Living and teaching the human connection
Lawrence Bobo ’79
Professor, Harvard University
Lawrence Bobo, Ph.D., says he was born with “a sociological eye.” “I see people in their interconnectedness to one another, and how they mutually influence and create one another. I want to understand that sort of process better and understand how we can have a social existence that is filled with less conflict, less inequality, deeper understanding and more justice.”
Lawrence, who jokingly says he’s a “humble New England schoolteacher,” is in the right place for that. He’s the W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of the Social Sciences at his alma mater, Harvard University, where his work focuses on the African-American experience. A prolific and highly acclaimed writer, author, blogger and editor, he credits LMU not only for getting him excited about sociology, but for instilling a sense of social justice in him that still informs his work.
“It’s always been important to me to be a thoughtful, informed, socially concerned person. It’s just not enough to be a private, self-interested individual. That was an orientation very much reinforced at LMU.”
It’s clear that Lawrence is an academic through and through; his proudest moments were his election and induction into the National Academy of Science in 2004 and the American Philosophical Society in 2006. “I’ve always been one engaged with thinking through serious moral and ethical issues. To finally have membership in these organizations is kind of astonishing to me.”