Theda Skocpol

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Theda Skocpol "is the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology and Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University. She has also served as Director of the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard from 1999 to 2006.

"Skocpol received her B.A. in 1969 from Michigan State University and her PhD in 1975 from Harvard University. In 1996, Skocpol served as President of the Social Science History Association, an interdisciplinary professional group; and from 2001 to 2003 she served as President-Elect and then President of the 14,000-member American Political Science Association. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has held fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, the Russell Sage Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Skocpol has been awarded honorary degrees by Michigan State University, Northwestern University, and Amherst College.

"The author of nine books, nine edited collections, and more than seven dozen articles, Skocpol is recognized as one of the most cited and widely influential scholars in the modern social sciences; her work has contributed to the study of comparative politics, American politics, comparative and historical sociology, U.S. history, and the study of public policy. Her first book, States and Social Revolutions: A Comparative Analysis of France, Russia, and China (1979), won the 1979 C. Wright Mills Award and the 1980 American Sociological Association Award for a Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship. A leader in historical-institutional and comparative research, Skocpol edited Vision and Method in Historical Sociology (1984) and co-edited the influential Social Science Research Council collection Bringing the State Back In(1985). For the past fifteen years, Skocpol’s research has focused on U.S. politics in historical and comparative perspective. Her Protecting Soldiers and Mothers: The Political Origins of Social Policy in the United States (1992), won five scholarly awards: the J. David Greenstone Award of the Politics and History Section of the American Political Science Association; the Outstanding Book Award of the Political Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association; the 1993 Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award of the American Political Science Association, given annually for “the best book published in the United States during the prior year on government, politics or international affairs”; the 1993 Allan Sharlin Memorial Award of the Social Science History Association; and the 1993 Ralph Waldo Emerson Award of Phi Beta Kappa, given to honor “a comprehensive study that contributes significantly to historical, philosophical, or religious interpretations of the human condition.”

"Skocpol’s recent books include Boomerang: Health Reform and the Turn Against Government (1996); Diminished Democracy: From Membership to Management in American Civic Life(2003, winner of the 2004 Greenstone Award); and Inequality and American Democracy: What We Know and What We Need to Learn (edited with Lawrence R. Jacobs, 2005). Her newest book, What a Mighty Power We Can Be: African American Fraternal Groups and the Struggle for Racial Equality (with Ariane Liazos and Marshall Ganz) is soon to appear from Princeton University Press.

"Active in civic as well as academic life, Skocpol was included in policy discussions with President Bill Clinton at the White House and Camp David. She writes both for scholarly outlets and for publications appealing to the educated public. Married since 1967 to Bill Skocpol, an experimental physicist who teaches at Boston University, Theda Skocpol is the proud mother of Michael Allan Skocpol, born in 1988." [1]

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch


  1. Theda Skocpol, Harvard University, accessed September 20, 2007.
  2. Founders and Advisors, Campaign for America's Future, accessed August 4, 2007.
  3. The Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science, Uppsala University, accessed September 20, 2007.
  4. Advisory Board, Roosevelt Institution, accessed September 22, 2007.
  5. Masthead, Democracy, accessed March 31, 2010.