University of Pittsburgh
March 30, 2006

Harvard Sociologist Orlando Patterson to Lecture at Pitt's Center on Race and Social Problems April 5

Noted sociologist and author studies race, immigration, and multiculturalism in contemporary America

Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH—Orlando Patterson, whose op-ed "A Poverty of the Mind" has created a buzz among social scientists since it appeared in the March 26 New York Times, will lecture from noon to 1:30 p.m. April 5 in the School of Social Work Conference Center, 2017 Cathedral of Learning, 4200 Fifth Ave., Oakland.

Patterson's lecture, titled "Father Absence Among African Americans," is part of the Center on Race and Social Problems (CRSP) Reed Smith Spring 2006 Speaker Series. It is free to the public; lunch is provided, and registration is not required.

In the op-ed, Patterson offers cultural explanations for the problems facing young Black men today, and avoids blaming "structural factors like low incomes, joblessness, poor schools, and bad housing."

Patterson is the John Cowles Professor of Sociology at Harvard University. He earned his Ph.D. degree at the London School of Economics and taught there and at the University of the West Indies prior to obtaining a position at Harvard. He has also served as Special Advisor for Social Policy and Development to former Prime Minister of Jamaica Michael Manley.

His academic interests include a comparative study of slavery and a study of the socio-economic underdevelopment of Jamaica and the Caribbean Basin. His recent research involves contemporary America, in the intersection of race, immigration, and multiculturalism.

Patterson's book Freedom: Freedom in the Making of Western Culture (Basic Books, 1991) won the National Book Award for nonfiction in 1991. He has written three novels, The Children of Sisyphus (Houghton Mifflin, 1965), An Absence of Ruins (Hutchinson, 1967), and Die the Long Day (William Morrow & Company, 1972), as well as numerous short stories, reviews, and critical essays. For more information about the lecture, call 412-624-7382 or visit