Richard Sennett. Photo: Thomas Struth.

Eugene J. Mackey Jr. Lecture: Richard Sennett

November 1, 2018
6p Reception, 6:30p Lecture
Steinberg Auditorium

Urban sociologist and acclaimed author Richard Sennett will deliver the Eugene J. Mackey Jr. Lecture as part of the Public Lecture Series.

Sennett grew up in the Cabrini Green housing project in Chicago. At an early age he became engaged with music, particularly the cello, attending the Julliard School in New York, where he worked with Claus Adam, cellist of the Julliard Quartet. A hand injury put an end to his musical career. He briefly attended the University of Chicago, then entered Harvard, studying sociology with David Riesman and philosophy with John Rawls. Hannah Arendt was an informal, personal, and lasting influence.

Over the course of the last five decades, he has written about social life in cities, changes in labour, and social theory. His books include Families Against the City, The Hidden Injuries of Class, The Fall of Public Man, Authority, The Corrosion of Character, Respect in a World of Inequality, The Culture of the New Capitalism, Together, The Craftsman, and, most recently, Building and Dwelling: Ethics for the City.

Sennett has had a public career, first as founder of the New York Institute for the Humanities, then as President of the American Council on Work. For the last three decades he has served as a consultant to various bodies within the United Nations; most recently, he wrote the mission statement for Habitat III, the United Nation's environmental congress. Sennett also created Theatrum Mundi, a research foundation for urban culture, and currently chairs its board of trustees.

Among other awards, Sennett has received the Hegel Prize, the Spinoza Prize, an honorary doctorate from the University of Cambridge, and the Centennial Medal from Harvard University. In 2018, Britain awarded him an OBE, an honour given to an individual for playing a major role in a business, charity, or the public sector.

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