Social Scientists from ASU Present Research at Mid-South Sociological Association Conference

News Date


 By Dr. Ram Alagan and Dr. Seela Aladuwaka

Several professors from Alabama State University Professors were recently well represented at the annual conference of the 44th Mid-South Sociological Annual Conference (MSSA) held on 24-27 October 2018 in Birmingham, Alabama. The theme of the conference was “Revisiting Dr. King’s Dream Five Decades after His Death: Facts, Fallacies, and Fears about the Future.”

Three geographers (Dr. Ram Alagan, Dr. Seela Aladuwaka, and Dr. Japer Dung); a sociologist (Dr. Brenda Gill) and a humanist (Dr. Robert White) presented research papers in two research panels. Both research panels addressed timely topics related to the global migration and the responsibility of applied social scientists work in social issues.

“The panel presentations created a vibrant discussion on challenges due to global migration and highlighted the crucial roles of civil societies, governments, and social scientists,” Dr. Ram Alagan said. “The conference was very constructive and productive with diverse research panels and presentations ranged from various disciplines representing Mid-South region’s universities in the US.”

The first panel was organized by Dr. Brenda Gill on “Applied Sociology’s Practical Side – Reports on Applied Sociological Projects.” The panelists discussed sociological theories and the application of the sociological methods to find solutions to problems within society.  There were three research presentations in this panel. Dr. Sharon Everhardt, Jasmine Daughtry (undergraduate student at Troy University), and Brenda Gill, presented the first-hand accounts about how sociologists experience and carry out field work about school garden projects with their client. (“School gardens as a positive way to help the community address food insecurities”).  

The second presentation in this panel was organized by Dr. Ram Alagan and Dr. Seela Aladuwaka. These two geographers discussed the social and political impacts of three decades of civil war and the post-war reconstruction process in Sri Lanka. Using field observation and key informant interviews, this presentation outlined the current social-economic struggles of a war-torn country in Asia. (“Using applied sociology to address social and political impacts of civil war in Sri Lanka”).

The second panel was organized by Dr. Ram Alagan and the topic of the panel was “The Sociology of Global Migration: Understanding the Root Causes and Consequences.” The timely panel presentation underlined increased global migration from developing to developed regions, root causes for the migration, and social and political challenges in both ends.

“Currently, global migration has become one of the hottest political and social topics among receiving as well as origin countries,” Alagan said.
The four-member panel discussed three global geographies of migrations.  
First, Dr. Brenda Gill presented “International Migration from Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean Regions: Issues and Challenges.” Secondly, Dr. Elisha Dung discussed the “Rural-Urban Migration in Nigeria: Consequences on Poverty and Unemployment.”  Thirdly, Dr. Ram Alagan, examined the root caused for the three decades ethnic war in Sri Lanka. “Who’s War and who’s Agony? Global Migration from Sri Lanka. And lastly, Dr. Robert White, outlined the epic history of “Jim Crow and the Refugees it created: A look at the factors that contributed to the migration of Negroes from the South to the North.”