Executive Committee 2014-2018

August 2017


I hope that you got to share some quality time with family, friends and communities during the past few months.

If 2016 was a year of cataclysmic change that left us more uncertain about the shape of things to come, 2017 shows a spiraling of tensions, violence shattering cities, increased visibility of hate groups, attacks on civilians and freedom of the press and much more.  However, I am also hopeful, as many people are speaking out and standing up against these attacks, violence and hate. They are challenging and holding accountable those politicians who use their pulpit to fan the flames and exacerbate violence with their vitriolic words and actions. This is a time when sociology must matter to address those forces that threaten societies. The XIX ISA World Congress of Sociology in Toronto, Canada in July 2018, with its theme of Power, Violence and Justice: Reflections, Responses and Responsibilities will be an important space where we can come together to share ways that scholars, public intellectuals, policy makers, journalists and activists from diverse fields can and do contribute to our understanding of power, violence and justice.

XIX ISA World Congress of Sociology - Abstract submission deadline September 30th 2017

There are more than 1000 sessions posted on the ISA Congress website http://www.isa-sociology.org/en/conferences/world-congress/toronto-2018/call-for-abstracts. The Program coordinators for the Research Committees, Thematic Groups and Working Groups have put together a diverse slate of sessions in their call. At the congress there will also be presidential sessions, plenaries, special session with former ISA Presidents; author meets critics, integrated, ad hoc and associations’ sessions, as well as professional development sessions. This time, we have also included a few special spotlight sessions with featured speakers related to the theme of the Congress. The Local Organizing Committee, chaired by Patrizia Albanese has organized important thematic sessions and is working on preparations so that participants and families can enjoy all that Canada has to offer! Check out the general information and also tourism information on the Congress Website http://www.isa-sociology.org/en/conferences/world-congress/toronto-2018/tourism.   Be sure to not wait until the last minute to submit an abstract!

Nominations and Elections of ISA officers Fall 2018 – Summer 2022

Let me also draw your attention to another important deadline. The deadline for receiving nominations from the membership for the ISA officers for the period Fall 2018 - Summer 2022 is January 31, 2018. I encourage you to consider candidates who will fulfill the important responsibilities vital for ensuring a strong and active association. The nomination form as well as more information related to elections is available on the ISA website http://www.isa-sociology.org/en/about-isa/executive-committee/ec-officers-elections

Third Annual Meeting of ISA Executive Committee St. Petersburg, Russia

In April 2017, the ISA Executive Committee (EC 2014-2018) met for its third annual meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia. This EC meeting was very well organized and we thank Professor Elena Zdravomyslova, EC member, and Professor Nikolay Skvortsov, Dean of the Faculty of Sociology, for organizing and hosting the meetings at the St. Petersburg State University.   We thank our institutional hosts, St. Petersburg University for their generosity in making our stay productive and memorable.  As always, the EC meetings included also the separate meetings of the Publications Committee chaired by VP Vineeta Sinha, Membership and Finance Committee, chaired by VP Benjamín Tejerina, Research Coordinating Committee, chaired by VP Markus Schulz and National Association Liaison Committee chaired by VP Sari Hanafi. (See reports submitted by 3 Vice-Presidents) . In addition, the Program Committee met to continue with the planning and preparation for the XIX World Congress in Toronto, Canada in 2018, that included initial framework for plenary sessions, finalizing of author meets critics sessions and Ad Hoc committee, reporting on integrative and association sessions, Patrizia Albanese also reported on ongoing preparations by the Local Organizing Committee at the meeting of the program committee and at the EC meeting.

On the last two days, I chaired the ISA Executive Committee meetings in which reports of the subcommittees and action items were addressed. The meeting also included presentation on bids for hosting the Fourth ISA Forum of Sociology in 2020. A final decision will be announced shortly. My report included my involvement in: (1) the operational activities of the ISA Secretariat; ongoing interactions with ISA Vice-Presidents and the LOC chair for the XIX World Congress of Sociology in Toronto. (2) Presidential Travel and Speaking Engagements and (3) Update on Presidential Projects.

During the EC meeting, the respective chairs of the Activities and Sub-committees provided their reports.

Marina Kurkchiyan, Chair of the RC/WG/TG Statutes Revision Committee, reported that Robert van Krieken, presented at the Research Council Business Meeting at the Vienna Forum an overview of work completed by the Statutes Revision Committee since 2008.

A written Report prepared by Early Career Sociologists sub-committee composed of Filomin Gutierrez, Ayse Saktanber and Vineeta Sinha, on the successful sessions for junior- senior scholars at the forum and also ways to expand opportunities for junior sociologists. I would also like to add here that the ISA Junior Sociologists Network recently reported having reached more than 3,000 members and I thank Oleg Komlik for his efforts in building this network.

Sari Hanafi, Chair of the Human Rights sub-committee composed of Ayse Saktanber and Grazyna Skapska, reported that three statements endorsed/signed by the ISA Executive Committee were circulated in isagram, posted on the ISA website and also reported in my previous letter.

Markus Schulz, Chair of the sub-committee on Accessibility, composed of Guillermina Jasso and Kalpana Kannabiran, presented a written report on accessibility measures at the 2016 Forum for which a special budget position had been earmarked.

As chair of the ISA Award for Excellence in Research and Practice, I provided a status report that included members of the nominating committee, guidelines and deadlines for the nomination process.

Rudolf Richter, LOC Chair, submitted a written “Report & Lessons Learned” prepared jointly with Ida Seljeskog, LOC Coordinator, offering a very helpful account of LOC’s experience in organizing the Forum as well as a number of suggestions for improvement.

John Holmwood reported on the XIVth PhD Lab that held in Birmingham, UK on April 1-8, 2016. It was co-sponsored by the British Sociological Association and scheduled to meet in conjunction with the BSA Annual Conference at Aston University in Birmingham and the BSA Postgraduate Forum.

Evangelia Tastsoglou and Chin-Chun Yi provided written reports summarizing their engagements with Strategy Working Group and Transition Task Force in the context of merger of the International Social Science Council (ISSC) and International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU).
Elena Zdravomyslova, Chair, of the on the organizing committee of the Seventh Worldwide Competition for Junior Sociologists, composed of Rosemary Barberet, Marina Kurkchiyan and Chin-Chun Yi, provided a written progress report on the competition.

As always a special thanks for the invaluable work of Izabela Barlinska, ISA Executive Secretary, and the ISA Secretariat team.

Fourth ISA Conference of the Council of National Associations

We had a very successful Fourth ISA Conference of the Council of National Associations with the theme of Sociologies in Dialogue in Taipei, Taiwan from May 8-11, 2017, http://www.isa-sociology.org/en/conferences/council-of-national-associations/taipei-2017 As reported in my last letter, we had to change a venue of the Fourth ISA Conference of the Council of National Associations from Almaty, Kazakhstan, in response to the last minute unacceptable conditions on academic freedom imposed by the executive committee of the Local Organizing Committee.  An immediate search for a new venue was initiated and ISA EC members Ayse Saktanber, Chin-Chun Yi, and the Russian Sociological Association generously proposed alternative venues for the CNA meetings.  After careful deliberations, Taipei, Taiwan, was selected to hold the 4th CNA meetings.

The NA conference was attended by 50 colleagues from 40 countries. The sessions were thought provoking, offering important insights and generated much dialogue amongst delegates. It provided important historical and political contexts that frame sociology in different parts of the world, the ongoing challenges and the possibilities of sociology for social change.

My special thanks to ISA Vice President for National Associations, Sari Hanafi, for developing a strong scientific program in conjunction with the NALC.  Our deep appreciation to the incredibly well organized Local Organizing Committee chaired by Chin-Chun Yi. This team put together with meticulous care, all the logistics including delegates’ visas necessary to help ensure a successful conference.  ISA Executive Committee members, Filomin Gutierrez and Sawako Shirahase offered a well-attended professional development session for emerging scholars. We are grateful to Academic Sinica for their generosity in hosting us and also thank the Taiwanese Sociological Association.  

Appointment of New Editors for Current Sociology

The Publications Committee, headed by ISA VP Publications Vineeta Sinha completed a successful search for editor of Current Sociology and I am pleased to announce that Sarah Neal from Sheffield University and Karim Murji, Open University, UK, have been appointed as the new editors.  I want to take this opportunity to specially thank Eloisa Martin, the outgoing Editor, for her excellent work in successfully steering this journal with vision and deep dedication as well as for her initiative on developing academic writing workshops as part of professional development sessions. Thanks to Vineeta Sinha for an outstanding job in heading the searches for editors and ensuring a seamless transition.

Joining the Global Mapping of Sociologists for Social Inclusion (GMSSI)

I am also pleased to share with you that the GMSSI platform is ready and will be released this Fall. GMSSI is intended to identify, connect, and enable global collaborations in sociology, and particularly to support sociologists who encounter multiple barriers, economic and political, which impede their participation in global exchanges. You can post courses, reports, projects, research papers and connect with sociologists across the globe.    

The success of GMSSI will be if each of us sociologists mobilize and participate in achieving this global data base of sociologists.  Members of Research Committees, Thematic Groups, Working Groups, National Associations, and affiliated members can spread the word so that that we share GMSSI with sociologists who may not be on lists or networks but can participate in this ISA initiative. You will be receiving a letter inviting you to join and I really hope you will participate and together we can foster a truly global community of sociologists!


From the beginning of January through the end of June 2017 I was invited and traveled to several places. During these visits, I gave talks, engaged with sociologists, community activists, students and policy makers. I have gained profound insights from these visits and it strengthens my commitment to building a contextual global sociology that can address the challenging issues of our time.
 In early February I was invited to speak at the “Distinguished Lecture” series initiated by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Zayed University. (See summary report  by Rima Sabban, and Alia AlFalasi). My special thanks to Professor Rima Sabban for this wonderful opportunity to meet with faculty and students and share their perspectives. The discussion were truly engaging. My thanks to Zayed University and to Professor Sabban for inviting me to this very well organized visit and for the care shown during my stay. I then went to Amman, Jordan to Philadelphia University. I also had very good discussion with Jordanian Sociology professors and students and got to discuss their projects.  My sincere thanks to Professor Salem Sari for organizing these informative meetings and warm hospitality during my visit to Amman.

In February, I also went to Ramallah, Bethlehem, Jerusalem and the old City of Hebron.  I spoke at Birzeit University and Bethlehem University in Palestine and also met with activists. Hosted by the newly created Palestinian Sociological Association (PSSA), my visit to Palestine gave me critical insights from discussions with faculty, students and activists and a deeper understanding of the unique colonial condition under which Palestinians live. I learned much and want to truly thank Dr. Abaher El Sakka, President of the PSAA, Dr. Lisa Taraki Secretary PSSA and Dr. Bilal Salameh, Treasurer PSSA and also their academic institutions Birzeit University and Bethlehem University. (See note by Abaher El Sakka,  Bilal Salameh  and Lisa Taraki.)

In April, I was invited to speak at final COST conference on femicide across Europe that took place in Malta.  In Paris, past ISA President Michel Weiviroka invited me to meet with some of the researchers at EHESS and FMSH. This was followed by the ISA EC meetings St Petersburg, Russia. In April, I was also invited to the 7th Catalan Conference of Sociology and the 5th Catalan Conference of Young Sociologists at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili. I thank the organizers of this conference, especially Professor Amado Alarcón, President of the Local and Organizing Committee (CSA-URV), and Professor Fidel Molina, President of the Catalan Association of Sociology. Here too, I also enjoyed meeting with graduate students who shared their research projects.

In May we had the ISA CNA meetings in Academia Sinicia in Taipei, Taiwan. This was soon followed by the Canadian Sociological Association’s 52nd Annual Conference in Toronto, Canada at the invitation of the CSA President Howard Ramos and participated on an interactive panel on, “Committing Sociology’ After Trump’s Election’ and also enjoyed attending sessions by the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences hosted at Ryerson University. My thanks to Howard Ramos, Patrizia Albanese and Sherry Fox.

In June I gave a talk at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic and also met with faculty, researchers and students where we dialogued and debated about globalization, sociology and the role of the social sciences and the ISA. A special thanks to Professor Jirí Šubrt for organizing this event.

I also had the opportunity in June to return to the University of Vienna in Austria, which hosted a wonderful symposium for the long-time president of ISA RC06 Family Research and Chair of the Local Organizing Committee for the Third ISA Forum in Vienna 2016, Rudolf Richter, who is retiring in fall. Professor Richter and his team had done a marvelous job of the local organizing of the 3rd ISA Forum. I also gave a lecture at the Department of Sociology at the University of Vienna and met with faculty and students. I want to thank Professor Ulrike Zartler for inviting me and organizing these events.  I then went to Jena, Germany, invited to participate and speak at the conference on A right-wing workers‘ movement?  hosted by the DFG Centre for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences ‘Post-Growth Societies’ and the Agency for Political Education of the State of Thuringia from 22 to 24 June 2017, Jena, Germany. This conference was well attended and generated some intense debate. My sincere thanks to Klaus Dörre for inviting me to this important conference.

Many of my visits often included discussions by sociologists about inequalities, ongoing violence, issues of power and privilege, struggles for social justice, and linking research and action for social change and thinking of ways to sharing their work and engaging with the ISA.  These visits have also been some of the most informative and inspiring moments for me as ISA president as I see how sociologists think and do sociology despite confronting many challenges; how sociology gets situated, framed and practiced in different contexts; how issues of borders and boundaries, power and resistance, citizenship and nationhood, inequalities and exclusions, segregation, discrimination and violence are being addressed by sociologists all over the world. Sociology matters and our research and practice can help make a difference.  

I also want thank you for your involvement in ISA. I truly appreciate all the emails and support that I receive from our membership and the broader sociological community.  I look forward to seeing you in 2018. So don’t miss the September 30th, 2017, deadline for abstract submission for ISA World Congress in Toronto! http://www.isa-sociology.org/en/conferences/world-congress/toronto-2018/call-for-abstracts


Margaret Abraham
President, International Sociological Association

Professor of Sociology, Hofstra University
202F Davison Hall, Hempstead, NY 11549, USA