The Harvard Sociology community mourns the loss of Devah Pager, who died on Friday, November 2, 2018 after a long illness. Devah was the Peter & Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Sociology at Harvard University, where she also directed the Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality and Social Policy.
Devah’s creative, rigorous, and insightful work on discrimination in low-wage labor markets had a truly global impact, including in the 2004 US Presidential campaign, when the New York Times, among other outlets, featured work from her dissertation, including her famous article in the American Journal of Sociology, “The Mark of a Criminal Record.” Her work’s large-scale impact continues today, in efforts to “ban the box” in many states. Devah inspired us with her sunshine warmth, her deep humanity, her intellectual rigor, her community building, her engaged scholarship, and of course her brilliant smile. We all miss her terribly and count ourselves fortunate indeed to have worked with her and learned from her.
See "Devah Pager: Light in the Heart of Darkness" (Esendom, November 5, 2018); the article "Mourning Devah Pager" in the Harvard Gazette (November 8, 2018); an obituary published on November 8, 2018 in The New York Times and in the Boston Globe of November 12, 2018; also the article in the Harvard Crimson of November 12, 2018.
The Department of Sociology at Harvard has a rich and varied history. Whether it be the social systems approach of Talcott Parsons or the social exchange tradition pioneered by George Homans, the department has always been home to sociologists who are deeply committed to the development of sociological theory in the service of addressing fundamental sociological questions about the empirical world. The Harvard department of the 21st century is characterized by unsurpassed methodological breadth and depth, with faculty and students engaged in methods ranging from ethnography, in-depth interviews, and archival work to advanced statistical modeling. Deep engagement with central social issues in the American landscape such as urban inequality and mass incarceration is coupled with expertise in political, economic, and social and cultural issues in other parts of the world such as Latin America, Asia, and Europe. We invite you to explore sociology at Harvard.