|Heather Dalmage, PhD
Director, Mansfield Institute for Social Justice
President-elect, The Society for the Study of Social Problems
Join me at the Society for the Study of Social Problems’ 2020 Annual conference
Please join us in San Francisco in 2020 and together we can call upon our sociological imaginations to dream transformation, while building pathways to justice and humanity. The hope, the wish for a better world, and the sociological imagination are linked in our work. As members of the SSSP, let’s talk about possibilities grounded in our dreams and work.
Theme of our 2o2o Conference
“Hope is a decisive element in any attempt to bring about social change in the direction of greater aliveness, awareness, and reason.” Fromm, Erich. 1968. The Revolution of Hope: Toward a Humanized Technology.
The founding meeting of the SSSP was held at Roosevelt College in Chicago in September of 1951, with a goal to “rescue sociology from the dehumanizing influences of abstract theorizing and fancifully complex research methods” (McClung Lee 1988, 12). … The founders wanted to address various forms of injustice, including sexism and racism. … Dr. Elizabeth Briant Lee wrote in 1991, “The Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP) was an organization for which the time was ripe.”
We are again living in ripe times. While history is not quite repeating, much of what’s happening, like a Hollywood movie, is quite predictable. The plot is alarmingly similar: Cages, camps, control, callousness, and the breakdown of the climate, community and caring. How did we get here? The year 2020 is a year that begs us to look backwards, assessing the lessons and, through a critical lens, thinking about the work we do and the future we are building through our work. What can history, the history of our organization, help us to understand? How can our history help us to develop dreams for the future grounded in scholar activism that will help us to build futures?
Let’s explore how this current moment, ripe – so so ripe, demands that we dream transformation. What are the pathways we will build to move toward our dreams? How can we build and support solidarity, political engagement, social movements and pedagogies of liberation? What can we do to create structural changes that bend toward justice? Where does our scholar activism, as we live it through SSSP, fit into our dreams of transformation, toward building new worlds?
In 2020, we have that opportunity, to come together and create change.
Heather M. Dalmage, SSSP President