Robert Scott

Robert A. Scott

A Brief Autobiography

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Bio of Robert A. Scott

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I was born in 1935 in Hometown, Pennsylvania, and began my education in the one-room schoolhouse down the street. I graduated from Tamaqua High School in 1953 and went on to Penn State University (class of 1957), then to Stanford University where I received a PhD in sociology in 1961. Following a two-year post-doctoral fellowship in medical sociology, I joined the staff of the Russell Sage Foundation in New York City as a Research Associate in 1963.

My School in Hometown, Pennsylvania
My one-room schoolhouse in Hometown, Pennsylvania

In the fall of 1967 I joined the Sociology Department at Princeton University, where I taught for 16 years before moving to Stanford in 1983 to become Associate Director of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, a position I held until 2001. Following my retirement from the Center I remained actively involved with it, advising Directors and helping to organize a fund-raising campaign among former Fellows. In 2009 I returned to the Center in a temporary capacity as Associate Director, pending the appointment of a new management team, and am now engaged in working on several projects on the Center's behalf with recent past Director, Stephen Kosslyn.           

I have written and coauthored books and articles on varied topics, including the sociology of blindness (The Making of Blind Men, 1969), social deviancy (Theoretical Perspectives on Deviancy, with Jack Douglas, 1972), and the applications of sociological knowledge to social policy (Why Sociology Does Not Apply, with Arnold Shore, 1979). More recently my interests have turned to an entirely new topic—cathedral building and religious culture in Medieval Europe. In addition to my books on the topic—The Gothic Enterprise (2003) and Miracle Cures: Saints, Pilgrimage and the Healing Powers of Belief (2010)—I have given many lectures on the topic of medieval cathedrals in both academic venues and at cathedrals and churches in the United States and England. I have taught courses on cathedrals in Stanford's Continuing Studies Program and for a number of years, with my wife Julia Fremon, led study tours of English cathedrals; together we coordinate an on-going seminar in Palo Alto on medieval history and culture. In 2005 I spent the Hilary Term as a Visiting Scholar at New College, Oxford.            

With past Center Director Stephen Kosslyn, I am now working as co-general editor of a major new online reference work, Emerging Trends in the Social and Behavioral Sciences: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, to be published in 2014.          

Bob & Julia in Paris
Julia and Me in Paris

Julia and I live in San Francisco where we enjoy the great beauty of the city as well as its varied cultural offerings. In addition, we travel throughout the United States and to England and elsewhere in Europe as often as we can. I have four adult children and four grandchildren.