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William Julius Wilson
This spring, Yu Xie and William Julius Wilson, on separate occasions, delivered prestigious lectures with great policy relevance.
On May 9, William Julius Wilson, Harvard University, was awarded the 2013 Daniel Patrick Moynihan Prize from the American Academy of Political and Social Science (AAPSS) at the Academy’s annual gala dinner. The Daniel Patrick Moynihan Prize was created in 2007 to recognize social scientists and other leaders in the public arena who champion the use of informed judgment to advance the public good. The same day, Wilson delivered the inaugural AAPSS Daniel Patrick Moynihan Lecture on Social Science and Public Policy, titled “Echoing Moynihan’s Call for National Action: The Critical Disconnect between the Poor and Gainful Employment.” In his address, Wilson argued that changes in the structure of the U.S. labor market mainly hits people living in neighborhoods with weak institutional resources and holding jobs in the most vulnerable economic sectors.
“Bill Wilson is one of the most influential social scientists of the twentieth century and, arguably, one of the great American scholars of our time,” said AAPSS President and sociologist Douglas S. Massey, Princeton University. “His work on poverty, race, space, and class has had an enormous influence in shaping debates in academic as well as policy circles.”
Wilson is Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser University Professor at Harvard University. He is one of only 20 University Professors, the highest professional distinction for a Harvard faculty member. Wilson’s well-known research has been detailed in books that are essential reading for scholars and policymakers concerned with social welfare and equality of opportunity. Titles among his 15 published books include: The Truly Disadvantaged (1987), The World of the New Urban Poor (1977), The Declining Significance of Race (1978), and, most recently, There Goes the Neighborhood: Racial, Ethnic, and Class Tensions in Four Chicago Neighborhoods and Their Meaning for America (2006).
A past president of the ASA, Wilson has received numerous honors and awards, including 44 honorary degrees, the Seidman Award in Political Economy—he is the first and only noneconomist to receive this award, and the National Medal of Science.
Robert M. Hauser
In addition to Wilson receiving the Moynihan award, sociologist Robert M. Hauser, Executive Director of the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education at the National Research Council, was named the AAPSS 2013 Ernest W. Burgess Fellow. Hauser is also the Vilas Research Professor and Samuel Stouffer Professor of Sociology, Emeritus, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His present research is involved with trends in educational progression and social mobility in the United States among racial and ethnic groups, the effects of families on social and economic inequality, and changes in socioeconomic standing, health, and well-being across the life course. He has been an investigator on the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (WLS) since 1969 and has led the study since 1980.
On April 30, 2013, Yu Xie, University of Michigan, gave the Henry and Bryna David Lecture on “Is American Science in Decline?” about the current state of American Science. The Henry and Bryna David Endowment, through the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE) of the National Research Council, awards innovative research in the behavioral and social sciences by selecting a leading expert and researcher to write an article in their field to be presented at the National Academy of Sciences and published in Issues in Science and Technology.
Xie, the Otis Dudley Duncan Professor of Sociology, Statistics, and Public Policy at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, based his DBASSElecture on his 2012 book Is American Science in Decline? (co-authored with Alexandra Achen Killewald). The publication provides a nuanced, objective assessment that embraces the full complexity of the subject, pointing to areas of strength and concern as well as challenges for the future. The current editor of ASA’s Sociological Methodology and an expert in social stratification, demography, statistical methods, Chinese studies, and sociology of science, Xie is also affiliated with the Population Studies Center, the Survey Research Center, and the Center for Chinese Studies at the University of Michigan.