Elijah Anderson, one of the nation’s leading urban ethnographers and cultural theorists, will address the class of 2021 at Drexel’s university-wide commencement ceremony set for June 11 at Citizens Bank Park, according to an April 14 DrexelNow article.
Anderson is the Sterling Professor of Sociology and of African American Studies at Yale University; the Sterling Professorship is the highest academic rank at Yale University, awarded to a tenured faculty member considered one of the best in their field.
Anderson holds a doctorate from Northwestern University, a master’s degree from University of Chicago and a bachelor’s from Indiana University. Anderson is the recipient of the 2013 Cox-Johnson-Frazier Award, the 2018 W.E.B. DuBois Career of Distinguished Scholarship Award from the American Sociological Association, and the 2017 Merit Award from the Eastern Sociological Society.
Dr. Anderson has served on the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Political and Social Science and is formerly a vice-president of the American Sociological Association.
He has used his knowledge and skill set in many different roles, including serving as a consultant to the White House, the United States Congress, the National Academy of Science and the National Science Foundation, in addition to editorial positions with various journals, including Qualitative Sociology, Ethnography, American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, City & Community, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, and the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research.
Anderson joined the University of Pennsylvania as an associate professor in 1981, transitioning into a full professor in 1988. During his time at Penn, Anderson was appointed to the Max and Heidi Berry Term Chair in the Social Sciences in 1989, granted the Charles and William L. Day Professorship in 1991, and then Distinguished Professor in 2001.
He has also served as Visiting Professor at Swarthmore College, where he previously worked as an assistant professor, Princeton University, and Ecole des Etudes Hautes en Science Sociales in Paris, France.
Anderson has written and edited numerous books, articles, and scholarly reports centering on race in American cities. The 78 year-old published his first book in 1990, “Streetwise: Race, Class, and Change in an Urban Community,“ winner of the American Sociological Association’s Robert E. Park Award for the best published book in the area of Urban Sociology. Anderson’s other prominent work includes “Code of the Street: Decency, Violence, and the Moral Life of the Inner City” (1999), winner of the 2000 Komarovsky Award from the Eastern Sociological Society.
His most recent article, published through Penn’s Institute for Urban Research, explores the impact of the coronavirus on black people living in inner cities. “Because this is such a contagious and lethal disease, we must understand that we truly are all in this together,” Anderson said.
Anderson has had a long and very successful career, garnering several awards. He has investigated and published work ranging from topics like urban education to health and punishment, and understands the societal effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.