Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, a MacArthur prize-winning sociologist, is the Emily Hargroves Fisher Professor of Education at Harvard University, where she has been on the faculty since 1972.
Educator, researcher, author, and public intellectual, Lawrence-Lightfoot has written ten books: Worlds Apart: Relationships Between Families and Schools (1978), Beyond Bias: Perspectives on Classrooms (1979) (with Jean Carew), and The Good High School: Portraits of Character and Culture (1983), which received the 1984 Outstanding Book Award from the American Educational Research Association. Her book, Balm In Gilead: Journey of A Healer (1988), which won the 1988 Christopher Award, given for "literary merit and humanitarian achievement," was followed by I've Known Rivers: Lives of Loss and Liberation (1994), and The Art and Science of Portraiture (1997) (with Jessica Hoffmann Davis), which documents her pioneering approach to social science methodology; one that bridges the realms of aesthetics and empiricism. In Respect: An Exploration (1999), Lawrence-Lightfoot reaches deep into human experience to find the essence of this powerful quality. The Essential Conversation: What Parents and Teachers Can Learn From Each Other (2003), captures the crucial exchange between parents and teachers, a dialogue that is both mirror and metaphor for the cultural forces that shape the socialization of our children, and The Third Chapter: Risk, Passion, and Adventure in the Twenty-Five Years After 50 (2009) explores new learning during one of the most transformative and generative times in our lives. In her latest book, Exit: The Endings That Set Us Free (2012), she trains her lens on the myriad exits—ordinary and extraordinary, painful and liberating—that we make in our life journeys.