Wheaton alumnus Derron O. Wallace ’07 will deliver the keynote lecture at the 34th Sociology and Anthropology Senior Symposium on February 4.
The event highlights the thesis work of senior sociology and anthropology majors, giving them an opportunity to share their original research and gain experience presenting and responding to questions in a professional setting.
“Since 1982, the symposium has grown in size and audience, with hundreds regularly in attendance over the course of the day,” said Professor of Sociology Kersti Yllo, who organized the first symposium shortly after arriving at Wheaton. “Students’ friends, teammates, sociology and anthropology majors, other professors, staff and sometimes family members attend.”
Each year, the symposium features a sociologist or anthropologist who has focused on an interesting area of research and offers an inspiring message to graduating seniors.
“Derron was chosen this year because he is an absolute model of the kind of development we hope to foster,” Yllo said. “Originally from Jamaica, he was a Posse member, president of the Student Government Association and a passionate student, researchER and community activist.”
A Phi Beta Kappa graduate, Wallace double majored in sociology and African, African American, diaspora studies and received a Watson Fellowship, Fulbright Scholarship and Marshall Scholarship while at Wheaton. He holds a master’s in philosophy and a Ph.D. in Sociology of Education from the University of Cambridge. He is currently an assistant professor of education and sociology at Brandeis University.
Wallace’s keynote lecture, titled “In Pursuit of Justice: Public Sociology and the Imperatives of the 21st Century,” will touch on his research on the inequalities and identities of race, class and gender in urban schools and neighborhoods. The lecture will begin at 7:15 p.m. in the Holman Room at Mary Lyon Hall, following a reception and dinner.
The symposium will consist of five sessions, beginning at 9:30 a.m. and all held in the Woolley Room at Mary Lyon: Socialization and Socializing in the 21st Century; Political Activism and Governmental Intervention; Culture, Globalization and Authenticity; Displacement and Resettlement; and Negotiating Language, Identity and Gender.
This year’s event is especially meaningful to the Sociology Department, as professors Yllo and John Grady are both retiring this spring after a combined 72 years of teaching at Wheaton.