The American Sociological Association’s Context magazine has a new home at the University of Minnesota
When the ASA launched a new publication, Contexts, seven years ago, the intention was to bring the scholarly study of sociology to a broader audience, to make it a little more accessible — something like what Psychology Today does for its discipline. While University of Minnesota faculty members Chris Uggen and Doug Hartmann felt the editorial staff at the journal, which has been housed both in New York and Berkeley, had done a great job of founding the magazine, they thought their Department of Sociology could help take Contexts one step further down the road to public sociology and civic engagement. Which is why they proposed to the ASA that the U of M become the next editorial home for the magazine.
Turns out the ASA agreed. Last May, Uggen, Hartmann, and others toasted the arrival of Contexts at the University of Minnesota. This winter the first issue came out in February, and Contexts is now a Minnesota-based publication. “Basically, we thought we could expand both the circulation and the public media impact of the magazine," says Hartmann.
The proposal called for an expanded features section for Contexts, with content covering a wider range of sociological projects and applications, and stories written about sociology and sociologists, by professional writers. Reviews would similarly feature writing from professionals. The Web site would also be revamped to facilitate access to the magazine’s content. They also re-evaluated the circulation and distribution of Contexts.
Uggen and Hartmann serve as co-editors of the publication. Amy Johnson Conner, an editor and freelance writer with experience in both academic and daily journalism, was hired as managing editor. Sociology grad student John Smajda was recruited to revamp the Web site and edit its content. A student board composed of eight graduate students from the department serve as an advisory committee for magazine content; their gatherings and participation in the workings of the journal will double as a seminar, under the direction of Hartmann.
The first Minnesota issue of Contexts features articles on the growing presence of religion and its study on college campuses, a study on the relationship between crime and immigration, America’s hero worship of firefighters, and Disney’s Ratatouille as a study in social hierarchy.