Sociologist Elijah Anderson to speak at URI

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‘Poor, young, black and male: The case for national action’

KINGSTON, R.I. — February 1, 2006 — Elijah Anderson, an expert on the sociology of black America and author of the classic sociological work, A Place on the Corner: A Study of Black Street Corner Men, will speak at the University of Rhode Island’s Kingston campus on Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. in the Chafee Social Science Center auditorium (Room 271) and at the URI Feinstein Providence Campus on Feb. 17. in the Paff Auditorium at 6 p.m. There will be book signings after the talks. Both lectures are free and open to the public.

His talk is entitled “Poor, young, black and male: The case for national action.” “That population is the canary in the mine,” says Anderson noting that he will reference poverty, violence, drugs, welfare, the changing economy, and other issues of our times.

Cynthia Hamilton, URI professor of African & Afro-American Studies, invited Anderson to come to campus to speak to an honors class she is teaching entitled “Life and Death of the Black Community.”

Anderson, the Charles and William L. Day Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences and professor of sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, has made appearances on national news programs, including “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer,” on PBS TV.

He has authored numerous articles on the black experience including “Of Old Heads and Young Boys: Notes on the Urban Black Experience” (1986), a paper commissioned by the National Research Council’s Committee on the Status of Black Americans, “Sex Codes and Family Life among Inner-City Youth” (1989), and “The Code of the Streets,” which was a cover story in The Atlantic Monthly in 1994. An expanded version of the Atlantic piece, The Code of the Street: Decency, Violence, and the Moral Life of the Inner City, was published by W.W. Norton (1999).

For his ethnographic study, Streetwise: Race, Class and Change in an Urban Community (University of Chicago Press 1990),” the American Sociological Association presented him with the Robert E. Park Award for the best published book in the area of urban sociology.

Anderson has served as visiting professor at Swarthmore College, Yale University, and Princeton University.

He won the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching at Penn and was named the Robin M. Williams, Jr. Distinguished Lecturer for 1999-2000 by the Eastern Sociological Association.

Anderson is director of the Philadelphia Ethnography Project, associate editor of Qualitative Sociology, and other professional journals, a member of the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, and vice president of the American Sociological Association. He was a member of the National Research Council’s Panel on the Understanding and Control of Violent Behavior, which published its report in 1993.

Other topics with which he concerns himself are the social psychology of organizations, field methods of social research, social interaction, and social organization. He received a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University, a master’s degree from the University of Chicago, and a doctorate degree from Northwestern University, where he was a Ford Foundation Fellow. He is the past vice president of the American Sociological Association.

Sponsors of the event include URI’s Department of African and Afro-American Studies, Office of the Provost, Office of the President, College of Human Science and Services, Honors Program, Department of Sociology and College of Arts and Sciences.