Two New York University sociologists, Ann Morning and Caroline Hodges Persell, have received awards from the American Sociological Association (ASA). Morning was a co-winner of ASA’s 2005 Dissertation Award and Persell won the association’s Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Award. The prizes were announced at ASA’s annual meeting in Philadelphia (Aug. 12-16).

Morning’s doctoral dissertation, The Nature of Race: Teaching and Learning about Human Difference, was completed at Princeton University. Her work addressed the assumption that there remains a divide in conceptions of race: academics see race as socially constructed while the American public retains traditional beliefs that race is a biological marker. However, her examination of high-school textbooks over a 50-year period and interviews with nearly 100 faculty and undergraduates at four universities show the divide on race between scientists and the public is not as clear as previously thought. Her results also contradict several expectations about the relationships between individuals’ social status and how they view race; for example, women are as likely as men to espouse biological notions of race, contrary to some previous research findings. Amélie Quesnell-Vallée, now at McGill University, was the award’s co-winner for her dissertation completed at Duke University.

The Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Award, which Persell received, is given annually to honor outstanding contributions to the undergraduate and/or graduate teaching and learning of sociology, which improve the quality of teaching. Persell’s publications include the following: How Sampling Works, with Richard Maisel (Pine Forge Press, 1996); Preparing for Power: America’s Elite Boarding Schools, with Peter W. Cookson (Basic Books. 1985); Education and Inequality: The Roots and Results of Stratification in America’s Schools (Free Press, 1977); and Understanding Society, Careers and Training in Educational and Social Research (General Hall, 1976).

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