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Social Scientist Charles Tilly Joins Columbia Faculty

Charles Tilly, pioneering historian, social scientist and authority on European political change, has joined the faculty of Columbia University. His appointment as the Joseph L. Buttenwieser Professor of Social Science was made by the Columbia Trustees and announced by President George Rupp.

Professor Tilly, 67, joined Columbia after 12 years at the New School for Social Research, where he was University Distinguished Professor and directed the Center for Studies of Social Change. He will teach in Columbia's Sociology and Political Science departments.

An internationally-recognized authority on long-term social processes, Professor Tilly has examined military, demographic, economic, urban and political change in Europe and North America from the Middle Ages to the present. He is the author or co-author of more than 20 books, including Citizenship, Identity and Social History, (1995) and Durable Inequality, forthcoming from the University of California Press.

David Cohen, Columbia's Vice President for Arts and Sciences, said: "We are indeed delighted to have attracted a scholar of Professor Tilly's remarkable accomplishment and distinction. Among the highest priorities of the Arts and Sciences is the enhancement of the social sciences. Professor Tilly is one of those uncommon individuals whose arrival will significantly strengthen not just a single department but most of our departments in this essential area."

Professor Tilly has focused his inquiry on large-scale social change and its relationship to popular collective action, especially in western Europe since 1500. His other books include An Urban World (1974); Strikes in France, 1830-1968 (1975); The Rebellious Century (1830-1930), with Louise Tilly and Richard Tilly (1975); As Sociology Meets History (1981); Big Structures, Large Processes, Huge Comparisons, (1984), selected by Choice as one of the outstanding academic books for 1984-85; The Contentious French (1987), winner of the C. Wright Mills Award of the Society for the Study of Social Problems; Coercion, Capital and European States A.D. 990-1990 (1990), European Revolutions, 1492-1992 (1993), winner of the Primio Europeo Amalfi; Cities and the Rise of States in Europe (1994) and Popular Contention in Great Britain (1995). They have been translated into French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, Japanese, and Turkish. With his son, Charles Tilly, who teaches economics and public policy at the University of Massachusetts, he is completing Capitalist Work and Labor Markets for Westview Press.

Professor Tilly serves on the editorial boards of two dozen journals in history, political science, and sociology, is a deputy editor of the American Sociological Review, and edits book series for Blackwell Publishers, Harvard University Press, and Westview Press.

On accepting the Columbia appointment, Professor Tilly said: "Columbia has a great tradition of integrative work in history and the social sciences. At a time of sweeping renewal in social analysis, Columbia can lead the way. I'll do what I can to forward the effort."

Charles Tilly was born May 20, 1929, in Lombard, Illinois and studied at Harvard University, earning the bachelor's degree magna cum laude in 1950 and the Ph.D. in sociology in 1958. He also studied at Balliol College, Oxford and the Catholic University of Angers, as well as serving in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. After teaching at the Universities of Delaware and Toronto and at Harvard, he joined the University of Michigan as professor of history and sociology in 1969, becoming Theodore M. Newcomb Professor of Social Science in 1981. He joined the New School as Distinguished Professor of Sociology and History in 1984 and was named University Distinguished Professor in 1990.

He has held visiting appointments in Europe and North America, including at the Sorbonne, the Institut d'Etudes Politiques (Paris), the Posgraduate Institute of Social Sciences (Amsterdam), Princeton University, the Institute for Advance Study (Princeton), the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (Stamford), and the Russell Sage Foundation. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow and a fellow of the German Marshall Fund.

He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is a chavalier de l'Ordre des Palmes Academiques. His honors include the Common Wealth Award in sociology (1982) and honorary doctorates in social science from Erasmus University (Rotterdam), the University of Toronto and the Institute d'Etudes Politiques at the University of Paris. This fall, he will receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Strasbourg.

The Buttenwieser Professorship was established in 1958 with a gift to the University from Benjamin J. Buttenweiser, a 1919 graduate of Columbia College and longtime University Trustee and clerk of the Trustees, in honor of his father, Joseph. Benjamin Buttenwieser, who died in 1992, was a banker, philanthropist and civil leader in New York.