Urban Ethnographer Elijah Anderson to Address Graduates at Drexel’s University-wide Commencement

Headshot of commecement speaker Elijah Anderson, one of the most distinguished urban ethnographers

Elijah Anderson, considered by his peers as a prolific and ground-breaking ethnographer of urban life, will address graduates at Drexel's university-wide commencement ceremony.

One of the nation’s most influential scholars in the field of urban inequality, Elijah Anderson, will address the class of 2021 at Drexel’s university-wide commencement ceremony on June 11. Provided that health and safety regulations and best practices allow, Drexel University will return to Citizens Bank Park to celebrate the graduating class. The ceremony will be live-streamed.

“We are incredibly proud of all that our 2021 graduates have achieved, and we promise to honor their years at Drexel and properly welcome them to the ranks of Drexel alumni,” said Drexel President John Fry. “I’m certain our graduating class will be honored to hear from Elijah Anderson, one of the most distinguished scholars in a field with such social and political importance.”

Anderson is the Sterling Professor of Sociology and of African American Studies at Yale University. He is considered by his peers as a prolific and ground-breaking ethnographer of urban life. He is the author of the classic sociological work “A Place on the Corner: A Study of Black Street Corner Men” (1978; 2nd edition 2003). His most recent ethnographic work, “The Cosmopolitan Canopy: Race and Civility in Everyday Life,” was published by WW Norton in 2011.

His publication “Code of the Street: Decency, Violence, and the Moral Life of the Inner City (1999) won the Komarovsky Award from the Eastern Sociological Society and “Streetwise: Race, Class, and Change in an Urban Community” (1990) was recognized with the American Sociological Association’s Robert E. Park Award for the best published book in the area of Urban Sociology.

Anderson is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including the 2013 Cox-Johnson-Frazier Award, the 2017 Merit Award from the Eastern Sociological Society, the 2018 W.E.B. DuBois Career of Distinguished Scholarship Award and the 2021 Robert and Helen Lynd Award for Lifetime Achievement from the American Sociological Association.

Anderson has served on the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Political and Social Science and is a former vice-president of the American Sociological Association. He has also served as a consultant to a variety of government agencies, including the White House, the United States Congress, the National Academy of Science and the National Science Foundation. Additionally, he was a member of the National Research Council’s Panel on the Understanding and Control of Violent Behavior.

Before joining the Yale faculty in July 2007, Anderson served for many years as the Charles and William L. Day Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences and professor of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, with a secondary appointment in the Wharton School. Previously, he worked as an assistant professor of Sociology at Swarthmore College. He has also served as a visiting professor at Swarthmore College, Princeton University and Ecole des Etudes Hautes en Science Sociales in Paris, France.

Anderson received his bachelor’s degree from Indiana University, his master’s from the University of Chicago and his doctorate from Northwestern University, where he was a Ford Foundation Fellow.

More information about Drexel’s commencement will be posted to the Commencement 2021 website as it becomes available.