John J. Macionis was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He began his college education by studying engineering at Cornell University before switching direction and earning a bachelor’s degree with a major in sociology. Continuing study at the University of Pennsylvania, John received a doctorate in sociology. More recently, Kenyon College recognized more than three decades of classroom and campus service by awarding him an honorary doctorate in humane letters.
John’s publications are wide-ranging, focusing on community life in the United States, interpersonal intimacy in families, humor, effective teaching, and the importance of global education. A major focus of his writing has been authoring textbooks and electronic learning materials for the classroom, which are published by Pearson Education. He is the author of SOCIOLOGY and SOCIETY: THE BASICS, the most popular introductory sociology texts in the United States. Macionis’s SOCIAL PROBLEMS is the most popular text for that course. The anthology SEEING OURSELVES (with N. Benokraitis) and urban studies text CITIES AND URBAN LIFE (with V. Parrillo) are also published by Pearson. John collaborates on international editions and translations of these texts that are used in Canada, Europe, Latin America, Asia, and elsewhere in the world. John’s titles have been translated into more than a dozen other languages. John also enjoys writing poetry and is completing a memoir entitled Dancing at Dusk about the pursuit of joy.
John Macionis has taught at a number of community colleges and four-year colleges and universities. He retired from as Professor of Sociology and Prentice Hall Distinguished Scholar at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. Beyond teaching and leadership on his home campus, John has been active in research and teaching around the world. He has led student study programs in Europe, directed the global education program on a floating university, and conducted personal study of the Q’ero, the native people who live in the high Andes mountains of Peru.
John has described himself in these words: “I am an ambitious traveler, eager to learn and to share what I discover with others, especially those who know little of the rest of the world. For me, traveling and writing are all dimensions of teaching and moving along the path to change.”
In 2002, the American Sociological Association recognized the significant impact that John Macionis has had on the teaching of sociology at the national and international levels by naming him the recipient of their award for Distinguished Contributions to Teaching.
Now retired from regular teaching, John continues to develop new learning materials, with the goal of realizing the potential of e-content for interactive discovery learning. He is a passionate and thoughtful activist, who had provided support and leadership to a number of non-profit organizations involved in musical education, increasing opportunity for people who face disadvantages, expanding our nation’s understanding of history, and conserving and restoring the natural environment.