American Sociological Association

What is ASA?

Mission Statement

  • Serving Sociologists in Their Work
  • Advancing Sociology as a Science and Profession
  • Promoting the Contributions and Use of Sociology to Society

The American Sociological Association (ASA), founded in 1905, is a non-profit membership association dedicated to advancing sociology as a scientific discipline and profession serving the public good. ASA members include sociologists who are faculty members at colleges and universities, researchers, practitioners, and students. About 20 percent of the members work in government, business, or non-profit organizations.

As the national organization for sociologists, the American Sociological Association, through its Executive Office, is well positioned to provide a unique set of services to its members and to promote the vitality, visibility, and diversity of the discipline. Working at the national and international levels, the Association aims to articulate policy and implement programs likely to have the broadest possible impact for sociology now and in the future.

Establishment of the Organization

In the summer of 1905, Professor C.W.A. Veditz of George Washington University initiated a discussion among sociologists throughout the United States. He wrote to several dozen people to ask if there was need for or desire for forming an organization of sociologists. Dozens of letters were exchanged that summer. Ultimately, consensus was that the time had come for a society of sociologists in the United States.

In early December, Veditz and eight others wrote to roughly 300 people inviting them to attend a special session during the American Economic Association and American Political Science Association meetings later that month to discuss the possible formation of a society of sociologists.

At 3:30 on Wednesday afternoon, December 27th, approximately 50 people (yes, there was one woman present!) gathered in McCoy Hall at Johns Hopkins University. Before the meeting was adjourned, the group acted to form a new society of sociologists. The group debated whether this new society should be federated with another existing organization, such as the American Economic Association, but ultimately decided the new society should be an independent entity. At the end of the day, those gathered formed a five-person committee to develop a plan for the new society and how it should be governed.

All concerned re-convened at 3:30 the next afternoon to review the proposed structure of the society. The following men were elected officers of the new society: Lester Ward (President), William Sumner (First Vice President), Franklin Giddings (Second Vice President), C.W.A. Veditz (Secretary and Treasurer). Council members were: E. A. Ross, W.F. Wilcox, Albion Small, Samuel Lindsay, D. C. Wells, and William Davenport.

When they left Baltimore, the birth of the American Sociological Society was complete, a Constitution had been adopted, officers were elected, and plans were made for the second Annual Meeting of the new Society.

Read more about ASA's History

 

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