2020 MSS Annual Meeting

Session Types



We welcome all submissions with a sociological focus. In particular, we encourage submissions that address this year’s theme, “Sustainable Sociology”. The following session types or submission formats are available:

Formal Paper Sessions

These formal sessions, the core of the annual meetings, include the presentation of completed papers. Though presenters only submit an abstract, completed papers must be sent to session presiders by March 1, 2020. Presiders may serve as discussants or may recruit others to do so. Individual papers will be grouped with papers of similar topics to form a complete session.

Roundtable Sessions

This less formal and smaller session type is appropriate for presentation and discussion of research proposals, works in progress, or topics of special interest. A roundtable can involve presentations or conversation on shared interests.  Audio-visual not available.

Poster presentations

Typically, posters are visual presentations of research work illustrating a research question, methods and outcomes. Posters will be displayed during scheduled time slots and presenters will discuss their research with other meeting attendees. Audio-visual not available.

Teaching Techniques

Submit your Good Ideas for Teaching Sociology (GIFTS). Rather than presenting scholarship on teaching and learning (SoTL) these submissions focus on a teaching technique and its implementation in the classroom. We encourage submissions from all levels of teaching, from high school to community college to four year institutions.

Panel Participant

Individuals with particular areas of expertise are encouraged to volunteer to participate on panels seeking presenters. While every effort will be made to coordinate the formation of a panel, we cannot guarantee adequate demand for every individual area of interest. Audio-visual not available. (Also see below for information about complete/closed panel submissions.)

Innovative Presentations, powered by Pecha Kucha

Pecha Kucha literally means “chit-chat” or “the sound of conversation” in Japanese. It is a strictly timed, 6 minute and 40 second PowerPoint presentation which involves showing 20 slides for 20 seconds each while the presenter talks. The short timeframe necessitates that presenters be focused, precise and creative in conveying their ideas and/or argument. Background, examples and “How To’s” available at https://www.pechakucha.com/.

Lightning Talks

Lightning Talks are timed talks which are no more than 5 minutes long. They can be used to describe a specific finding, technique, project, and/or data or to share particularly important information. We will be featuring lightning talks during the conference symposia and welcome submissions on Teaching Sustainability, Sustainable Sociology Programs, Sociology in Practice, and Sustainability on Campus. 

Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition for Graduate and Undergraduate Students 

Three Minute Thesis (3MT) is a research communication competition that challenges master's and Ph.D. students to describe their research topic and its significance in just 3 minutes to a general audience. 3MT was developed by the University of Queensland (UQ) and has spread to over 18 countries and 200 universities worldwide. Students are allowed to use one static slide, and no additional transitions, animation, video, or props. Presentations are all spoken word, and exclude songs and theatrical performances Background, examples, and “How To’s” available at https://threeminutethesis.uq.edu.au/. Students who participate in 3MT will receive rules and instructions for the competition from the session presider. The competition is judged and prizes are awarded!

Democracy Cafes

Democracy Cafes arose out of politics and are intended to create a forum for open discussion across a range of perspectives. We adapt them here with the purposes of discussing specific sociological issues, concerns, methodologies, and theories/theoretical approaches. They are intentionally democratic; the facilitator’s role is to ensure that everyone has a chance to share their perspectives during the session. Speakers’ roles are to be thoughtful, rigorous, open and empathetic to alternative views. Mutual understanding, rather than consensus, is the goal.


We accept proposals for workshops, complete panels, or other closed sessions on any sociological topic. For these sessions, organizers select topics and identify all presenters in advance of submitting their proposal. All presenters should agree to participate before the organizer submits a proposal. We welcome proposals for sessions in all subfields of sociology including research and teaching topics, as well as professional development sessions or workshops.  We encourage submissions that address this year’s theme, “Sustainable Sociology”.

Closed Paper Session: These panels should have between 3 and 5 participants who present completed papers on a predetermined topic. Chosen presenters will send completed papers to their session organizer by March 1, 2020. Session organizers may serve as presiders and discussants or may recruit others to do so.

Panel Session: Organizers will invite three to five panelists to present on a shared area of expertise or interest. While panelists make formal presentations, they are generally not the empirical reports that predominate in paper sessions. The organizer moderates discussion between the panelists and with the audience. Audio-visual is not available.

Author-Meets-Critics Session: An invited author and 2-4 invited critics participate in a lively discussion about a recently-published sociological work.

Academics-Meet-Activists Session: Similar to Author-Meets-Critic session, an invited activist or organization and academic(s) discuss the intersections of academic research and activist initiatives around social movement/social justice issues.

Workshop: Workshops are often interactive professional development opportunities facilitated by organizers and are often participatory sessions. Workshops generally form around topics related to teaching, publishing, technology, data analysis, and administration.