Elizabeth Anderson, Alondra Nelson Win 2023 Sage-CASBS Award

Two eminent scholars – philosopher Elizabeth Anderson and sociologist Alondra Nelson – have won the 2023 Sage-CASBS Award. The award, sponsored by Sage, a global academic publisher and the parent of Social Science Space, and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, recognizes outstanding achievement in the behavioral and social sciences that advances our understanding of pressing social issues.

Anderson and Nelson will appear together in a free event on November 16 at the Stanford University home of the center. The award includes a cash prize.

Elizabeth Anderson

Integrating expertise and insights at the intersection of philosophy, economics, history, and other social sciences, Elizabeth Anderson has established herself as one of the deepest and most interdisciplinary thinkers in the academy. In 2020, Prospect Magazine named her among the world’s top 50 thinkers, crediting her approach of “always confronting the world as it truly is rather than how we would like it to be.”

She specializes in moral, social, and political philosophy; feminist theory; social epistemology; and the philosophy of economics and social sciences. Her work involves examinations of democratic theory, equality in political philosophy and U.S. law, the history of egalitarianism and ethics, value theory and the ethical limits of markets, racial integration and affirmative action, rational choice and social norms, and facts and values in social scientific research. A 2019 profile of her in The New Yorker was titled “The Philosopher Redefining Equality.”

“Elizabeth Anderson’s contributions are foundational. They influence our consideration of ethical and moral aspects of justice, democracy, and equality in very tangible ways,” said CASBS interim director Woody Powell. “Her pragmatic approach starts with real issues and problems, identifying ways institutions, policies, and practices create social inequalities that manifest in various dimensions of life and for various societal groups. She explores and formulates correctives that strive for a path for all, not just some, to flourish.”

Her books include Value in Ethics and Economics (1993); The Imperative of Integration (2010), winner of the 2011 Joseph B. Gittler Award from the American Philosophical Association; Private Government: How Employers Rule Our Lives (And Why We Don’t Talk About It) (2017); and the forthcoming Hijacked: How Neoliberalism Turned the Work Ethic Against Workers and How Workers Can Take It Back (September 2023).

After earning a Ph.D. in philosophy from Harvard University, she joined the faculty of the University of Michigan in 1987, where she now serves as the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor (since 2004), the John Dewey Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy and Women’s Studies (since 2013), and the Max Shaye Professor of Public Philosophy (since 2021).

Anderson received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, better known as the MacArthur “genius award” in 2019, and a Progress Medal for scholarship and leadership on making the economy more just from the Society for Progress (2018). She has been awarded fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (2013) and the American Council of Learned Societies (2013). She has been elected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2008), a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy (2020), a member of the American Philosophical Society (2021), and a member of Sigma Xi, the scientific research honor society (2022).

Alondra Nelson

Employing expertise at the intersection of science, technology, medicine, and social inequality, Alondra Nelson has advanced understanding of how race, gender, and other social categories shape and are shaped by the development and use of scientific knowledge. In so doing, Nelson has distinguished herself both through scholarly accomplishment and public service and engagement of the highest order. Since 2019, Nelson has served on the faculty of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, as the Harold F. Linder Chair and Professor of Social Science.

Concurrent with her academic appointments, she served as the fourteenth president and CEO of the Social Science Research Council from 2017 to 2021, leaving to accept an appointment as deputy director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and led the office on an acting basis when its director resigned in 2022. Shortly before her exit from government service in February 2023, Nature selected Nelson as one of the 10 people who helped shape science in 2022.

Most of Nelson’s work has examined ways in which science and technology intertwine with issues concerning equity, power, and inclusion and their implications for marginalized communities. Her major research contributions are situated at the intersection of racial formation and social citizenship, on the one hand, and emerging scientific and technological phenomena, on the other. (Her 2020 Social Science Bites episode on genetic testing illustrates that research.)

Nelson’s books include Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination (2011), a finalist for the C. Wright Mills Award; and The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation after the Genome (2016).

Her numerous fellowships include the Center for American Progress,  Andrew C. Mellon Foundation (2006-07), the Ford Foundation (2007), the London School of Economics (2007), the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (Germany, 2011), the University of Bayreuth (2014), and the Hastings Center (2019). Her teaching and research have garnered multiple awards, including the Poorvu Family Award for Distinguished Interdisciplinary Teaching from Yale University (2008), the African American Culture and Philosophy Award from Purdue University (2014), and the Morison Prize in Science, Technology, and Society from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2020). She has been named a member of the Sociological Research Association (2017), the American Academy of Political and Social Science (2018), the American Philosophical Society (2020), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2020), the National Academy of Medicine (2020), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2021).

Nelson served as the inaugural Dean of Social Science (2014-17) at Columbia University.

In other leadership roles at Columbia, Nelson served as interim director of the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy (2015-16), director of the Institute for Research on Women and Gender (2013-14), founding co-director of the Collaborative to Advance Equity through Research, and founding co-chair of both the Precision Medicine and Society Initiative (2015-19) and the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Council (2013-17).

“Alondra Nelson sets new standards through probing social science scholarship that centers equity in science, technology, the public, and policy. She has done a service to society and to social science by firming up connections between both,” said Sage CEO Blaise Simqu.

The Award

The Sage-CASBS Award was established in 2013. Past winners of the award include Daniel Kahneman, psychologist and Nobel laureate in economic sciences; Pedro Noguera, sociologist and education rights activist; Kenneth Prewitt, political scientist and former U.S. Census Bureau director; William Julius Wilson, sociologist and celebrated scholar of poverty, inequality, and race; Carol Dweck, social psychologist and foundational figure in the development of mindset science; and Jennifer Richeson, psychologist and authority on the cognitive, affective, and behavioral dynamics of intergroup interactions.

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SAGE Publishing, the parent of Social Science Space, is a leading international publisher of journals, books, and electronic media for academic, educational, and professional markets. An independent company, SAGE has principal offices in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, Melbourne and Washington DC.

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