Classroom Lecture

Robin M. Williams, Jr. Award


About Robin M. Williams Jr.

Robin Murphy Williams (1914-2006) was born on October 11, 1914, in Hillsborough, NC, the son of Robin M., Sr. (a farmer), and Mabel (a homemaker). He received his B.S. in 1933 from North Carolina State College; his M.S. in 1935 from N.C. State and the University of North Carolina; his M.A. in 1939 from Harvard University; and his Ph.D. in 1943 from Harvard University. During World War II, he served in the Special Services Division of the US War Department in Washington, D.C., and the European Theater of Operations from 1942 to 1946.


As an Army researcher on the frontlines, he was a contributor to the classic work, The American Soldier. For much of his long and distinguished career at Cornell University (from 1946 to 1985, then emeritus from 1985 to 2003), he was a member of the Sociology Department. He served as chair of that Department from 1956 through 196l, and was appointed the Henry Scarborough Professor of Social Science in 1967. After becoming Professor Emeritus in 1985, Williams continued to teach at both Cornell University and the University of California, Irvine. His research fostered understanding of some of the most difficult problems of American society. He devoted much of his career and writing to studies of intergroup tensions, race relations, war and peace, ethnic conflict, and altruism and cooperation.

Dr. Williams was a Past-President of the American Sociological Association, Past-President of the Eastern Sociological Association, Founding Editor of Sociological Forum, and the Co-Chair of the Committee on the Status of Black Americans. Dr. Williams’ many awards and honors include the Commonwealth Award for Distinguished Service, the American Sociological Association’s Career of Distinguished Scholarship Award, and the Robin M. Williams, Jr. Distinguished Lectureship Award established by the Eastern Sociological Association.

His best-known works include The American Soldier (Vols. 1-11, 1949); Schools in Transition (1954); and What College Students Think (1960); The Reduction of Intergroup Tensions (1947); Strangers Next Door (1964), American Society: A Sociological Interpretation (1st edition, 1951; 2nd edition, 1960; 3rd edition, 1970); Mutual Accommodation: Ethnic Conflict and Cooperation (1977); and most recently, The Wars Within: Peoples and States in Conflict (2003). He was also a co-editor of A Common Destiny: Blacks and American Society (1989). He was the author as well of some hundred and fifty articles, monographs, and chapters in edited volumes.

Current Lecturer

2022-23 RMW, Jr. Lecturer

Daniel Thomas Cook

Distinguished Professor of Childhood Studies Department of Childhood Studies Rutgers University-Camden
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Along with Spyros Spyrou (European University, Cyprus) and Rachel Rosen (University College London), Cook co-edited Reimagining childhood Studies (2019, Bloomsbury Press), in which contributors rethink the parameters of key arenas of the field in an effort to chart new directions. Cook also is co-editor of Children and Armed Conflict (2011, Palgrave), along with John Wall and is sole editor of Symbolic Childhood (2002, Peter Lang) and The Lived Experiences of Public Consumption (2008, Palgrave).  He is also the founding Chair of the Section on the Sociology of Consumers and Consumption of the American Sociological Association and serves on numerous editorial boards of journal and scientific committees of international scholarly organizations.


Ongoing research includes work on photography, memory and childhood, a study of how children’s market research professionals (e.g., marketers, market researchers, digital developers) and others in the “kids’ space” conceptualize their practices in relation to deployed notions of childhood and the current troubling of notions of childhood innocence.

On Your Campus

To apply for Dr. Cook to present on your campus, please read the below:

The Robin M. Williams, Jr. Lecturer Host Committee invites institutions to apply to host Daniel Cook for the 2022-23 lecture series. The Eastern Sociological Society established the Lectureship in 1992 to honor the many contributions of Robin M. Williams, Jr. (1914-2006) to the discipline and the Society, particularly as founding editor of its journal, Sociological Forum.

ESS will provide transportation and honoraria: the host institution will take care of local arrangements, including room and board. The individual chosen for the Lectureship will receive an honorarium and will present two lectures on campuses in the ESS region during the terms of his or her appointment. All institutions are welcome to apply, but preference is given to public universities, especially community colleges.

To apply, please email Jennifer C. Lena, ESS VP, at:

Past Robin M. Williams, Jr. Lecturer

Anthony Ryan Hatch

Associate Professor and Chair, Science and Society Program, Wesleyan University

Dr. Anthony Ryan Hatch (2022). In his lecture "The Data Will Not Save Us: Afropessimism in the COVID-19 Archives," Dr. Hatch explored the Trump Administration's problematic use of racial heath disparities data in their failed response to the pandemic. Beyond the pandemic, he also questioned what the massive archive of racial health disparities data has really brought us in the struggle to abolish health inequalities.  Dr. Hatch is a sociologist and Associate Professor and Chair of the Science in Society Program at Wesleyan University where is he is also affiliated faculty in the Department of African American Studies, the College of the Environment, and the Department of Sociology. He is the author of Silent Cells: The Secret Drugging of Captive America (Minnesota, 2019) and Blood Sugar: Racial Pharmacology and Food Justice in Black America (Minnesota, 2016). He recently appeared in the PBS documentary Blood Sugar Rising and lectures widely on health systems, medical technology, and social inequalities. He is a co-lead in the Sydney Center for Healthy Societies, a member of the Health and Social Equities Hub at King’s College London, and is a fellow in The Hastings Center.

A list of past Robin M. Williams, Jr. Lecturers coming soon.