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Stephen Cornell is professor of sociology, faculty chair of the Native Nations Institute, and past director of the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, all at the University of Arizona. He also is a faculty affiliate with the university’s James E. Rogers College of Law and its School of Government and Public Policy.
A political and cultural sociologist, Cornell did his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago. He taught at Harvard University for nine years before moving to the University of California, San Diego, in 1989 and then to the University of Arizona in 1998. In the late 1980s, at Harvard, Cornell and economist Joseph P. Kalt founded the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development; they continue to direct that project today. In 2000-2001, Cornell led the development of the Native Nations Institute at Arizona, an outgrowth of the Harvard Project.
Cornell has written widely on Indigenous affairs, economic development, collective identity, and ethnic and race relations. Among his publications are The Return of the Native: American Indian Political Resurgence; What Can Tribes Do? Strategies and Institutions in American Indian Economic Development (co-edited with Joseph P. Kalt); Ethnicity and Race: Making Identities in a Changing World (co-authored with Douglas Hartmann); and Native Nations and U.S. Borders: Challenges to Indigenous Culture, Citizenship, and Security (co-authored with Rachel Rose Starks and Jen McCormack).
Cornell has spent most of his professional career working with Indigenous nations and organizations in North America, Australia, and New Zealand on governance, economic development, and tribal policy issues.