Didier Fassin Elected to American Philosophical Society

Didier Fassin, James D. Wolfensohn Professor in the School of Social Science, has been elected to the American Philosophical Society (APS), which recognizes extraordinary accomplishments across a variety of fields. 

Fassin joins a class of scholars that includes the mathematical, physical, and biological sciences, the humanities and the arts, and leaders in public and private affairs. He enters as a leading figure in the field of social sciences, in addition to Member Pierre-Étienne Will (1987–88). Additionally, David Spergel, Member and Visitor (1985–88, 2014), joins for his contributions to the physical sciences. 

Publishing prolifically in the domains of anthropology and sociology, Fassin has devoted his recent research to political and moral themes, conducting ethnographic work on policing, justice, prison, and punishment. A student of the public presence of the social sciences, he addresses multiple professional and lay audiences, and occasionally writes on society and politics for Le Monde, The New York Times, and The London Review of Books.

His most recent books include The Will to Punish (2018), Life: A Critical User's Manual (2018), and Death of a Traveller: A Counter Investigation (2021). With Institute scholars, he has coordinated publications such as Deepening Divides: How Territorial Borders and Social Boundaries Delineate Our World (2019), Pandemic Exposures: Economy and Society in the Time of Coronavirus (2021), and Crisis Under Critique: How People Assess, Transform, and Respond to Critical Situations (2022)

The American Philosophical Society, founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin, is one of the oldest learned societies in the United States. With the goal of “promoting useful knowledge,” the APS honors scholars and scientists, offering intellectual fellowships and elected memberships, and engages their work with semi-annual meetings, publications, lectures, exhibitions, and access to their internationally-recognized research library. Since 1900, 269 APS members have received the Nobel Prize.