The Department marked with sadness the passing of Daniel Bell, Professor Emeritus of this department, on January 25, 2011. He was 91 years old. Daniel Bell was one of the most distinguished American public intellectuals of the late 20th century, combining incisive analyses and critiques of capitalism and modern society. In his writings he foresaw many of the technological and social developments that have come to characterize postindustrial society. Bell famously liked to characterize himself as a “specialist in generalizations,” practicing a style of scholarship and social commentary that was often at odds with the increasing specialization of American sociology. Bell began his career in the early 1940s as a journalist after studying at the City College of New York and at Columbia. In the late 1940s he became an Instructor in the Social Sciences at the University of Chicago. He later returned to Columbia, where he was awarded the PhD for The End of Ideology. He came to Harvard in 1970 after having taught at Columbia for a decade. In 1980 he was appointed the Henry Ford II Professor of Social Sciences at Harvard. After retiring in 1990, he continued to live in Cambridge, where he died at home. A memorial service was held on April 15, 2011 at Harvard’s Memorial Church. The Department of Sociology plans to organize a Daniel Bell Memorial Lecture in his honor at a future date.
January 25, 2011