sociologist Robert Bellah chosen by White House to receive National
Patricia McBroom, Media Relations
- Robert N. Bellah, the Elliott Professor of Sociology Emeritus
at the University of California, Berkeley, has been chosen
by President Clinton to receive the prestigious National Humanities
Medal, to be awarded in ceremonies in Washington, D.C., on
honored for his scholarship on American religious and civic
life, is one of twelve artists and scholars to receive this
year's award, administered by the National Endowment for the
Humanities. Other recipients include authors Barbara Kingsolver
and Toni Morrison and musician/composer Quincy Jones.
author on the influential 1985 book, "Habits of the Heart:
Individualism and Commitment in American Life," and its sequel,
"The Good Society"(1992), Bellah is frequently in demand as
a commentator on the social and spiritual health of the American
mind and American institutions. He is known particularly for
his analysis of the impact of Protestant-based individualism
on social integration.
was first published, "Habits of the Heart" has sold half a
million copies. The updated edition is considered even more
relevant today than when the book was written in the mid-1980s.
wrote then that a social movement was needed to, among other
things, "restore the dignity and legitimacy of democratic
politics. We have seen...how suspicious Americans are of politics
as an area in which arbitrary differences of opinion and interest
can be resolved only by power and manipulation."
said Bellah, "those statements are even more true at the present
moment than when we wrote them."
he retired three years ago from UC Berkeley where he was in
the College of Letters & Science, Bellah has continued writing
and lecturing. He has three or four books in progress; the
nearest to completion is a book on Japan, reflecting a return
to his earlier academic interests in Japanese religion.
by Bellah include "The Broken Covenant: American Civil Religion
in Time of Trial" (1975) and the co-edited book, "Uncivil
Religion: Interreligious Hostility in America" (1987).
the awards ceremony at Constitution Hall in Washington, the
medalists will be honored at a White House dinner.
House press release
of Letters & Science