Jeffrey Alexander Awarded Honorary Doctorate at Masaryk University

Jeffrey Alexander

Congratulations to CCS Director Jeffrey Alexander, who has been awarded the honorary academic degree of doctor honoris causa at Masaryk University, Czech Republic.

See the news item, Honorary doctorates for American professors Kessler and Alexander, for more information on the event.

“He soon became not only a collaborator, but also a supporter and a kind of an ambassador for our Department of Sociology,” recalled Adéla Souralová, sociologist and vice-dean of the faculty. 

She praised Professor Alexander’s accommodating approach to the students who asked for his assessment of their seminar papers. “He would send them detailed comments from the United States within a day, often within hours of receiving the email. The interest and support from a world-renowned sociologist was an important, inspiring and motivating life experience for many students,” she explained, adding that Jeffrey C. Alexander’s contribution meant that top sociologists came to Brno and young MU scholars were involved in international projects, including cooperation with the Center for Cultural Sociology at Yale University, which the new MU honorary doctor co-directs.

The CCS has  been affiliated with the Brno Center for Cultural Sociology at Masaryk University for many years.

In his remarks at the event, Jeff Alexander commented:

“Let me now return briefly to the links between strong cultural sociology and Masaryk. If one can find in the sociology department of Masaryk University some of Europe’s leading cultural sociologists – and that is most certainly the case – I would place the origins of this unique collaboration to a visit that Radim Marada made to Yale’s Center for Cultural Sociology (CCS) in 2005… Soon after, I made the first of several visits to Masaryk’s burgeoning department that Radim then headed, offering lectures and seminars, and, in 2010, an “intensive course” in cultural sociology to graduate students and doctoral candidates. In 2012, Radim spent 8 months at Yale CCS, and Csaba Szalo, Radim’s successor as Chair, participated in the annual CCS “Spring Conference.” Under their joint leadership, Masaryk’s sociology department launched a joint graduate training program in cultural sociology with Trento University (Italy), Graz (Austria), and Zadar (Croatia).

During these years, some of my closest colleagues – like Bernhard Giesen, Ron Eyerman, Philip Smith, Giuseppe Sciortino, and Carlo Tognato – and some of my most notable students – like Jason Mast and Isaac Reed – visited Brno. These growing institutional links, along with special EU funding, led directly to Masaryk post-doctoral appointments for Nadya Jaworsky and Dominik Bartmanski, two recent Yale Ph.D.’s, and for Werner Binder, who had taken his degree with Bernd Giesen at Konstanz. Binder and Jaworsky soon became members of the faculty – which has just voted to make Nadya a Professor. This impressive cultural sociology cluster, further enriched by Pavel Pospech, who has also visited Yale CCS, soon began to train outstanding doctoral students of their own. Some of these, like Vanda Černohorská and Jan Vana, made long term visits to CCS as well.”