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Annual Lecture

Each year, the CCSS annual lecture brings eminent thinkers to Cornell to address the campus and Ithaca community on pressing social issues.

  • Annual Lecture Hero Image

CCSS Distinguished Lecture in the Social Sciences

This popular event, which is open to the Ithaca community and the campus audience, generally draws an overflow audience and is followed by a reception.

We are in the process of scheduling our 2023 lecture. Stay tuned in the coming months for more information. 

Past Lectures

Improving Equality of Opportunity in America: New Insights from Big Data

Raj Chetty, Economics, Harvard University

Co-sponsored by the Cornell Department of Economics

Chronicle Coverage

Children’s chances of earning more than their parents have fallen from 90% to 50% over the past half-century in America. How can we restore the American Dream of upward mobility for our children? In this talk, Raj Chetty discusses recent work that he and his colleagues at Opportunity Insights have done to study this question. Among other topics, the talk shows how children’s chances of climbing the income ladder vary across neighborhoods, analyzes the sources of racial disparities in intergenerational mobility, and discusses the role of higher education in creating greater income mobility. The talk concludes by discussing how local policymakers can harness big data to increase opportunity in their own communities and institutions.

For more on Raj Chetty, visit his website here

    Monday, April 18, 2022

Our Racial Moment of Truth

Isabel Wilkerson

Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Warmth of Other Suns and Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents

Co-sponsors: Cornell Migrations: A Global Grand Challenge and Office of Faculty Development and Diversity

Chronicle Coverage

With the high-profile killings of unarmed African-Americans at the hands of police and civilians, protests are mounting and debates intensifying. These events have left many people asking just how far we have really come since the days of Jim Crow—and the need for dialogue has never been more acute. In this timely lecture, Isabel Wilkerson addresses the persistence of racial injustice as a national challenge and what history can teach us as we work to resolve it.

For more on Isabel Wilkerson, view her website here

    Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Democracy, Today: Fake News, Social Networks and Algorithms

David Lazer, Northeastern University

Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Computer and Information Science

Check out the video recording here.

Co-sponsors: CommunicationComputer ScienceInformation Science

    Thursday, October 24, 2019

Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People

Mahzarin Banaji, Harvard University

Richard Clark Cabot Professor of Social Ethics and Chair in the Department of Psychology

Co-sponsors: Office of Faculty Development and Diversity,  Department of PsychologyCenter of Bright Beams

    Monday, February 11, 2019

Racism and the New Racial Science

Dorothy Roberts, University of Pennsylvania

George A. Weiss University Professor of Law and Sociology and the Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights

Co-sponsors: Cornell Law School,  African Studies and Research Center

    Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City

Matthew Desmond, Princeton University

Maurice P. During Professor of Sociology

Co-sponsor: Center for the Study of Inequality

    Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Join Us

The CCSS is committed to providing universal access to all of our events and facilities. For disability accommodations (e.g, sign language interpreters, alternative formats) please contact Katie Anderson at or 607-255-3408 as soon as possible. 

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