Wendell Bell

Wendell Bell's picture
Professor Emeritus of Sociology
Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, 1952


Wendell Bell is Professor Emeritus of Sociology and a Fellow of the Koerner Center, Yale University. He joined the Yale faculty in 1963, served as Chair of the Department of Sociology, helped to found the Yale Program (now Department) of African American Studies, directed the Yale Comparative Sociology Training Program, which required students to do research abroad, and was a Senior Research Scientist in the Yale Center for Comparative Research (2000-05). Before that, he was on the faculties of Stanford University where he directed the Stanford Survey Research Facility (1952-54), Northwestern University (1954-57), and UCLA, where he headed the West Indies Study Program (1957-63). He was a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, CA (1963-64). During World War II, he was a naval aviator and did a tour of duty in the Philippines. His fields of interest are futures studies and social change, human values and global ethics, altruism, social stratification, ethnicity and nationalism (Caribbean, Western Europe, and comparatively worldwide). His early research was on the social areas of American cities, focusing on social class, race, and family life. Later, he studied elites, nationalism, and social change in the new states of the Caribbean and served as President of the Caribbean Studies Association in 1979-80. He has been a futurist for four decades and was a gubernatorial appointee to the Commission on Connecticut’s Future. He continues to work as a futurist-sociologist consultant, for example in 1999 participating in the work of the U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century. He is the author or co-author of ten books and more than 200 articles, chapters, and book reviews. In 2005 the World Futures Studies Federation awarded him a Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his many contributions to the field of futures studies and in 2008 the Association of Professional Futurists selected his two-volume Foundations of Futures Studies (1997) as being among the ten most important futures books of all time. In 2014, the Futures Research Committee of the International Sociological Association honored him by awarding him an Inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award for the most distinguished contributions to forward-oriented sociology.

Selected Publications

Books and Monographs

  • Creating a Future of Non-Violence, Universal Human Dignity, and Mutual Respect, collection of essays, in process.
  • Memories of the Future, New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2012. (http://news.yale.edu/2012/03/14/book-memories-future.)
  • Foundations of Futures Studies: Human Science for a New Era. New Brunswick, NJ:Transaction Publishers, 1997.
    • Volume 1, “History, Purposes, and Knowledge.” [Paperback English, revised edition published, fall, 2003.][Chinese translation, 2004, translator: Kuo Hua Chen, published in Taiwan.]
    • Volume 2, “Values, Objectivity, and the Good Society.” [Paperback English, revised edition published, 2004.] [Chinese translation, 2008, translator: Kuo Hua Chen, published in Taiwan.]
  • Guest editor, The Future World as a Moral Community, a special issue of the Futures Research Quarterly 12 (1) (Spring 1996).
  • Ethnicity and Nation-Building: Comparative, International and Historical Perspectives.  Beverly Hills, CA: Sage, 1974 (co-editor with Walter E. Freeman and contributor).
  • The Sociology of the Future: Theory, Cases, and Annotated Bibliography. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1971 (co-editor with James A. Mau and contributor). Selected as an alternate by the Library of Human Behavior.
  • The Democratic Revolution in the West Indies: Studies in Nationalism, Leadership, and the Belief in Progress.  Cambridge, MA: Schenkman, 1967 (editor and contributor). An excerpt reprinted in William S. Taylor and Phoebe L.S. Taylor (eds.), The Human Course: Collected Thoughts for Living. New York: Halsted Press, Wiley, 1974.
  • Decisions of Nationhood: Political and Social Development in the British Caribbean. Denver, CO: Social Science Foundation, University of Denver, 1964 (with Ivar Oxaal).
  • Jamaican Leaders: Political Attitudes in a New Nation.  Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press, 1964.
  • Public Leadership.  San Francisco, CA: Chandler, 1961 (with R. J. Hill and C. R. Wright). An excerpt reprinted in Kimball Young and Raymond W. Mack (eds.), Systematic Sociology: Text and Readings.  New York: American Book Co., Second Edition, 1962, pp. 353-355.
  • Social Area Analysis. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1955 (with Eshref Shevky).
    • A digest reprinted in George A. Theodorson (ed.), Studies in Human Ecology. Evanston, Ill.: Row, Peterson, and Co., 1961, pp. 226-235.
    • A digest reprinted in Sandor Halebsky (ed.), The Sociology of the City.  New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1973, pp. 145-153.
    • A digest translated and reprinted as “Sozialraumanalyse.”  Pp. 125-139 in Peter Atteslander and Bernd Hamm (eds.), Materialien zur SiedlungssoziologieKoln, West Germany: Kiepenheuer and Witsch, 1974 (in German).
  • People of the City.  Stanford, CA: Stanford University, mimeographed, 1954 (with the collaboration of Marion D. Boat and Maryanne T. Force).