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Mary Pattillo elected to American Academy of Political and Social Science

Northwestern faculty member Mary Pattillo will be inducted as a fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (AAPSS), in recognition of contributions that advance science and deepen public understanding of human behavior and social dynamics.

Pattillo, the Harold Washington Professor of Sociology and chair of the department of African American Studies at Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, is the AAPSS’s 2021 James S. Coleman Fellow, the Philadelphia-based academy announced today. 

Mary Pattillo

In addition to Pattillo, the new cohort of fellows includes four other distinguished scholars — Carol Anderson (Emory University), Jacob Hacker (Yale University), Rucker Johnson (University of California, Berkeley) and Kathryn Sikkink (Harvard University). They will officially join the academy at an event planned for the fall.

With the addition of the 2021 inductees, there will be 145 fellows of the academy who are university scholars whose research has changed our understanding of human behavior and the world in which we live; others are public servants who have used research and evidence in institutions of government to improve the common good. 

An urban sociologist, Pattillo’s work examines the interrelationships of race, class, ethnicity, urban space and gentrification, housing, education, the criminal justice system, politics and urban policy. Her research on the Black middle class explores new terrain in the study of race and cities. She is also a faculty associate with the University’s Institute for Policy Research.

"At a moment in history when the nation has trapped its democracy, economy and society in what feels like endless self-inflicted wounds, it falls on the social sciences to explain how the traps were set and where to find exit ramps,” said Kenneth Prewitt, Carnegie Professor of Public Affairs at Columbia University and president of the AAPSS. “Each of our 2021 fellows excel at exactly this. For that, the academy thanks them and salutes them.”

For a complete list of AAPSS Fellows, visit