Professor James C. Scott to be awarded the Wilbur Cross Medal

James C. Scott
March 7, 2024

Professor James C. Scott is to be awarded the Wilbur Cross Medal during a celebratory visit to campus on October 7, 2024.

James Scott, Ph.D., Yale University, 1967, is the Sterling Professor of Political Science and Professor of Anthropology and is co-Director of the Agrarian Studies Program and a mediocre farmer. His research concerns political economy, comparative agrarian societies, theories of hegemony and resistance, peasant politics, revolution, Southeast Asia, theories of class relations and anarchism. His publications include Domination and the Arts of Resistance, Yale Press, 1985, Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance, Yale Press 1980, Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed, Yale Press, 1998; The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia, Yale Press, 2008; Two Cheers for Anarchism, Princeton Press, 2013; Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest Agrarian States, Yale Press, 2017.

The Wilbur Cross Medal, named in honor of former Graduate School Dean and Governor of Connecticut Wilbur Lucius Cross, was established in 1966 to honor alumni of Yale Graduate School for outstanding achievements like those of Dean Cross during his multifaceted career. It is the highest honor that the Graduate School bestows on its alumni. Recipients of the medal return to campus to receive the award and spend time with their departments. 

Medalists are nominated by their peers in recognition of their achievements as leaders in their respective fields, true innovators, and world-changing thinkers. They are among the best examples of what can be accomplished with a doctoral degree after leaving Yale.

Previous winners of this award in Political Science include…

  • 2016 Arend Lijphart, PhD ‘63
    • Lijphart, professor emeritus at the University of California-San Diego, has made extraordinary contributions to the study of comparative politics and democracies. In addition, he has been deeply engaged in moderating conflict in societies torn apart by religious and ethnic differences such as South Africa, Lebanon, Malaysia, Bosnia, Iraq, and Northern Ireland.
  • 2013 Theodore J. Lowi, PhD ‘61
    • Lowi’s book “The End of Liberalism” (1969) was an instant classic and has left a lasting mark on the field. Lowi’s classification of the public policy realm into “distributive,” “redistributive,” and “regulatory” sectors has been widely influential in practical politics and political theory. His recent research and writing involves the politics of globalization, a critical history of the American Democratic party, and a computer project that links information to methodology, creating a new approach to political theory.
  • 2010 Fred I. Greenstein, PhD ‘60
    • Greenstein was professor emeritus of politics at Princeton University. He has been a leader in establishing the field of political psychology. His books include “Leadership in the Modern Presidency” and the eight-volume “Handbook of Political Science”
  • 2008 Robert Axelrod, PhD ‘69
    • Robert Axelrod, the Walgreen Professor for the Study of Human Understanding at the University of Michigan, is best known for his seminal book, The Evolution of Cooperation, which has been translated into a dozen languages and cited in thousands of scholarly articles
  • 2005 Jennifer L. Hochschild, PhD ‘79
    • Hochschild, Henry LaBarre Jayne Professor of Government and Professor of African and African American Studies, Department of Government, Harvard University and authord of Do Facts Matter? Information and Misinformation in American Politics. co-authored with Katherine Levine Einstein
  • 2004 Hong Koo Lee, PhD ‘68
    • After graduating from Yale, Lee held professorships at Emory, Case Western Reserve University and, for 20 years, at Korea’s flagship institution of higher learning, Seoul National University. In 1988 he entered his country’s newly democratic government, serving in increasingly responsible and demanding positions: Minister of National Unification, Special Assistant to the President, Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Deputy Prime Minister and then Prime Minister.
  • 2003 Robert Putnam, PhD ‘70
    • Harvard University Professor Putnam earned his Ph.D. from Yale in political science in 1970. An academic innovator, distinguished scholar and dedicated teacher, his recent book, “Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community,” has resonated from scholarly halls to the popular media and given new life to the idea of “social capital.”
  • 2002 David E. Price, B.D. ‘64, PhD ‘69
    • Price was a leader among Yale alumni in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he was a member of the Appropriations and Budget committees. Before launching his political career, he taught at Yale (1969-1973) and has been on the faculty of Duke University since 1973. He is author of “The Congressional Experience: A View from the Hill” and “Who Makes the Laws? Creativity and Power in Senate Committees
  • 1995 Catharine Alice MacKinnon, PhD ‘87
    • As an expert on international law, constitutional law, political and legal theory, and jurisprudence, MacKinnon focused on women’s rights and sexual abuse and exploitation, including sexual harassment, rape, prostitution, sex trafficking and pornography. She was among the first to argue that pornography is a civil rights violation, and that sexual harassment in education and employment constitutes sex discrimination.
  • 1987 Nannerl Overholser Keohane, PhD ‘67
    • Keohane received her doctorate in political science from Yale University in 1967 with a sterling scholarship. She then taught as an assistant professor at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania until 1973, where she was a guest lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania in 1970 and 1972. Until 1981, she taught as a professor at Stanford University in California, where she was chair of the faculty’s Senate and received the Gores Award for outstanding achievements in teaching
  • 1986 Robert Alan Dahl, PhD ‘40
    • A leading theorist of political pluralism, Dahl stressed the role in politics played by associations, groups, and organizations.  Dahl obtained a Ph.D. from Yale University in 1940. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II and was awarded the Bronze Star (with cluster) for distinguished service. After the war, Dahl returned to Yale, where he taught until 1986. He subsequently became Sterling Professor Emeritus of Political Science and Senior Research Scientist Sociology.  In “The Concept of Power” (1957), his first major contribution to the field of political science, Dahl developed a formal definition of power that was frequently cited as an important (though incomplete) insight into the phenomenon. In his best-known work, Who Governs?: Democracy and Power in an American City (1961), a study of power dynamics in New Haven, Connecticut, Dahl argued that political power in the United States is pluralistic.  Dahl introduced the term polyarchy to characterize American politics and other political systems that are open, inclusive, and competitive.
  • 1985 Nelson Woolf Polsby, PhD ‘61
    • Nelson W. Polsby wrote about American political institutions with exceptional insight and he wrote several analyses of Congress, about the influences of demographics and about other social dynamics on the political process. His textbook Presidential Elections is currently in its 16th edition and is still widely read.
  • 1977 Joseph Austin Ranney, PhD ‘48
    • Joseph Austin Ranney, American Political science educator. Recipient Wilbur Lucius Cross medal Yale University Graduate School, 1977; senior research fellow National Science Foundation, 1970, John Simon Guggenheim fellow, 1974, fellow Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences, 1978. Listed as a noteworthy Political science educator by Marquis Who’s Who.
  • 1968 James Gardner March, PhD ‘53
    • James Gardner March, American social sciences educator. Fellow Center Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences, 1955-1956, 73-74; recipient Wilbur Lucius Cross medal Yale University, 1968, Viipuri prize, Finland, 2004, Herbert Simon award, Hungary, 2005; decorated knight 1st class Royal Norwegian Order of Merit, Commander Order of Lion of Finland. He is best known for his research on organizations, his (jointly with Richard Cyert) seminal work on A Behavioral Theory of the Firm, and the organizational decision making model known as the Garbage Can Model.