philly.com

In his new book, The Cosmopolitan CanopyRace and Civility in Everyday Life, Elijah Anderson tells of a rainy afternoon at Reading Terminal Market. He was doing what he does best – conducting a bit of folk ethnography. People-watching, in layman’s terms.

Sociologist Elijah Anderson at Reading Terminal Market, from which he drew information for “The Cosmopolitan Canopy”

But anybody who knows this sociologist knows he’s anything but a layman. Though he teaches at Yale now, Philadelphia is who he is and where he still lives. The ethnographer spent most of his professional life at Penn, where he did the research for two of his acclaimed books, Streetwise and Code of the Street.

It’s fair to say Anderson has put together a body of work that rivals only W.E.B. Du Bois’ The Philadelphia Negro for its groundbreaking insights into the African American experience in Philly.