Reconciliation Committee Report

Reconciliation Committee Report

The Reconciliation Committee is pleased to present its work to the PEWS membership for feedback. This report outlines procedural recommendations as well as recommendations for substantive changes to the bylaws. The Committee invites the membership to provide comments on these recommendations by Oct. 19 on the listserv, on the blog, or via email to any of the Committee members (see email addresses below). The Committee will consider revisions based on membership feedback, and then forward its recommendations to the Council by Nov. 1. After receiving the Committee’s Report, the Council will consider the recommendations and vote on whether to put them on the spring ballot. The deadline for submitting bylaws changes to ASA for a membership vote in the spring is Nov. 10.

Procedural Recommendations

The Reconciliation Committee recognizes the Council’s multi-year effort to develop proposals to address declining membership numbers based on multiple rounds of feedback from the membership (i.e. membership survey, blog/listserv discussion, ASA workshop). At the same time, the Committee’s interpretation of the bylaws recognizes the right of Section members to submit referenda for a vote by the full membership by means of a petition containing the signatures of ten percent of the Section members or of 25 members of the Section, whichever is less. Since the Petition submitted by Bill Robinson, Wilma Dunaway, Chris Chase-Dunn, and Immanuel Wallerstein has met these criteria, the Committee recommends that its recommendations be voted on by the full membership.

Under its charge from Council, the Reconciliation Committee has considered both sets of proposals—those from Council and those from the petitioners—and has developed its own alternative bylaws changes that, pending membership feedback, it plans to recommend to the Council for a full membership vote. Given these multiple, alternative proposals, the Committee has generated procedural recommendations outlining how both the Petition proposals and any Committee proposals approved by Council could be presented to the membership for a vote.

The Petitioners proposed three changes to Section bylaws. We will outline procedural recommendations for handling each of these changes alongside the Committee’s proposed bylaws changes. To be clear, the Committee encourages the Council to continue their consideration of other proposed changes to the bylaws (i.e. Distinguished Teaching Award, Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, etc.), which are not discussed here and were not under the purview of this Committee.

1) The Reconciliation Committee and the Petitioners have each proposed a change to the Section’s mission statement. Assuming the Council approves the Committee’s proposal for a membership vote, the Committee recommends that the Committee mission statement and the Petition mission statement be proposed as alternatives on the ballot; the membership will be asked to choose between them.

2) The Reconciliation Committee recognizes that the Council’s and the Petitioners’ recommendations for changes to the Publications committee pursued a shared goal: strengthening institutional memory on the committee. As well, the two proposals were very similar. Thus, the Committee has adopted the Petition’s proposal with some minor wording changes and recommends presenting it to the membership for an up or down vote.

3) The Petitioners’ final proposal would establish an Annual Conferences committee to oversee the spring conference. Since the petition was circulated, Immanuel Wallerstein has informed the Council that he no longer wishes to pass this responsibility onto the Council. As such, this proposal is no longer on the table.

On a final procedural note, it is important to recognize that all potential bylaws changes must be approved by the ASA Committee on Sections and the ASA Council prior to a membership vote. Consultations with officers within ASA suggest that the approach recommended by the Committee will likely be deemed acceptable.

Substantive Recommendations

After considering Council’s proposals, the Petitioners’ proposals, and feedback from the ASA workshop, the Reconciliation Committee proposes two changes to the bylaws: 1) revisions to the Mission Statement and 2) changes to the composition of the Publications Committee.

1) Mission Statement:

The Committee considered both sets of proposed revisions to the Mission Statement, and drafted an alternative text (see below). As noted above, we recommend to Council that the Committee’s statement and the petitioners’ proposed statement be submitted to the membership for a vote.

“The Section on Political Economy of the World-System (PEWS) brings together scholars committed to the critical study of the capitalist world-economy and other historical social systems. The PEWS Section seeks to foster an intellectual tradition that finds its roots in the anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist analyses forged during struggles for decolonization by scholars in the Global South. With a focus on world-systemic dynamics, PEWS members are united by the use of political economy as an analytical frame, while exploring the intersection of political economic change with race, gender, class, imperialism, neo-colonialism, and the environment. This Section maintains PEWS’ legacy as a radical critique of disciplinary boundaries and thus embraces diverse disciplinary, epistemological, theoretical, and methodological approaches. We seek to provide a forum for intellectual exchange and debate among kindred sociologists, scholars, activist-practitioners, and teachers in both the Global North and the Global South. We welcome members with wide-ranging substantive interests in world historical perspectives and are strongly committed to promoting a diverse membership.”

2) Publications Committee:

The Committee recommends adopting the petitioners’ proposal with minor changes (see below).

“There shall be a Publications Committee to oversee the publication of the Journal of World-Systems Research (JWSR), the section newsletter, and the section website, and to maintain the social media presence of the section. The Publications Committee will consist of up to eight members which will include the current editor of the JWSR, the section newsletter editor(s), the section webmaster, two Council members, and up to two volunteers from the membership, which should include past JWSR editors when possible. Each year following the annual ASA meeting, the committee will elect its chair from its members and announce that election to the section via the section listserv. The editor of the JWSR shall be appointed by the Council on the recommendation of the Publications Committee.  The current editor of the JWSR shall serve as a non-voting, Ex-Officio member of the section Council. The newsletter editor(s) and the webmaster shall be appointed to three-year terms by the Council on the recommendation of the Publications Committee, and they may be reappointed to a second term by the Council.”

Respectfully submitted,

Reconciliation Committee

Amy Quark (chair), aaquark@wm.edu

Jennifer Bair, jlb5md@virginia.edu

Chris Chase-Dunn, chriscd@ucr.edu

Rob Clark, robclark@ou.edu

Albert Fu, afu@kutztown.edu

Jackie Smith, jgsmith@pitt.edu

Lu Zhang (council), lu.zhang1@temple.edu

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