Despite its far-reaching effects as a contributor to some of the most catastrophic events of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, the term “ethnicity” is fairly new; it was only introduced to the Oxford English Dictionary in 1972. That same year, the Academy convened a conference with the goal of assessing the widespread phenomenon of “ethnicity,” which was becoming an important and explanatory factor in the political arena throughout the world. The group addressed the question: Was there really something new occurring? The Academy study explored the nature of ethnic identity in general, theoretical terms, as well as the political and social realities in selected geographic areas of the world where ethnic conflict was then found. The resulting 1975 volume was a path breaker for a field — ethnic studies — that has since become a major area of study and a basis for conflict and policy formulation.

Resulting Publication

  • Ethnicity: Theory and Experience, eds. Nathan Glazer and Daniel P Moynihan. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1975. (out of print)


Principal Investigators