January 29, 2009 Jeffrey C. Alexander Named Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Library of Congress John W. Kluge Center

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Public Contact: Robert Saladini (202) 707-2692

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington has named Jeffrey C. Alexander, the Lillian Chavenson Saden Professor of Sociology at Yale University, as a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Library’s John W. Kluge Center. Alexander’s term at the Kluge Center will run from January through June 2009. His research will focus on the performative aspects of U.S. presidential campaigns, especially the 2008 campaign. He will examine ways in which journalists covering the campaign frame and interpret the process; how they maintain distance and objectivity; and their personal attitudes toward particularly controversial themes that emerge during the course of the campaigns. As a professor, Alexander works in the areas of theory, culture and politics, and investigates the cultural codes and narratives that inform diverse areas of social life. At Yale University, Alexander is co-director, with Ron Eyerman, of the Center for Cultural Sociology. His most recent publications include: “A Contemporary Introduction to Sociology: Culture and Society in Transition” (with Kenneth Thompson), 2008; and “The New Social Theory Reader,” second edition (with Steven Seidman), 2008. He is the author of “The Meanings of Social Life: A Cultural Sociology,” 2003; and one of the authors of “Cultural Trauma and Collective Identity,” 2004 (with Eyerman, Bernhard Giesen, Piotr Sztompka and Neil J. Smelser, who was the 2006 Kluge Center Chair in Countries and Cultures of the North). In 2005, Alexander edited the “Cambridge Companion to Durkheim” with Philip Smith. With Giesen and Jason Mast, he edited “Social Performance: Symbolic Action, Cultural Pragmatics and Ritual” in 2006. In the field of politics, Alexander wrote “The Civil Sphere” (2006), which includes discussions of gender, race and religion, as well as new theories about social movements. Through a generous endowment from John W. Kluge, the Library of Congress established the Kluge Center in 2000 to bring together the world’s best thinkers to stimulate and energize one another to distill wisdom from the Library’s rich resources and to interact with policymakers in Washington. For further information on the Kluge Center, visit www.loc.gov/kluge/.


PR 09-017
ISSN 0731-3527