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Listen or download interview (mp3, 30 minutes, 25MB)
Sociologist Yu Xie learned early that society can profoundly shape a person’s life. Growing up during China’s Cultural Revolution, he experienced his father’s political imprisonment and his family’s subsequent exile to a rural village. Their struggles left him with a deep-seated skepticism that would later fuel his scientific research.
After abandoning his engineering studies and finding his way to the University of Wisconsin, Xie turned his skepticism and curiosity to the study of people and the social structures that affect them. He developed new methods for analyzing social data and challenged accepted ideas about gender, race, class and innate ability. Xie is the Otis Dudley Duncan Distinguished University Professor of Sociology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2009.
Last Updated: 06-27-2012
The audio files linked above are part of the National Academy of Sciences InterViews series. Opinions and statements included in these audio files are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Academy of Sciences.