Sociologists

Any person who is an expert in the study of social institutions in the society and the development of humans with social circles in communities may be referred to as a sociologist. Sociologists study human behavior, their origins, evolution and other factors like their development, interactions and their collective behavioral patterns in social groups. Thus, sociologists are engaged in the scientific analysis and the examination of any social institution and its relationship and effects on the various facets of the human society. They study the reasons for behavioral change in humans over a period of time and determine the various factors that cause can in behavior. Sociology originated in the 18th and the 19th century, during the period when Western Europe was going through a host of economical, technical changes and social changes that a great impact on the social order. Sociologist may be specialized in fields like social problems, social psychology, social statistics, industrial sociology, sociology of work, sociology of occupations and professions and other files. Some other areas of specializations include race, gender, sex, cultural diversity, labor and industrial relations, personnel management and business relations. Discover some of the world’s most famous sociologists with the help of their biographies that include trivia, interesting facts, timeline and life history.
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 1 
W. E. B. Du Bois
(Civil Rights Activists)

W. E. B. Du Bois
6
Birthdate: February 23, 1868
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Great Barrington, Massachusetts, United States
Died: August 27, 1963

W. E. B. Du Bois was an American civil rights activist, sociologist, and Pan-Africanist. Du Bois played an instrumental role in fighting for full civil rights for people of color around the world. A co-founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Du Bois also played an important role as the leader of the Niagara Movement.

 2 
Max Weber
(Sociologist)

Max Weber
8
Birthdate: April 21, 1864
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Erfurt, Germany
Died: June 14, 1920

Max Weber was a German historian, political economist, jurist, and sociologist. Widely regarded as one of the most influential and important theorists, Weber's ideas had a profound influence on social research and social theory. Although he did not see himself as a sociologist, Weber is often counted among the fathers of sociology alongside Émile Durkheim, Auguste Comte, and Karl Marx.

 3 
Emile Durkheim
(Sociologist)

Emile Durkheim
8
Birthdate: April 15, 1858
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Épinal, France
Died: November 15, 1917

Emile Durkheim was a French sociologist. He is credited with establishing the discipline of sociology for academic purposes and is widely regarded as the chief architect of modern social science. During his lifetime, Emile Durkheim published several works on topics like morality, religion, and education. He also played a major role in the development of sociology and anthropology as disciplines.

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 4 
Jürgen Habermas
(Philosopher)

Jürgen Habermas
6
Birthdate: June 18, 1929
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Düsseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

German philosopher and sociologist Jürgen Habermas is counted among the most influential philosophers across the world and is identified with the tradition of critical theory and pragmatism. He influenced many disciplines through his work which addresses communicative rationality and the public sphere, and includes topics starting from social-political theory to aesthetics, language to philosophy of religion, and epistemology.

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 5 
Pierre Bourdieu
(French Sociologist Known for 'Theorizing the Link Between Education and Culture')

Pierre Bourdieu
6
Birthdate: August 1, 1930
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Denguin, France
Died: January 23, 2002

Renowned sociologist and intellectual Pierre Bourdieu is best remembered for his theory of habitus. Initially sent to Algeria as part of the French Army, he later taught and conducted ethnographic research there. His best-known work remains La Distinction, and he also inspired a hit French documentary.

 6 
Jean Baudrillard
(Sociologist)

Jean Baudrillard
8
Birthdate: July 27, 1929
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Reims, France
Died: March 6, 2007

Renowned sociologist and cultural theorist Jean Baudrillard is remembered for introducing concepts of hyperreality and simulacrum. Initially a teacher of German literature in schools, he later taught sociology at Paris X Nanterre. He coined the phrase the desert of the real, which was later used in the film The Matrix.

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 7 
Robert K. Merton
(Sociologist)

Robert K. Merton
4
Birthdate: July 4, 1910
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Philadelphia
Died: February 23, 2003

Robert K. Merton was an American sociologist best remembered for his immense contribution to the field of criminology. Merton, who is credited with founding the sociology of science, was honored with the prestigious National Medal of Science in 1994 for his contribution to the field. He is also credited with mentoring fellow sociologists like Jonathan R. Cole.

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 8 
Vilfredo Pareto
(Economist, Writer, Philosopher, Sociologist, University teacher)

Vilfredo Pareto
4
Birthdate: July 15, 1848
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Paris
Died: August 19, 1923

A qualified civil engineer, Vilfredo Pareto had initially worked for the railways and the ironworks. However, he gradually deviated to philosophy, sociology, and politics and gained fame for his application of math to economic issues and his introduction of Pareto efficiency. Mind and Society remains his best-known work.

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 9 
Bruno Latour
(French Philosopher Known for His Innovative and Iconoclastic Work in the Study of Science and Technology in Society)

Bruno Latour
8
Birthdate: June 22, 1947
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Beaune, France

Holberg Prize-winning French sociologist and anthropologist Bruno Latour had initially studied theology and even received his PhD in the subject. His later research Ivory Coast drew him to anthropology, and he soon gained fame as a renowned academic in the field, having co-written iconic books such as Laboratory Life.

 10 
George Herbert Mead
(Philosopher)

George Herbert Mead
4
Birthdate: February 27, 1863
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: South Hadley, Massachusetts, United States
Died: April 26, 1931

American philosopher and social psychologist George Herbert Mead was one of the pioneers of pragmatism and symbolic interactionism. He taught at the University of Chicago, and his ideas later came to be known as the Chicago school of sociology. His notable lectures were published as books only after his death.

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 11 
Georg Simmel
(One of the First Generation of German Sociologists and Neo-Kantian Philosopher)

Georg Simmel
4
Birthdate: March 1, 1858
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: September 26, 1918

Georg Simmel was a German sociologist, philosopher, and critic considered a forerunner to structuralist styles of reasoning in the social sciences. He was neo-Kantian in his approach and laid the foundations for sociological antipositivism. He broadly rejected academic standards and wrote extensively on the philosophy of Schopenhauer and Nietzsche. He was married to philosopher Gertrud Kinel and had one son. 

 12 
Karl Marx
(Philosopher & Economist - Famous for His Theory of 'Marxism' )

Karl Marx
0
Birthdate: May 5, 1818
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Trier, Germany
Died: March 14, 1883

Karl Marx, the philosopher, economist, political theorist and socialist revolutionary, is best-known for the 1848 pamphlet, The Communist Manifesto and the three-volume Das Kapital. His theories, called Marxism, maintained that class conflict leads to the development of human societies and that internal tension were inherent in capitalism, which would ultimately be replaced by the socialist mode of production.

 13 
Ibn Khaldun
(Sociologist, Philosopher, and Historian)

Ibn Khaldun
4
Birthdate: May 27, 1332
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Tunis, Tunisia
Died: March 16, 1406

Ibn Khaldun was an Arab scholar, philosopher, social scientist, and historian. He is often credited with founding the modern disciplines of sociology, historiography, economics, and demography. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of the medieval period.

 14 
Erving Goffman
(Sociologist)

Erving Goffman
4
Birthdate: June 11, 1922
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Mannville, Alberta, Canada
Died: November 20, 1982

Canadian-American sociologist, social-psychologist and writer Erving Goffman, regarded as the most influential American sociologist of the 20th century by some, is best-known for his study of symbolic interaction and development of his dramaturgical analysis. His book The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life was the first that treated face-to-face interaction as a subject of sociological study.

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 15 
Harriet Martineau
(First female sociologist)

Harriet Martineau
5
Birthdate: June 12, 1802
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Norwich, Norfolk, England
Died: June 27, 1876

Regarded by many as the first female sociologist, Harriet Martineau was a prominent 19th-century social theorist, classical economist, and intellectual who penned the iconic work The Positive Philosophy of Auguste Comte. She was partially deaf and had lost her sense of taste and smell in childhood.

 16 
Peter Kropotkin
(Anarchist, Socialist & Historian)

Peter Kropotkin
4
Birthdate: December 9, 1842
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: February 8, 1921

Russian philosopher Peter Kropotkin was a passionate advocate of anarcho-communism. He was also an activist, revolutionary, economist, and sociologist. He was arrested and imprisoned for his activism in 1874. However, he managed to escape and lived in exile for over 40 years in different countries across Europe. He returned to Russia after the Russian Revolution in 1917. 

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 17 
Erich Fromm
(German Social Psychologist and Psychoanalyst & One of the Founders of The 'William Alanson White Institute')

Erich Fromm
6
Birthdate: March 23, 1900
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Frankfurt, Germany
Died: March 18, 1980

Erich Fromm was a German social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, and socialist. A German Jew, he fled the Nazi regime and settled in the United States. He was a co-founder of  The William Alanson White Institute and was associated with the Frankfurt School of critical theory. He is best remembered for authoring the book Escape from Freedom.

 18 
Herbert Marcuse
(Philosopher and Sociologist His Best-Known Works are "Eros and Civilization" (1955) and "One-Dimensional Man.")

Herbert Marcuse
4
Birthdate: July 19, 1898
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: July 29, 1979

The proponent of the Frankfurt School of critical theory, Herbert Marcuse largely influenced the leftist student revolts of the 1960s. Equipped with a PhD in German literature, he wrote Hegel’s Ontology and the Theory of Historicity, with Martin Heidegger. His Eros and Civilization spoke at length about capitalism.

 19 
Talcott Parsons
(Sociologist)

Talcott Parsons
4
Birthdate: December 13, 1902
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States
Died: May 8, 1979

Talcott Parsons was an American sociologist best remembered for his structural functionalism and social action theory. Widely regarded as one of the 20th century's most influential and important figures in sociology, Parsons played a key role in the establishment of Harvard's Department of Social Relations. He is also credited with mentoring many international scholars like Alain Touraine and Ralf Dahrendorf.

 20 
Stanley Milgram
(Psychologist, University teacher, Sociologist)

Stanley Milgram
6
Birthdate: August 15, 1933
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York City
Died: December 20, 1984

Social psychologist Stanley Milgram was inspired by the suffering of the Jews during the Holocaust to understand what drove people to harm others, and thus created his Milgram experiment. He also taught at prestigious institutes such as Harvard and Yale. His studies also included the six degrees of separation concept.

 21 
Anthony Giddens
(Sociologist)

Anthony Giddens
4
Birthdate: January 18, 1938
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Edmonton, London, England

 22 

Aleksandr Dugin
4
Birthdate: January 7, 1962
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia

One of the prime organizers of the National Bolshevik Party, Russian politologist Aleksandr Dugin is known for his association with fascism. He supports the creation of a Eurasian empire, which will oppose North Atlantic interests. He has also penned books such as The Fourth Political Theory and Foundations of Geopolitics.

 23 
C. Wright Mills
(Sociologist)

C. Wright Mills
4
Birthdate: August 28, 1916
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Waco
Died: March 20, 1962

C. Wright Mills was an American sociologist who served as a professor at Columbia University from 1946 to 1962. Mills is credited with writing influential books like The Sociological Imagination. His work inspired several future sociologists like Stanley Cohen, Tom Hayden, and Teodor Shanin. The C. Wright Mills Award, which is given annually, was established in his honor.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman
6
Birthdate: July 3, 1860
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Hartford, Connecticut
Died: August 17, 1935

Charlotte Perkins Gilman was an American novelist, humanist, poet, and short-story writer. Best remembered as a utopian feminist, Gilman served as an inspiration for several generations of feminists. A National Women's Hall of Fame inductee, Charlotte Perkins Gilman is also remembered for her semi-autobiographical work, The Yellow Wallpaper.

 25 
Marcel Mauss
(Sociologist, Anthropologist)

Marcel Mauss
5
Birthdate: May 10, 1872
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Épinal, Vosges, France
Died: February 10, 1950

Sociologist and anthropologist Marcel Mauss is regarded as the Father of French Ethnology. Shunning his family business, he became influenced by his uncle, sociologist Émile Durkheim. His best-known work remains Essai sur le don, or The Gift. He also influenced Claude Lévi-Strauss, who founded structural anthropology.

 26 
Paul Ekman
(Psychologist, Anthropologist, Sociologist, Non-fiction writer, University teacher)

Paul Ekman
4
Birthdate: February 15, 1934
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Washington, D.C.

 27 
Alva Belmont
(socialite)

Alva Belmont
3
Birthdate: January 17, 1853
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Mobile, Alabama, United States
Died: January 26, 1933

Alva Belmont was an American socialite who played a major role in the women's suffrage movement in the United States of America. Remembered for her intelligence, energy, and strong opinions, Belmont is credited with founding the Political Equality League which aimed at promoting suffrage-supporting politicians. Alva Belmont is also credited with co-founding the National Woman's Party in 1916.

 28 
Clifford Geertz
(Anthropologist, University teacher, Sociologist)

Clifford Geertz
3
Birthdate: August 23, 1926
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: San Francisco
Died: October 30, 2006

Clifford Geertz was an anthropologist who strongly supported and influenced the practice of symbolic anthropology. He attended Harvard University, where he completed an interdisciplinary program. He then embarked on an academic career and wrote several theoretical pieces and essays on symbolic anthropology. He has left a strong influence on modern anthropology and communication studies. 

 29 
Jacques Ellul
(Theologian, Philosopher)

Jacques Ellul
5
Birthdate: January 6, 1912
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bordeaux, France
Died: May 19, 1994

French philosopher, Christian anarchist, and social scientist Jacques Ellul initially wished to be a naval officer but was pushed to study law. He is best remembered for his iconic volume La Technique, or The Technological Society. He taught social history and the history of law at various universities.

 30 
Fredric Jameson
(Essayist, Political scientist, Writer, Professor, Literary critic, Sociologist, Journalist)

Fredric Jameson
3
Birthdate: April 14, 1934
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Cleveland

Fredric Jameson is an American philosopher, literary critic, and Marxist political theorist. Jameson is renowned for his analysis of capitalism and postmodernity. He is credited with authoring influential books like The Political Unconscious and Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. In 2012, Fredric Jameson was honored with the Lifetime Scholarly Achievement Award by the Modern Language Association.

 31 
Karl Polanyi
(Economist, Anthropologist, Economic historian, Historian, Journalist, Philosopher, Writer, University teacher, Sociologist)

Karl Polanyi
5
Birthdate: October 25, 1886
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Vienna
Died: April 23, 1964

Apart from being a political economist, Karl Polanyi was also a prominent Hungarian political leader. The Great Transformation remains his best-known work. He taught at institutes such as the Columbia University and is known for proposing the idea of a cultural version of economics known as substantivism.

 32 
Gustave Le Bon
(Physician, Anthropologist, Archaeologist, Psychologist, Philosopher, Historian, Sociologist)

Gustave Le Bon
3
Birthdate: May 7, 1841
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Nogent-le-Rotrou
Died: December 13, 1931

French social psychologist Gustave Le Bon is best remembered for his research on crowd psychology. In his iconic work La psychologie des foules, or The Crowd, he stated that people are driven by their emotions and not by their intellect when they act as part of a crowd.

 33 
Ferdinand Tönnies
(One of the Founding Fathers of Classical German Sociology)

Ferdinand Tönnies
3
Birthdate: July 26, 1855
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Oldenswort, Germany
Died: April 9, 1936

Ferdinand Tönnies was a German economist, sociologist, and philosopher. He is credited with co-founding the German Society for Sociology where he served as the president from 1909 to 1933. Widely regarded as the first prominent German sociologist, Tönnies contributed significantly to field studies and sociological theory. Ferdinand Tönnies is often counted among the founders of classical German sociology. 

 34 
Gregory Bateson
(Anthropologist, Philosopher, Sociologist, Psychologist)

Gregory Bateson
3
Birthdate: May 9, 1904
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Grantchester
Died: June 11, 1980

Gregory Bateson was an English anthropologist, social scientist, linguist, and visual anthropologist. Along with his colleagues, he developed the double-bind theory of schizophrenia. Also a cyberneticist, he was part of the core group of the Macy Conferences in Cybernetics. He was a member of philosopher William Irwin Thompson's esoteric nonprofit foundation Lindisfarne Association.  

 35 
Stuart Hall
(Sociologist)

Stuart Hall
6
Birthdate: February 3, 1932
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Kingston, Jamaica
Died: February 10, 2014

Jamaican-British Marxist sociologist and cultural theorist Stuart Hall is remembered as a pioneering figure of the Birmingham School of Cultural Studies. A skilled academic, he was also the founding-editor of the New Left Review. His encoding and decoding model remains one of his most remarkable contributions to culture studies.

 36 
Robert E. Park
(sociologist, criminologist, writer, university teacher)

Robert E. Park
2
Birthdate: February 14, 1864
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Harveyville
Died: February 7, 1944

 37 
William Julius Wilson
(Sociologist, University teacher, Professor, Writer)

William Julius Wilson
2
Birthdate: December 20, 1935
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Pennsylvania

 38 
Immanuel Wallerstein
(Economist, Geopolitician, Economic historian, Historian, Political scientist, Writer, Sociologist, University teacher)

Immanuel Wallerstein
3
Birthdate: September 28, 1930
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York City

Sociologist, author, and economic historian Immanuel Wallerstein is best remembered for his iconic work The Modern World System, which was the first volume of his world-system theory. He was a Yale researcher and had first been driven to understand world history when he read up about the anticolonial movement in India.

 39 
Lewis Mumford
(Architect, Historian of technology, Historian, Sociologist, Screenwriter, Literary critic, Philosopher, Journalist)

Lewis Mumford
3
Birthdate: October 19, 1895
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York City
Died: January 26, 1990

Lewis Mumford was an American sociologist, historian, literary critic, and philosopher of technology. He made significant contributions to American literary and cultural history, social philosophy, and the history of technology. His works also influenced a number of thinkers and authors like Jacques Ellul and Amory Lovins. Lewis Mumford also had a strong influence on American cellular biologist Barry Commoner.

 40 
Raymond Aron
(Sociologist, Philosopher, and Political Scientist Known for His Skepticism of Ideological Orthodoxies)

Raymond Aron
3
Birthdate: March 14, 1905
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: October 17, 1983

Best known for his book The Opium of the Intellectuals, Raymond Aron was one of the most influential thinkers of his time. While he initially taught social philosophy, he also served the French air force during World War II. He also had long-term stints as a columnist for Le Figaro and L’Express.

 41 
Patricia Hill Collins
(Philosopher, Sociologist, University teacher, American Sociological Association Distinguished Scholarly Book Award)

Patricia Hill Collins
3
Birthdate: May 1, 1948
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Philadelphia

 42 
Lewis Hine
(Sociologist)

Lewis Hine
3
Birthdate: September 26, 1874
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Oshkosh, Wisconsin, United States
Died: November 3, 1940

Lewis Hine was an American photographer and sociologist. Hine's photographs played a key role in the passage of the child labor laws in the USA. He worked with non-profit organizations like Russell Sage Foundation and National Child Labor Committee and captured the plight of several child laborers in the steel-making districts. These photographs helped enact the first child labor laws.

 43 
Ruth Benedict
(Anthropologist, Folklorist, University teacher, Poet, Sociologist, Biographer)

Ruth Benedict
5
Birthdate: June 5, 1887
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New York City
Died: September 17, 1948

Ruth Benedict was an American folklorist and anthropologist. Benedict, who played an important role in the American Folklore Society, also served as the American Anthropological Association's president; the association gives away an annual prize named after Ruth Benedict. In 2005, she was made an inductee of the National Women's Hall of Fame.

 44 
Zygmunt Bauman
(Sociologist)

Zygmunt Bauman
6
Birthdate: November 19, 1925
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Poznań, Poland
Died: January 9, 2017

Polish sociologist Zygmunt Bauman moved to Israel after being stripped of his Polish citizenship during the 1968 Polish political crisis. His best-known works include Modernity and the Holocaust and Liquid Modernity. He had taught at Tel Aviv and Haifa, before working for almost 2 decades at the University of Leeds.

 45 
Christopher Lasch
(Historian, Social critic, Writer, Sociologist, Journalist)

Christopher Lasch
3
Birthdate: June 1, 1932
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Omaha
Died: February 14, 1994

Christopher Lasch was an American historian, social critic, and moralist. He served as a professor at the University of Rochester. Christopher Lasch is best remembered for his books that aimed at using history as a tool to help Americans realize the independence and competence of families and communities. His best-selling book The Culture of Narcissism won the National Book Award.

 46 
Daniel Defert
(Sociologist)

Daniel Defert
3
Birthdate: September 10, 1937
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Avallon, France

Best known as the partner of legendary French philosopher Michel Foucault, Daniel Defert was initially a professor of sociology. After Foucault died of AIDS, Defert turned into an AIDS activist and formed AIDES, France’s first AIDS awareness organization. He inherited Foucault’s estate, despite opposition from Foucault’s family.

 47 
Michel Aflaq
(Philosopher)

Michel Aflaq
5
Birthdate: January 9, 1909
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ḥamāh, Syria
Died: June 23, 1989

 48 
Henri Lefebvre
(Philosopher)

Henri Lefebvre
3
Birthdate: June 16, 1901
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hagetmau, France
Died: June 29, 1991

One of the greatest Marxist philosophers ever, Henri Lefebvre is remembered for introducing iconic ideas such as right to the city and the production of space. He initially mingled with the Surrealists and the Dadaists before moving toward Communism. His Dialetical Materialism remains one of his most celebrated books.

 49 
Bronislaw Malinowski
(Anthropologist, Sociologist)

Bronislaw Malinowski
0
Birthdate: March 15, 1884
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kraków, Poland
Died: 1942 AD

 50 
Shelby Steele
(Journalist)

Shelby Steele
6
Birthdate: January 1, 1946
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, U.S.

Shelby Steele is an American writer and documentary filmmaker who specializes in the study of multiculturalism and race relations. In 1990, his book The Content of Our Character earned him the National Book Critics Circle Award. In 1991, he won the Emmy Award for his documentary Seven Days in Bensonhurst. In 2004, Steele won the National Medal of the Humanities.