Our Annual Conference
“Dignity & Society”
The Eastern Sociological Society invites abstract submissions for our 2023 Annual Meeting. The meeting’s theme is “Dignity and Society,” and while abstracts on dignity are appreciated, we welcome paper abstracts on any topic using any methodology that is of interest to sociologists.
Sociologists have long addressed the puzzles posed by dignity. In The Polish Peasant, families went out of their way to provide a decent burial for their loved ones, even when social workers and others schooled in financial literacy advised against it. On street corners and sidewalks, what at first appeared deviant (to some) proved to be dignity-affirming. In some communities suffering from fracking, those who arrived to advocate for environmental justice sometimes forgot to honor the dignity of those being devastated by their changing economy and society. In studies of the Child Tax Credit, how money was delivered to families in need (and how they earmarked it) affected what they did with it, as they sought dignity and dreams. In healthcare, dignity inventories were created so that even the sick could be treated as if they have agency and a right to privacy. The right to an abortion or to trans-health services, too, are abou more than privacy and choice. Sometimes, instead of paying more to fix gender and racial gaps, employers may focus on the dignity that employees affirm through their work. And in the white supremacy project, it is not enough to block material opportunities, Black, Brown, and Indigenous people also need to be humiliated. Clearly, Marshall Sahlins was speaking to pre-modern as well as modern societies when he observed that it is not enough for groups to survive in solely a biological sense, because they must survive in a certain way—in a way that does not impugn their dignity. And W.E.B. DuBois understood the power of data visualizations that are culturally affirming. In short, meaningful struggles over dignity drive action and understanding, but, at times, lead to inaction or misunderstandings.
Our presidential plenaries will bring together prominent journalists, public policy makers, community leaders, and sociologists to discuss police violence, the Covid-19 pandemic and its ongoing effects, political polarization, hate crimes, immigration, voting rights, racial justice, environmental justice, and the injustices of debt, in the US and around the globe. Across these plenaries we will ask, Why Dignity?
There are at least four ways you can participate in the meeting, and you may do so even if you are not writing about dignity and society. Acceptance notifications will go out no later than December 2022. Pay attention to the three different deadlines.
A mini-conference or an author-meets-critics session. Deadline: August 15, 2022
A paper presentation, a panel, or a workshop. Deadline: October 15, 2022
A poster (undergraduate students). Deadline: December 15, 2022
The meeting will be held February 23-26, 2023 at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore in the Inner Harbor. The Program Committee is co-chaired by Natasha Pratt-Harris (Morgan State University), Alexandre White (Johns Hopkins University), and John N. Robinson III (Princeton) with President Frederick Wherry serving ex-officio. This committee will make decisions on the mini-conferences, workshops, and conference panels. Our Vice-President Jennifer Lena and President-Elect Dana Fisher will handle the Author-Meets-Critics submissions.
We have changed our membership and conference fees to track the endowment wealth of our members’ institutions. Those coming from places with high wealth will be asked to pay more. Feel free to direct your questions to our executive director, Jennifer McAdam (ess at wpunj dot edu) or to any of us on the Program Committee or in the Executive Committee. We look forward to seeing you in Baltimore.
Thank you to all who supported our 92nd Annual Meeting
Strategic Sites and Ways for Sociology to Fight Inequality and Injustice
Robert Smith, Baruch College, and the Graduate Center, CUNY, ESS President
Interested in refreshing your memory about what went on at a past meeting? Trying to remember the title of your 2008 ESS presentation for your tenure and promotion package? Consult an archived version of the meeting programs below.