Craig Calhoun

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Craig Calhoun
Professor Craig Calhoun.jpg
Calhoun at the LSE Library
Born 1952
Watseka, Illinois, U.S.

Craig Calhoun (born 1952)[1] is an American sociologist and an advocate of using social science to address issues of public concern. He became Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science in September 2012. He was president of the Social Science Research Council and was University Professor of the Social Sciences at New York University and Director of NYU's Institute for Public Knowledge. With Richard Sennett he co-founded NYLON, an interdisciplinary working seminar for graduate students in New York and London who bring ethnographic and historical research to bear on politics, culture, and society.


Calhoun was born in Watseka, Illinois in 1952.[1] He studied anthropology and cinema at the University of Southern California, (BA, 1972), anthropology and sociology at Columbia University (MA, 1974), and social anthropology at Manchester University (MA, (Econ.), 1975). He received his doctorate in sociology and modern social and economic history from Oxford University in 1980, a student of J.C. Mitchell, Angus MacIntyre, and R.M. Hartwell. He taught at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 1977 to 1996. There he was also Dean of the Graduate School and founding Director of the University Center for International Studies. He moved to NYU in 1996 as Chair of the Department of Sociology in a period of major rebuilding. He left for Columbia in 2006 but returned to NYU as Director of the Institute for Public Knowledge (IPK), which promotes collaborations among academics from diverse disciplinary backgrounds and between academics and working professionals. Since September 2012 he has been the Director and President of the London School of Economics. Calhoun has also taught at the Beijing Foreign Studies University, the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, University of Asmara, University of Khartoum, University of Oslo, and Oxford itself. He was Benjamin Meaker Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Bristol in 2000 and received an honorary doctorate from La Trobe University in Melbourne in 2005.[1]

Calhoun is married to Pamela DeLargy, who is a public health and Horn of Africa specialist, most recently the Representative of the United Nations Population Fund in Sudan.[citation needed]


Calhoun is probably best known for broadening the tradition of critical theory and connecting it more closely to empirical social and historical research. His work has ranged widely across cosmopolitanism, culture and communication; humanitarianism, social movements, the impact of technological change; tort law, risk, and business organizations; education; religion; community, nationalism, and other forms of social solidarity; and problems in contemporary globalization and internationalization of social processes. He has worked in China, the Horn of Africa, and Europe.

From 1999 to 2012 Calhoun was President of the Social Science Research Council. At the SSRC Calhoun emphasized the public contributions of social science. His views are explained in his essay “Towards a More Public Social Science” which first appeared in the SSRC's 2004 "President's Report" and has been translated, reprinted and widely circulated on the web. After September 11, 2001 he launched an initiative on "Real Time Social Science" which included an essay forum that attracted more than one million readers. This continued with work on the Privatization of Risk, Understanding Katrina: Perspectives from the Social Sciences Program, and now Haiti, Now and Next (examining the impact of the 2010 earthquake on Haiti's social and political future). His conversations with Paul Price have received wide circulation, podcast as Societas.m

Calhoun has written more than 100 scholarly articles and chapters as well as books, among which his most famous is a study of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, Neither Gods Nor Emperors: Students and the Struggle for Democracy in China (California, 1994). Calhoun's work has been translated into more than a dozen languages. Thesis Eleven (2006, Vol. 84, No. 1) devoted a special issue to his work, "Craig Calhoun: Critical Social Sciences and the Public Sphere." He was also editor in chief of the Oxford Dictionary of the Social Sciences. His recent work has focussed on the future of capitalism and on humanitarianism.

Calhoun has been honored as both an undergraduate and graduate teacher. At NYU he teaches an undergraduate class on social thought in the ancient and modern worlds and graduate classes on historical sociology and social, cultural, and political theory.

As the Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science Calhoun was in the academic year 2012-13 the beneficiary of "one of the biggest increases in overall pay and benefits" in the British higher education sector with a remuneration package totalling £466,000 (which included a one-off £88,000 relocation stipend).[2][3][4][5][6] In December 2015 it was announced he would not seek a further term at LSE, instead choosing to step down and return to the USA in 2016 as President of the The Berggruen Institute in Los Angeles.[7]




  • Calhoun, Craig. (2007) Nations Matter: Culture, History, and the Cosmopolitan Dream. Routledge.
  • Calhoun, Craig. (2001) Nationalism. Open University Press and University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 0816631204
  • Calhoun, Craig. (1995) Critical Social Theory. Basil Blackwell.
  • Calhoun, Craig. (1994) Neither Gods Nor Emperors: Students and the Struggle for Democracy in China. University of California Press.
  • Calhoun, Craig. (1989; 7th ed., 1996) Sociology. McGraw-Hill Companies.
  • Calhoun, Craig. (1982) The Question of Class Struggle: Social Foundations of Popular Radicalism During the Industrial Revolution. University of Chicago Press and Basil Blackwell.

Edited Volumes

  • Calhoun, Craig, Mark Juergensmeyer, and Jonathan VanAntwerpen. (2011) Rethinking Secularism. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0199796687
  • Michael Warner, Jonathan VanAntwerpen, and Craig Calhoun. (2010) "Varieties of Secularism in a Secular Age". Harvard University Press.
  • Calhoun, Craig and Sennett, Richard. (2007) Practicing Culture. Routledge.
  • Calhoun, Craig; Gerteis, Joseph; Moody, James; Pfaff, Steven; and Indermohan Virk. (2007) Contemporary Sociological Theory, 2nd. ed. Blackwell.
  • Calhoun, Craig; Gerteis, Joseph; Moody, James; Pfaff, Steven; and Indermohan Virk. (2007) Classical Sociological Theory, 2nd. ed. Blackwell.
  • Calhoun, Craig. (2007) Sociology in America: A History. University of Chicago Press.
  • Calhoun, Craig; Rojek, Chris; and Turner, Bryan. (2006) Sage Handbook of Sociology. Sage Publications.
  • Calhoun, Craig. (2005) Lessons of Empire: Imperial Histories and American Power. New Press.
  • Calhoun, Craig; Price, Paul; and Timmer; Ashley. (2002) Understanding September 11. The New Press.
  • Calhoun, Craig. (2002) Dictionary of the Social Sciences. Oxford University Press.
  • Calhoun, Craig, and McGowan John. (1997) Hannah Arendt and the Meaning of Politics. University of Minnesota Press.
  • Calhoun, Craig. (1994) Social Theory and the Politics of Identity. Wiley Blackwell. ISBN 9781557864734
  • Calhoun, Craig; LiPuma, E.; and Postone; M. (1993) Bourdieu: Critical Perspectives. Cambridge: Polity Press and Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Calhoun, Craig. (1993) Habermas and the Public Sphere. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Calhoun, Craig; Scott, W.R.; and Meyer, M. (1990) Structures of Power and Constraint: Essays in Honor of Peter M. Blau. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Calhoun, Craig and Ianni, F. A. J. (1976) The Anthropological Study of Education. The Hague: Mouton, and Chicago: Aldine.


External links[edit]

Educational offices
Preceded by
Judith Rees
Director of the London School of Economics
2012 –
Succeeded by