Issue date: 29 October 2004

ISSUE DATE: 29/10/04

The University of the West of England will award the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters to Professor Charles Clay Lemert in recognition of his role and achievements as an eminent social theorist. The honorary degree will be conferred at the Award Ceremony of the Faculty of Humanities, Languages and Social Sciences, on Monday 1 November at 14.45 at Bristol Cathedral.

Charles Lemert is widely considered to be one of the most pre-eminent social theorists working in the United States of America today and is internationally renowned. He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and graduated from Western Hills High School before proceeding to Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, where he completed his Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1959. He went on to complete a Bachelor of Divinity degree at Andover Newton Theological School in 1963 followed by a Master of Arts degree and then a Doctorate of Philosophy at Harvard University in 1972. After time spent as a visiting scholar, he joined Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in 1971 as Assistant Professor, later becoming Associate Professor of Sociology and then Adjunct Professor. In 1986, he moved to Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut to become the Chair in Sociology, then Dean of Social Sciences and today Andrus Professor of Sociology.

As one of the foremost social critics of United States social policy, Professor Lemert has: considered the global consequences of the events of September 11th; the political fallout arising from the war on terrorism; and, reflected on Atlantic violence in the early years of the 21st century. He has written many articles and is the author of twenty books, some controversial, including: Mohammad Ali: Trickster and the Culture of Irony; Sociology After the Crisis; and, Postmodernism is Not What You Think. His book Dark Thoughts: Race and the Eclipse of Society provides an insight into the history of race and racism in America and draws upon his own experiences growing up as the ‘virtual son’ of a black mother and as the ‘real father’ of an African-American daughter. The third edition of his widely used text, Social Theory, appeared this year. The third edition of another popular text, Social Things, will be published later this year.

Professor Lemert has served as: Editorial Associate – Sociological Forum; Editorial Associate – Sociological Theory; Advisory Editor - Sociology Quarterly; Consulting Editor – Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour; Senior Editor – Theory and Society; Advisory Editor – Sociological Quarterly; and, Associate Editor – Review of Religious Research and The Irish Journal of Sociology.

Having enjoyed a close working relationship with the University of the West of England over a period of years, Professor Lemert is currently engaged on a research project with the University of the West of England’s Centre for Critical Theory, and is also a member of its International Advisory Panel.

Professor Lemert has also been awarded funding for many research projects, numerous fellowships and grants. He is a member of many American learned societies and was awarded an MA ad eundem grandum by Wesleyan University in 1982. He has been a visiting scholar in France and lectured in countries as far apart as Finland, the Czech Republic, Korea, The Netherlands, Mexico and Canada.

Professor Lemert has held various church related positions including time spent as a minister and as a chaplain. He maintains strong links with the Middlesex Cluster Ministry, Episcopal Church, Connecticut and is currently a member of the Board of Trustees, Positive Solutions Inc, serving the HIV Positive community in Middletown.


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