, Inspiring Change||Teaching|
|Strategies for Teaching Gender||Teaching & Status of Women|
|Doing Emotional Labor in the Classroom||Teaching|
|Creating a Culture of Assessment in Departments and Universities||Teaching|
|Innovative Ways to Document Student Learning||Teaching|
|Teaching Social Problems||Teaching|
|Teaching Strategies: Resistance in the Sociopolitical Landscape,||Teaching|