American Philosophical Society
Member History

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301. Anthropology, Demography, Psychology, and Sociology[X]
1Name:  Dr. Alex Inkeles
 Institution:  Stanford University & Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace
 Year Elected:  1972
 Class:  3. Social Sciences
 Subdivision:  301. Anthropology, Demography, Psychology, and Sociology
 Residency:  Resident
 Living? :   Deceased
 Birth Date:  1920
 Death Date:  July 9, 2010
Alex Inkeles was born into modest circumstances, his parents having emigrated from Poland just before the start of World War I. Early identified as a promising student, and aided by various scholarships, he left home in Brooklyn, New York to study at Cornell University, where great teachers -- including Carl Becker, a leading historian of the French Revolution, and the sociologist Leonard Cottrell, Jr. -- set him on the path of scholarship, and served as models of what could be achieved in that realm. Shortly after beginning graduate studies at Cornell, Dr. Inkeles was called up for military service in 1942. During most of WW II, while in uniform, he served in the Office of Strategic Services, becoming an expert on the social structure of the Soviet Union, thus laying the foundation for one of his later academic specialties. After the war he continued his graduate training at Columbia University, supported by the "GI bill". There he studied with Robert Merton, Paul Lazarsfeld, Robert Lynd, and Robert MacIver. On completing his Ph.D. thesis he was called to Harvard University in 1948, and served in various ranks and capacities including Professor of Sociology and Senior Fellow in both the Russian Research Center and the Center for International Affairs. Seeking a new life he moved with his family to Stanford University in 1971, where he was Professor of Sociology and Education, as well as Senior Fellow in the Hoover Institution, until 1995, when he became Professor of Sociology Emeritus. Lists of his books and honors are available in various Who's Who type publications and other biographical sources. While such scholarly recognition and professional honors are of course very gratifying, what they do not capture for Dr. Inkeles is the sense of how rewarding it has been to train and advance the professional development of so many exceptional students. Alex Inkeles died on July 9, 2010, at the age of 90, in Palo Alto, California.
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