French sociologist who is widely considered to be the father of modern sociology. He established the first European department of sociology, became France's first sociology professor, and published a variety of influential works, including 1893's The Division of Labour in Society and 1897's Suicide.
In 1879, he was admitted into Ecole Normale Superieure, where he studied alongside intellectual heavyweights like Henri Bergson and Jean Juares.
His belief that religion was an institution of social origin rather than a divine one made him an outsider in his time and earned him criticism from contemporaries like Arnold van Gennep.
He came from a long line of French Jewish rabbis which included his father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He had children named Andre and Marie.
His work influenced fellow French intellectuals like philosopher Emmanuel Levinas.