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NYU's Richard Sennett Wins International Henkel Prize for Scholarship in Historical Humanities

July 7, 2008

New York University Professor Richard Sennett has been named the winner of the 2008 Gerda Henkel Prize, which recognizes outstanding scholarly achievement in the historical humanities. The prize includes a cash award of 100,000 euros ($160,000) and is given every two years by the Gerda Henkel Foundation in Düsseldorf, Germany.

“Richard Sennett is one of today’s leading thinkers,” the selection jury said in announcing the award. “In his widely read books, he effortlessly transcends the boundaries of the humanities, in particular the disciplines of sociology and history, psychology and philosophy. While his immense knowledge and his theoretical consciousness show he is a true academic, his life experience, his spirit and his style prove him to be an artist.”

The prize will be awarded to Sennett at a ceremony on November 10 in Düsseldorf. For more on the Gerda Henkel Prize, go to

A renowned social critic, Sennett is the author of: The Culture of the New Capitalism (2006); Respect in a World of Inequality (2003); The Corrosion of Character: The Personal Consequences of Work in the New Capitalism (1998); Flesh and Stone: The Body and the City in Western Civilization (1994); The Conscience of the Eye: The Design and Social Life of Cities (1990); Authority (1980); and The Fall of Public Man (1977).

His most recent book, The Craftsman, which explores artisans across different historical periods, was published earlier this year. “Sennett’s aim is to make us rethink the notion that society benefits most of a workforce trained to respond to the metamorphosis of a global economy,” the New Yorker observed in its account of the book this spring.

Sennett, also a professor of sociology at the London School of Economics, holds the rank of University Professor at NYU. The title is conferred upon outstanding scholars in recognition of the interdisciplinary dimension of their work.

Sennett is the founding director of the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU, which was established in 1976, and is a member of numerous international associations and scientific academies, including the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Society of Literature, and the Royal Society of the Arts. In 1998, he was awarded the European Amalfi Prize for Sociology and Social Sciences, followed by the “Das politische Buch” (The Political Book) prize endowed by the Bonn-based Friedrich Ebert Foundation in 1999. In 2006, he was the winner of the Hegel Prize awarded by the city of Stuttgart.

New York University, located in the heart of Greenwich Village, was established in 1831 and is one of America’s leading research universities and a member of the selective Association of American Universities. It is one of the largest private universities, it is a leader in attracting international students and scholars in the U.S, and it sends more students to study abroad than any other U.S. college or university. Through its 14 schools and colleges, NYU conducts research and provides education in the arts and sciences, law, medicine, business, dentistry, education, nursing, the cinematic and performing arts, music, public administration, social work, and continuing and professional studies, among other areas.

The Gerda Henkel Foundation was founded by Lisa Maskell in June 1976 in memory of her mother Gerda Henkel as a private, non-profit organisation in Düsseldorf. Its sole purpose is to promote the sciences, focusing in particular on historical humanities. The foundation is active both in Germany and internationally. In its 32 years of existence, around 70 million euros have been awarded to some 4,500 research projects. Last year, the Foundation provided funding worth more than 6.7 million euros to 346 different projects.

This Press Release is in the following Topics:
Graduate School of Arts and Science

Type: Press Release

Professor Richard Sennett  Photo Credit:  LSE Press Office

Professor Richard Sennett Photo Credit: LSE Press Office

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