Elijah Anderson receives distinguished William Julius Wilson Award

Elijah Anderson
November 20, 2017

One of the nation’s leading urban ethnographers will talk in a free, public address, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 8, in the Elson Floyd Cultural Center at Washington State University.

Washington State University awarded Elijah Anderson with the 2017 William Julius Wilson Award for the Advancement of Social Justice in recognition his scholarly and applied work to promote racial integration and social harmony. Anderson, who is the William K. Lanman Jr. professor of sociology at Yale University, delivered a lecture on race and civility in everyday life derived from his theory of the “cosmopolitan canopy” — a metaphor for civil society — and how the canopy can help about teach, reinforce and spread social tolerance and mutual understanding. Anderson’s book, The Cosmopolitan Canopy, was published in 2011.

“Elijah Anderson is a leading voice in important national conversations about race, culture and criminal justice,” said Julie Kmec, WSU professor of sociology and chair of the Wilson Award committee. “In his ethnographic work, he has made deeply significant observations of urban life, including the way members of different race and class groups interact and how moral ‘codes’ shape the way people live,” she said.

“WSU audiences will learn how public spaces can foster positive race relations at a time when such relations are particularly critical.”

Anderson’s address was part of the William Julius Wilson Symposium held biennially at WSU Pullman.  

The symposium and award are sponsored by the WSU Office of the President, Office of the Provost, Office of Equity and Diversity, Department of Sociology, College of Arts and Sciences, Office of the Dean of Students, and Sociology Club.

WSU created the William Julius Wilson Award for the Advancement of Social Justice in 2009 to honor individuals who promote social inclusiveness and diversity in social policies and strive to reduce joblessness. Wilson received his doctorate in sociology from WSU in 1966 and is widely considered one of the nation’s most influential sociologists. He is the Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser University Professor at Harvard University.