Black Lives Matter Movement at the 2016 ASA Annual Meeting

Following another shooting of an unarmed black man by an officer of the law, sociologists took to social media to ask “What can we do?”. Whether debating topics on social media, discussing Black Lives Matter and racial bias and police shootings in blog posts (here and here), addressing racial  issues in the media, or any of the many other behind-the-scenes efforts, sociologists have something to say.


With the theme “Rethinking Social Movements: Can Changing the Conversation Change the World?,” there will be opportunities to learn more about the Black Lives Matter movement as well as reserved space for discussion at the 2016 ASA Annual Meeting in Seattle. Following the Saturday, August 20 plenary, “A New Cycle of Protest? Occupy Wall Street and Beyond,” Sociologists for Justice (and any other scholars interested in building a racially just and equitable society through research, education, advocacy, and action) will meet at 9:45 p.m. Another plenary on August 20 at 12:30, “Protesting Racism,” will include prominent leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement who will discuss the dynamics of this new social movement as well as the issues that led to its emergence and growth. Even if you won’t be at the ASA Annual Meeting, you can watch via webcast.


According to Judy Lubin, Howard University, the Sociologists for Justice meeting “will be an opportunity for attendees to connect with other sociologists interested in racial justice, particularly as it relates to police violence and how we can support the Black Lives Matter movement.” Agenda items will include:

  • How can sociologists support social movements such as Black Lives Matter?
  • How can the discipline better support scholar-activists?
  • How do we institutionalize racial justice advocacy within ASA and other professional organizations?

ASA sections on Sociology of Race and Ethnicity (SREM), Latina/o Sociology (SLS), and Asians and Asian America (AAA), will publicly show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Members of the section councils, and the Sociology of Race and Ethnicity editorial board all contributed out-of-pocket funds to order 650 lanyards that say “American Sociological Assn SREM SRE SLS AAA support #BlackLivesMatter.”

More at the Annual Meeting

Also at the 2016 ASA Annual Meeting will be a Presidential Panel ASA Town Hall on Monday, August 22, 10:30 am. The description from the preliminary program sates: “In this town hall meeting, we will discuss, debate, and rant a bit about the multiple ways in which social cleavages are reproduced in sociology despite our collective support for diversity.” Five sociologists–Eduardo Bonilla Silva, Mignon Moore, David Embrick, Julian Go, and Aldon Morris–will make brief opening statements in order to frame the most important issues. These statements will be followed by open discussions designed to address the range of issues affecting social inequality within our discipline and its associations.

Want more information on what sort of research is being presented in Seattle? Check out the online preliminary program. Use the search terms “BlackLivesMatter” or “Black Lives Matter” to find relevant sessions and papers. Curious about papers presented at recent Annual Meetings from 2013-2015, visit the ASA Annual Meeting paper archive.

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