Elijah Anderson

Elijah Anderson

Pioneering urban ethnographer and cultural theorist Elijah Anderson is the William K. Lanman Jr. Professor of Sociology at Yale University, where he also directs the Urban Ethnography Project. He is one of the nation’s most influential scholars in the field of urban inequality, cultural sociology and race relations, and has authored a number of seminal publications in the field.

He has written and edited numerous books, chapters, articles and scholarly research on race in American cities, and is frequently called upon to offer expert opinion on matters of national concern in newspapers and magazines such as The Atlantic and The New York Times.

Among his most prominent works are Code of the Street: Decency, Violence, and the Moral Life of the Inner City (1999), awarded the Komarosky Award from the Eastern Sociological Society in 2000; Streetwise: Race, Class, and Change in an Urban Community (1990), winner of the American Sociological Association’s (ASA) Robert E. Park Award for the best published book in the area of urban sociology; and what is considered his classic text, A Place on the Corner: A Study of Black Street Corner Men (1978, 2nd ed., 2003).

His highly praised book, The Cosmopolitan Canopy: Race and Civility in Everyday Life (2011) also refers to the subject of his Assembly Series talk. Randall Collins, former president of the ASA, wrote that Canopy…”is the most important book on race relations in many years. Elijah Anderson takes us behind the statistics into the scenes of everyday life. We witness front-stage performances of integration and back-stage racial ethnocentrism, as well as the venues where interracial cosmopolitan civility is constructed. Updating E. Franklin Frazier’s classic Black Bourgeoisie, The Cosmopolitan Canopy offers a gift for our pessimistic times: a book of realistic optimism.”

Anderson received his bachelor’s degree from Indiana University, his master’s degree from the University of Chicago, and his doctoral degree from Northwestern University.

A 2016 Washington University Distinguished Visiting Scholar, Anderson’s lecture is supported in part by the Office of the Provost, and his appearance is sponsored by the Department of Sociology in Arts & Sciences.

For further reading:

Atlantic cover story: Code of the Streets and a sampling of Anderson’s opinion pieces: NYT opinion piece and Washington Monthly