Conventional wisdom and plenty of books tell a story of how the post-World War II years saw a great shift take place in elite higher education: As a result of the G.I. Bill, the civil rights and women's movements, changing demographics, and some forward thinking academic leaders, you no longer needed to have the right ancestors and the right prep school to get into the top universities. Meritocracy emerged as a dominant force.
Sociologists -- especially those who study sexuality -- have for years done research that was considered controversial or troublesome by politicians or deans. Many scholars are proud of following their research ideas where they lead -- whatever others may think. But at a session Monday at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, sociologists considered the possibility that some of their colleagues may feel enough heat right now that they are avoiding certain topics or are being forced to compromise on either the language or substance of their research.