William Julius Wilson

Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser University Professor
Director
Joblessness and Urban Poverty Research Program
Office Address
Taubman-406
Mailing Address
John F. Kennedy School of Government
Mailbox 103
79 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Contact
Phone: 617-496-4514
Fax: 617-495-5834
Email: bill_wilson@Harvard.Edu
Assistant
Edward Walker (617-496-5612)
No Image

Profile

William Julius Wilson is Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser University Professor at Harvard University. He is one of only 24 University Professors, the highest professional distinction for a Harvard faculty member. After receiving the Ph.D. from Washington State University in 1966, Wilson taught sociology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, before joining the University of Chicago faculty in 1972. In 1990 he was appointed the Lucy Flower University Professor and director of the University of Chicago's Center for the Study of Urban Inequality. He joined the faculty at Harvard in July of 1996.

Past President of the American Sociological Association, Wilson has received 45 honorary degrees, including honorary doctorates from Princeton, Columbia, the University of Pennsylvania, Yale, Northwestern, Johns Hopkins, Dartmouth, the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, and New York University. A MacArthur Prize Fellow from 1987 to 1992, Wilson has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Education, the American Philosophical Society, the Institute of Medicine, and the British Academy. In June 1996 he was selected by Time magazine as one of America's 25 Most Influential People. He is a recipient of the 1998 National Medal of Science, the highest scientific honor in the United States, and was awarded the Talcott Parsons Prize in the Social Sciences by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2003.

He is the author of numerous publications, including The DecliningSignificance of Race, winner of the American Sociological Association's Sydney Spivack Award; The Truly Disadvantaged, which was selected by the editors of the New York Times Book Review as one of the 16 best books of 1987, and received The Washington Monthly Annual Book Award and the Society for the Study of Social Problems' C. Wright Mills Award; When Work Disappears: The World of the New Urban Poor, which was selected as one of the notable books of 1996 by the editors of the New York Times Book Review and received the Sidney Hillman Foundation Award; and The Bridge Over the Racial Divide: Rising Inequality and Coalition Politics. Most recently he is the co-author of There Goes the Neighborhood: Racial, Ethnic, and Class Tensions in Four Chicago Neighborhoods and Their Meaning for America and Good Kids in Bad Neighborhoods: Successful Development in Social Context.

Other honors granted to Wilson include the Seidman Award in Political Economy (the first and only noneconomist to receive the Award); the Golden Plate Achievement Award; the Distinguished Alumnus Award, Washington State University; the American Sociological Association's Dubois, Johnson, Frazier Award (for significant scholarship in the field of inter-group relations); the American Sociological Association's Award for Public Understanding of Sociology; Burton Gordon Feldman Award ("for outstanding contributions in the field of public policy") Brandeis University; and the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Award (granted by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Los Angeles).

Professor Wilson is a member of numerous national boards and commissions, and was previously the Chair of the Board of The Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and of the Russell Sage Foundation.

Courses

Fall

  • SUP-923 Proseminar on Inequality and Social Policy III

Not Offered

  • SUP-207 Social Structure and Culture in the Study of Race and Urban Poverty

Media Expertise

William Julius Wilson welcomes media inquiries on the following subjects:

Additional experts may be found by clicking on each subject listed. You may contact faculty directly or if you need assistance contact the Communications Office at 617-495-1115.

Research

For a complete list of faculty citations from 2001 - present, please visit the HKS Faculty Research Connection.

Selected Publication Citations:

  • Academic Journal/Scholarly Articles
    • Wilson, William Julius. "Marginality, Ethnicity and Penality: A Response to Loïc Wacquant." Ethnic & Racial Studies 37.10 (October 2014): 1712-1718.
    • Wilson, William Julius. "Combating Concentrated Poverty in Urban Neighborhoods." Journal of Applied Social Science 7.2 (September 2013): 135-143.
  • Book Chapters
    • Chaddha, Anmol, and William Julius Wilson. "“Way Down in the Hole”: Systemic Urban Inequality and The Wire." Crime and Justice in the City as Seen through The Wire. Ed. Peter A. Collins, and David C. Brody. Carolina Academic Press, 2013, 29-53.
  • Magazine and Newspaper Articles
    • Wilson, William Julius. "The Urban Jobs Crisis." Harvard Magazine. May-June 2013.
  • Reviews
    • Wilson, William Julius. "The Travails of Urban Field Research." Review of On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City, by Alice Goffman, and This Ain’t Chicago: Race, Class, and Regional Identity in the Post-Soul South, by Zandria F. Robinson. Contemporary Sociology, 43.6, November 2014: 824-828.

John F. Kennedy School of Government 79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
617-495-1100 Get Directions Visit Contact Page