Castells named USC's 22nd University Professor

Posted January 29, 2009

USC President Steven B. Sample appointed communication professor and holder of the Wallis Annenberg Chair in Communication Manuel Castells (pictured) USC's 22nd University Professor on Jan. 29.

"All of us in the USC Annenberg community are so pleased that the University has honored the remarkable achievements of our friend and colleague Manuel Castells," Dean Ernest J. Wilson III said. "His successes reflect well on the collaborative environment we nourish at the School, to which he contributes greatly. We are proud of Manuel's latest honor, so well deserved by a scholar with a truly global reputation."

University Professorships are awarded based on multi-disciplinary interests and significant accomplishments in several disciplines. Among Castells' extensive list of achievements: he is the author of 22 academic books and editor or co-author of 21 additional books, and author of more than 100 articles in academic journals; he has received honorary doctorates from 18 universities, national prizes or knighthoods from six countries and prizes in global politics, journalism, social problems, architecture theory and urbanism; he earned a lifetime achievement award from the American Sociological Association for his research on the sociology of computers and information technology; there have been 11 books written by others about his work.

"Professor Castells is by far the most cited communication scholar in the world, and among the top five most cited scholars worldwide in all the social sciences," USC Executive Vice President and Provost C.L. Max Nikias said. "His outstanding accomplishments do honor to the University. He is regarded as the leading scholar of the cultural, social and economic changes connected with the Internet and the Web, and one of the intellectual founders of the 'new urban sociology.'"

Castells joins Geoffrey Cowan, director of USC Annenberg's Center on Communication Leadership and Policy and former USC Annenberg Dean, as the School's second University Professor.

“Manuel is widely regarded as one of the leading - many would say the leading - scholar of the network society and the ways in which new communication technologies are changing every aspect of our world," Cowan said. "According to the Social Sciences Citation Index's survey of research from 2000 to 2006, Castells was ranked as the fifth most cited social sciences scholar and the foremost cited communications scholar in the world. By coming to the Annenberg School, while being courted by every major university, he increased our already outstanding reputation exponentially. As a University Professor, he will bring even greater prestige and visibility to USC and to the Annenberg School.”

Castells' latest work is Communication Power, a 600-page book scheduled for publication in June 2009 by Oxford University Press. Communication Power is the book Castells had in mind when he arrived at USC Annenberg in 2003. It is an empirically grounded analysis of the relationship between media, the Internet, and the socio-political process, which includes data and case studies from around the world, including an in-depth analysis of the 2008 U.S. presidential primary campaign. This is his first major book after his trilogy on the Information Age, and the first entirely researched while at USC Annenberg.

School of Communication Director Larry Gross said it is no news to the USC Annenberg School that Castells is an international intellectual treasure.

"But it's gratifying to see this fact recognized by the University in such an appropriate fashion," Gross said. "Our students are probably the main beneficiaries of his presence among us, as they, unlike those everywhere who can read Manuel's writings, are able to learn from and work with him directly. So, too, his colleagues enjoy the opportunity to exchange ideas and take advantage of his wide ranging interests and original insights. Speaking personally, I was delighted that we were able to pursue our mutual interest in realizing the potential of online scholarly publication by launching the outstandingly successful International Journal of Communication."

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