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Greetings from ASA President Cynthia Fuchs Epstein

Dear Colleagues,

With “Great Divides: Transgressing Boundaries” as the theme for the 101st meeting of the ASA, it is most appropriate that we are meeting in the beautiful city of Montréal, Quebec, Canada, a place of the merging of disparate cultures and people.

The program will cover topics of immediate concern to us as sociologists and citizens as well as ongoing debates in the social sciences.

Highlights will include an address by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who argued the major sex discrimination cases before the court. She will speak on progress that has been made combating sex discrimination practices in American society at the first plenary session on August 11. Deborah Rhode of the Stanford Law School and Judith Resnik of Yale University Law School will also present perspectives on the intersection of law and social science on past and continuing divides in our country. Gloria Steinem, the author and women’s rights activist, will focus on the continuing challenges to women and men by speaking on “Breaking out of Invisible Prisons” at another plenary on August 14. Larry Bobo of Stanford University will focus on racial divides on prejudice in politics.

In the course of the meetings, talks will be given by other distinguished scholars who have played strategic roles themselves in challenging gatekeepers, such as Jack Greenberg, who as Director of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund worked to bring the case of Brown vs. Board of Education to the Supreme Court. Dr. Ruth Westheimer, who moved the country to accept open discussion about sexual behavior, will participate in a session on Sexual Boundaries. Jeremy Waldron, the world renowned political philosopher, will speak at a special thematic session on torture. And, New York Times economics writer Louis Uchitelle will speak about his new book, The Disposable American, at a session co-sponsored by the ASA Section on Organizations, Occupations, and Work.

Scores of thematic sessions with distinguished scholars will further illuminate the issues of how divides in social life are constructed and what mechanisms create change. They will include boundary issues of immigration, marriage, identity, the workplace, the political sphere, and academic disciplines.

Montréal is a great place to reunite with old friends and make new connections! The city provides feasts for the eye and the palate with wonderful restaurants, lovely architecture, a fabulous waterfront filled with museums and walkways. Friendly ambassadors are ready to welcome us from Tourisme Montréal, and our Canadian sociological colleagues have planned regional spotlight sessions that cover timely intellectual debates as well as Montréal’s special visual and gastronomic delights—including a beer tasting event with the help of local breweries. We look forward to seeing you in Montréal!

Cynthia Fuchs Epstein
ASA President
Chair, 2006 Program Committee
Graduate Center, City University of New York