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 (2023-24): Claire Decoteau, University of Chicago at Illinois
Claire Laurier Decoteau received her PhD in Sociology from the University of Michigan (2008). Broadly, her research focuses on the social construction of health and disease, the politics of knowledge production, and peoples’ grounded experiences with healing and health care systems. Decoteau has received numerous awards for her scholarship and teaching. In 2022, she was awarded the Lewis A. Coser Award for Theoretical Agenda-Setting from the Theory Section of the American Sociological Association. She has also received the Junior Theorist Award, the Robert K. Merton Prize, the Star Nelkin Award and the American Sociological Association’s Dissertation Award. Decoteau has also received two awards for excellence in teaching from UIC, as well as the 2018 Graduate Mentoring award. Her areas of interest include: Social Theory, Cultural Sociology, Sociology of Health and Medicine, Sociology of Knowledge, Sociology of the Body, Globalization, Gender/Sexuality, Race/Ethnicity, and Ethnography
As part of the Society's attempt to enhance the sharing of ideas, one of our colleagues will be invited to spend time and give lectures on two campuses within the Society's jurisdiction during their year as the Williams Lecturer. The ESS Executive Office 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. (These campuses will be selected on a competitive basis.)
To apply for Dr. Claire Decoteau to speak at your institution, please follow these guidelines:
In no more than 1 page (500 words), please let us know: 1) why Dr. Decoteau is a good fit for speaking on your campus and what contributions the Williams lectureship will make to your community; 2) how the ESS Robin M. Williams, Jr. Distinguished Lecture by Dr. Decoteau would be promoted if your campus is selected. The response to these questions should be a short statement (bullet points are fine). Deadline December 1, 2023.
Submit to: Simon Cheng, ESS Vice President: email@example.com
TO NOMINATE SOMEONE FOR THE 2024-25 ROBIN M. WILLIAMS, JR. LECTURE:
Please send nominations (self-nominations welcome) in a letter detailing the reasons for the nomination along with no more than two supporting letters by December 15, 2023, to the Robin M. Williams, Jr., Lectureship Committee Chair:
Daniel Laurison, firstname.lastname@example.org, ESS Vice President-Elect
Derek Hyra, American University, ESS President-Elect
Robin M. Williams, Jr. Distinguished Lecturers 1993-2023
1993-1994 Caroline Hodges Persell
1994-1995 Charles V. Willie
1995-1996 Paul DiMaggio
1996-1997 Judith Lorber
1997-1998 Shulamit Reinharz
1998-1999 Cheryl Townsend Gilkes
1999-2000 Elijah Anderson
2000-2001 Myra Marx Ferree
2001-2002 Bonnie Thornton Dill
2002-2003 Michael Kimmel
2003-2004 Elizabeth Higginbotham
2004-2005 Jack Levin
2005-2006 Vincent Parillo
2006-2007 Michèle Lamont
2007-2008 Margaret Andersen
2008-2009 William Kornblum
2009-2010 Naomi Gerstel
2010-2011 Mark D. Jacobs
2011-2012 Sudhir Venkatesh
2012-2013 George Ritzer
2013-2014 Karen Cerulo
2014-2015 Mary Waters
2015-2016 Peter I. Rose
2016-2017 Kathleen Blee
2017-2018 Grace Kao
2018-2019 Mignon Moore
2019-2020 Ruha Benjamin
2020-2021 Zine Magubane
2021-2022 Anthony Ryan Hatch
2022-2023 Daniel Cook