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Donald Black

University Professor Emeritus of Social Sciences

After completing his doctorate at the University of Michigan in 1968, Professor Black pursued postdoctoral studies as a Russell Sage Fellow in Law and Social Science at Yale Law School, and continued at Yale University with appointments in both the Law School and the Department of Sociology. In 1979 he moved to Harvard University, where he again held appointments in both the Law School and the Department of Sociology. He came to the University of Virginia in 1985, where he has occasionally taught in the Law School as well. His University Professorship entitles him to teach in any school or department of the University.

A theoretical sociologist with numerous publications in the sociology of law, morality, and conflict, Professor Black's work has increasingly expanded to include such projects as a theory of the differential success of ideas, a theory of scienticity, a theory of scientific theory, and a theory of the behavior of supernatural beings such as God. His book, The Social Structure of Right and Wrong, was awarded both the 1994 Theory Prize and a Distinguished Book Award of the American Sociological Association. He also authored The Behavior of Law (translated into several languages), The Manners and Customs of the Police, and Sociological Justice. A recent article, "The Epistemology of Pure Sociology," (published in 1995 in Law & Social Inquiry) won a Distinguished Scholarship Award from the American Sociological Association. His most recent book, Moral Time, was awarded the 2012 Inaugural Outstanding Book Award of the ASA Section on Altruism, Morality, and Social Solidarity. In 2013 he received the Harry J. Kalven, Jr. Award (known as the Kalven Prize) for Outstanding Scholarship from the Law and Society Association.

He often serves on the editorial board of scholarly journals, and edits a series of books called "Studies on Law and Social Control" for Oxford University Press. He has been invited to lecture in numerous countries abroad, including Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Holland, France, Scotland, England, Poland, and Japan.

Professor Black is the founder of pure sociology, a sociological paradigm that includes no psychology or even people as such, and will soon publish a book on the subject entitled The Death of the Person. A symposium on Professor Black's work can be found in the November 2002 issue of Contemporary Sociology. For additional information, see "The Geometry of Law: An Interview with Donald Black" published in the June 2002 issue of the International Journal of the Sociology of Law or "How Law Behaves: An Interview with Donald Black," published in first 2010 issue of the International Journal of Law, Crime and Justice.

Selected Publications



Donald Black 2015. "The beginning of social time:  an interview with myselfInternational Journal of Law, Crime and Justice 43 (2015):  382-395.