At this year’s MLA conference, the ADE Executive Committee awarded Paul Lauter, Gwendolyn Miles Smith Professor of English, Emeritus at Trinity College (Connecticut), the Francis Andrew March Award, which honors exceptional service to the profession of English. The award is named for Francis March (1823–1911), professor of English at Lafayette College and the first professor of English in America. Lauter served as president of the American Studies Association and is the founding general editor of the influential Heath Anthology of American Literature. He is also the author or editor of several books, including From Walden Pond to Jurassic Park: Activism, Culture, and American Studies and, most recently, A History of American Working-Class Literature. He was one of the founding editors of the Feminist Press and of the journal Radical Teacher. Lauter has been an active member of the WCSA and co-wrote its constitution with Sherry Linkon.
Class cultures were a hot topic at the American Sociological Association conference a couple of weeks ago, not just because Michele Lamont is the new ASA president and she made “Culture and Inequalities” the overall conference theme, but also because 3 Working-Class Studies Association members worked to increase awareness of WCSA and all of our opportunities among the sociologists.
Jessi Streib, Allison Hurst, and Betsy Leondar-Wright (and their publishers) gave out many copies of a Class Cultures Caucus flyer with information about WCSA and the newly formed Class Cultures Caucus.
These three also organized a get-together over dinner which was well-attended. Some WCSA members and attenders came (including Lisa McKenzie, Colby King, Debbie Warnock, Jenny Stuber), but also people new to our network, including Joan Williams, author of White Working Class.
In the spirit of WCSA Treasurer Ken Estey’s encouragement to “go forth and multiply,” participants went out and encouraged interested sociologists to get involved with WCSA! The organizers gathered a list of over 30 people newly interested in WCSA. Jessi shared an inspiring description at the dinner for how great the WCSA conferences are, and we hope we may see some new people come to Stony Brook next year as a result.
Besides info on the next WCSA conference, the journal, the blog, the Caucus, Working-Class Academics and Class Action, participants also shared a call for papers that other WCSA members might be interested in. This CfP is for a mini-conference on Class and Culture convened by Annette Lareau and Elliot Weininger at the Eastern Sociological Society in February in Baltimore.
The Class Cultures Caucus founders (Barb Jensen, Jack Metzgar and Jeff Torlina as well as sociologists Jessi, Allison, and Betsy ) will come be working on plans to encourage some of those new folks to get more involved with WCSA. In the meantime, please continue to encourage other folks to get more involved with WCSA.