2016 Annual Meeting

My Day Job: Politics and Pedagogy in Academia

The Boston Park Plaza Hotel and Towers, March 17-20, 2016

The online abstract submission system for the ESS annual meeting is now open at http://www.meetingsavvy.org/ess or through the website at http://essnet.org.

Academics are a bit like aspiring rock stars:  we have our passion, and we have our day jobs. We do our valued gigs when we can get them, and we do our day job.  For rock stars, that day job might be waitressing.  For academics, it might be teaching Intro, or working on department and university committees.  We do that work, our day jobs, so that we can pursue our passion – our research, our work with our colleagues and sometimes our students.

Much of what we present at meetings like the ESS is our art, our life, our valued work.  And what we do to pay the mortgage, put shoes on the kids, get the money to go to meetings like this, is teach. We sit in sessions and talk about our work; and we go to the bar and talk about our day jobs, what is happening to our colleges and universities, how they are becoming corporatized, how we have less and less control over our work in our day jobs.  This is going to be a different meeting – we will sit at the thematic sessions together and talk about what is happening to our universities.  We will of course have plenty of other sessions to talk about our research.

While the ESS welcomes submissions, as it always has, which address any and all of the topics of interest to sociology, drawing on every methodology, the 2016 meeting will have a special focus on the current state of colleges and universities.  We will have many substantive sessions on research interests, and many wonderful themed mini-conferences.  But when we gather at thematics, we will be looking at our under-researched, under-theorized day job.

Some of us — more and more of us — are doing our teaching as piece work, course by course, and as in pre-union days, without any ‘benefits.’  As courses move online, for some that work –like old style garment industry piecework — is done in our homes, one corner of our living space used for production, providing our own supplies, laptops now rather than sewing machines. For others, luckier, teaching is done as a full time job with full benefits, from a solid college or university base, whether on-line, in person or both, doing our 10 community college courses a year, or our 6 or so undergraduate courses, or even just a lovely one or two doctoral courses, or whatever mix we’ve worked out for ourselves.  But that teaching, our day job, most often slips under the radar when we meet as professional sociologists.

At this meeting, we can and will talk about our interesting publications and our grant-funded research and all of that — but let us also talk about our day jobs.  While papers will be welcomed in all areas of sociology, and mini-conferences will address a range of issues and concerns, the theme of the conference will be our day jobs.  What is happening to universities and colleges as America becomes ever-increasingly corporatized and privatized, as more and more of all work is outsourced, as students and their families become ‘customers’ and faculty are responsible for ‘product’?  How are we managing, coping, and rising above all that?   How do we remain dedicated to our craft of teaching, our vocation of transmitting our sociological imagination?


Although the ESS particularly encourages submissions related to this year’s theme, we welcome submissions on all sociological topics, drawing on all methods and formats, including:

    • Individual papers (please include abstracts of 250 words or less; longer drafts are also  welcome via email to the program committee)
    • Wholly constituted sessions (with names and affiliations of all presenters)
    • Thematic conversations (panels of two or more scholars engaged in debate or exchange)
    • Workshops on specific topics and techniques
    • Special sessions organized around prominent scholars and their work
    • Roundtable and poster session presentations

We particularly encourage the development of ‘mini conferences,’ three or more sessions around a specific theme. Anyone interested in developing a mini-conference should please get in touch with the program committee as quickly as possible with a deadline of September 15.

Abstract submissions and session proposals are due by October 31, 2015.

Undergraduate abstracts for poster submissions are due December 15, 2015. See Annual Meeting Undergraduate information on the website for more information

Questions, suggestions, program ideas should be sent to: easterns2016@gmail.com

  • Program Committee Chair: Vilna Bashi Treitler, Baruch College and CUNY Graduate Center