Letter from the Chair – Vanina Leschziner

Hello to all Culture Section members! I hope you have all had a good start to the new year, and that your new academic term is moving along smoothly. To those living in the Northern Hemisphere, the countdown towards the end of the winter is on and we can look forward to longer and brighter days.

All Culture Section committees have been hard at work, and I will briefly report on what has been happening since our December 2022 Newsletter. Our Newsletter Committee and Editors have put together a fantastic Newsletter, and I hope you will all find items of interest to you in there.

Producing Newsletters is hard work, and our four annual Newsletters would not be possible without the generous work of a whole lot of people. I’m grateful to Hannah Wohl (Communications Committee Chair) for her amazing work leading the Communications Committee, and to Newsletter Committee members Lisa McCormick, Ann Mullen, Jennifer Dudley, Anne Marie Champagne, and Derek Robey. Derek Robey has also become our new webmaster, and will be keeping our Culture Section website up-to-date. The Newsletter has been produced by our fantastic Editors, Man Yao (lead Editor for this issue), Elizabeth Trudeau, and Manning Zhang.

Call for Culture Section Awards

The deadline for submissions to the Culture Section Awards for Best Book, Best Article, and Best Student Paper is upcoming. If you haven’t already, please consider submitting your work to the Awards Committees by March 15, 2023!

In case you missed the information for submitting your work to the Awards Committees from the previous Newsletter, here it is again.

The Sociology of Culture Section’s Mary Douglas Prize for Best Book

Book authors may nominate a book published in the calendar year 2022. Authors must be section members to be eligible.

Each member of the committee requires: 
1) A copy of the book, with hardcopies strongly preferred (see book distribution details below).
2) A two paragraphs-long self-nomination letter written by the author providing a synopsis and outlining the book’s contributions to the sociology of culture/cultural sociology. The letter should be submitted through this online form.


The deadline is March 15, 2023. To be considered, all the committee members must receive self-nomination and the books must arrive by this deadline. Please direct any inquiries to committee chair Terry McDonnell.

Committee Members

Terry McDonnell (Chair), Waverly Duck, Rebecca Jean Emigh, Amin Ghaziani, Fatma Gocek, Michael Rodríguez-Muñiz


Book Distribution Instructions

Hardcopy: these are strongly preferred! Please submit six hardcopies of your book to the committee members at the following addresses. If a hardcopy is unavailable, please send an e-book version or digital copy.

E-Book/Digital Copy: Please email a link to an e-book version of your book, or send a digital copy as an attachment, to each of the committee members at the e-mail addresses above. 

The Sociology of Culture Section’s Clifford Geertz Prize for Best Article

Section members may nominate articles and original chapters of edited collections published in calendar years 2021-2022. Self-nominations are preferred. Authors must be members of the Culture Section. Please send the following to all members of the prize committee: 1) a very brief nominating email, including a paragraph-long description of the article and its significance to culture, and 2) an electronic copy of the manuscript. Articles that are not accompanied by a nomination letter will not be considered for the prize. The deadline for receipt of nominations and articles is March 15, 2023. Please direct any inquiries to committee chair Iddo Tavory.

Committee Members

Iddo Tavory (Chair), Sharon Quinsaat, Jeff Sheng, Christina Simko, Yongren Shi, Talia Shiff

The Sociology of Culture Section’s Richard A. Peterson Award for Best Student Paper

Section members may nominate any work (published or unpublished), written by someone who is a student at the time of submission. Self-nominations are welcome. Authors must be members of the Culture Section. The award recipient will receive a $300 prize to reimburse part of the cost of attending the 2023 ASA Annual Meeting. Any paper that receives an honorable mention will be awarded $100. Email an electronic copy of the paper to each member of the award committee. The deadline for receipt of nominations and articles is March 15, 2023. Please direct any inquiries to committee chair Paul Joosse.

Committee Members

Paul Joosse (Chair), Elisabeth Becker, Matteo Bortolini, Larissa Buchholz, Jun Fang, Meltem Odabas

ASA Annual Meeting

Looking forward to the 2023 ASA Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, the Culture Section has already started planning the Reception, which will take place on Sunday, August 20, 2023, the designated Culture Section Day for the 2023 ASA Annual Meeting. Please mark your calendars! This year, we will have a joint reception with the Theory Section, and we are considering off-site venues. Our Reception Committee members Cresa Pugh (Chair) and Alexander Hoppe are looking for good venue options. Please stay tuned for announcements about this later in the year. We will probably be announcing the full set of Culture Section sessions for the 2023 ASA Annual Meeting in our next Newsletter, too.

Membership Committee

The Membership Committee (Marshall A. Taylor (Chair), Thomas Davidson, Asia Friedman, Khoa Phan Howard, Samantha Leonard, and Amy Zhang (council liaison) is following up on their outstanding past work on the Culture Section’s Mentorship Program, and they have already started organizing this year’s program. Please consider signing up for this very important and valuable Mentorship Program, whether as a mentor or mentee. A few dates to keep in mind:

  1. The mentor application is already open and will close on April 3.
  2. The mentee application will open on April 17, and will close on May 15.
  3. The mentor pods are expected to be formed by the end of May.

More detailed information about the mentorship program, including these dates, has been posted on the Culture Section’s ASA Connect. Please see here for more information. If you have any questions, please contact Membership Committee Chair Marshall A. Taylor, mtaylor2@nmsu.edu.

In addition to the Mentorship Program, the Membership Committee will also be working jointly with the Culture Section’s D&I to develop the BIPOC Resource Sharing Network.

Culture and Contemporary Life Series

The first Culture and Contemporary Life (CCL) session of the year was on January 27, 2023, with the topic of “Inequality and Cultural Authenticity, and a fantastic lineup of panelists with Sarita Gaytán (University of Utah), Fred Wherry (Princeton University), and Sharon Zukin (Brooklyn College). Each of them offered different perspectives to think about what cultural authenticity means and how it relates to inequality, and shared productive insights into how to study these issues in the Q&A. Annie Hikido (Colby College) smoothly moderated the session and probed the panelists with excellent questions. Thank you to all the panelists and moderator, as well as to CCL Committee Chair Fiona Greenland!

You can read a detailed report on this great panel, written by Jennifer Dudley (Communications Committee) in this newsletter here, and watch the panel here. If you want to check out older CCL sessions, you will find them all here.

On March 1st, our CCL panel convened to discuss “Belligerent Nationalism in Big Power Politics.” Fiona Greenland and the CCL Committee (Annie Hikido, Michael O. Johnston, Miray Philips, Ana Velitchokova, and council liaison Juan Pablo Pardo-Guerra) put together another outstanding lineup. You will be able to view a recording of the session on the CCL YouTube page when it is uploaded. 

Panelists: Olga Shevchenko (Williams College), Andreas Wimmer (Columbia University), and Xiaohong Xu (University of Michigan).

Topic: “Violence is an ever-present possibility within nationalism. Belligerent nationalism in the case of big powers, such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine, China’s increasing militarization, and the January 6th insurgency in the United States, has raised concern about new practices of violence in the name of the nation. Panelists are invited to examine the causes of this resurgence of belligerent nationalism, to situate them in their contemporary socio-political contexts, and to examine how cultures of nationalism play a role.”

Also in this Newsletter

We have several excellent pieces in this issue. Our “Four Questions with…” series has Manning Zhang (Newsletter Editor), interviewing our 2022 Clifford Geertz Best Article Award Winner Talia Shiff, for her article “A Sociology of Discordance: Negotiating Schemas of Deservingness and Codified Law in U.S. Asylum Status Determinations,” published in the American Journal of Sociology. We have book reviews of the two co-winners of our 2022 Mary Douglas Best Book Award, Fiona Greenland for her book Ruling Culture: Art Police, Tomb Robbers, and the Rise of Cultural Power in Italy (University of Chicago Press), and Michael Rodríguez-Muñiz for his book Figures of the Future: Latino Civil Rights and the Politics of Demographic Change (Princeton University Press). Thank you to Tania Aparicio Morales and Mari Sanchez for reviewing these excellent books. This is followed by Jennifer Dudley’s report on the CCL panel. Jean Beaman (D&I Committee Chair) is sharing a report on the demographic survey of the section the D&I committee conducted last year. Last but not least, we have a fantastic Book Symposium following a 2022 SSHA Author-meets-Critics session on Paul Lichterman’s book How Civic Action Works: Fighting for Housing in Los Angeles (Princeton University Press). We are fortunate to be able to read the insightful comments from Critics Ann Mische, Guobin Yang, Ming-Cheng M. Lo, Japonica Brown-Saracino, and a reply from Paul Lichterman. We close the newsletter with a set of announcements sourced by Hannah Wohl. Thank you to the lead Editor for this issue, Man Yao, the Newsletter editorial team, and Newsletter Committee for this great issue. I hope you all enjoy reading it.

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