Columbia University Sociologist Jennifer Lee

I’m Surprised by How Much Sleep I Need When I See People in Person

Jennifer Lee is the Julian Clarence Levi Professor of Social Sciences at Columbia University. She researches the implications of contemporary U.S. immigration—particularly Asian immigration—from a variety of lenses. In advance of the Zócalo event, “Is There Still Merit in a Merit-Based System?,” she discussed the joy and exhaustion of seeing people in person and what’s on her (vegan) Thanksgiving table.

The Ghetto’s Complex and Troubled Legacy

Ghetto: The Invention of a Place, the History of an Idea

In 2017, we often hear the word “ghetto” come up in music lyrics and casual conversation, out of the mouths of politicians and activists. We know what it means; it …

How Solving the Mystery of a Classic French Novel Could Curb Police Violence

A Sociologist Finds Clues in Camus’s The Stranger That Tension Triggers Excess Force

Albert Camus’s novel The Stranger contains one of the most famous acts of violence in all literature. A man kills someone he doesn’t know, without immediate provocation, in broad daylight. …

You Never Get One Isolated Great Thinker at a Time

Sociologist Randall Collins on Creativity Clusters and the Importance of Good Questions

Randall Collins’ curiosity about where ideas come from led him to do 25 years of research on the networks that connected thinkers and ideas through history and across continents. Collins, …

What Atheists and Monks Have in Common

The Secular World Is Just as “Imagined” as Any Religious Faith

It’s hard for me to think of a philosopher more important for my work than Charles Taylor. I’m a sociologist, and while most people don’t think of sociology as an …

Your Toddler May Soon Be Fat Again

We Have No Clue Why Childhood Obesity Rates Plummeted—Or Why They Rose in the First Place

Late last month, a New York Times headline announced: “Obesity Rate for Young Children Plummets 43% in a Decade.” The story, pegged to a study published by researchers at the …