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Craig Calhoun

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Craig Calhoun
Craig Jackson Calhoun

(1952-06-16) June 16, 1952 (age 72)
TitlePresident of the Berggruen Institute; Director and Centennial Professor, London School of Economics; Global Distinguished Professor of Sociology at New York University[3]
SpousePamela F. DeLargy
Academic background
Alma mater
ThesisCommunity, Class and Collective Action[1] (1980)
Doctoral advisorRonald Max Hartwell[2]
Academic work
Sub-discipline Comparative historical sociology
Main interests
Craig Calhoun
President of the Berggruen Institute
In office
September 2016 – June 2018
Director of the London School of Economics
In office
September 2012 – September 2016
Preceded byJudith Rees
Succeeded byJulia Black (acting) Nemat Shafik

Craig Jackson Calhoun FBA FAcSS (born 1952) is an American sociologist who currently serves as the University Professor of Social Sciences at Arizona State University.[4] He is a strong advocate for applying social science to address issues of public concerns. Calhoun served as the Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) from September 2012 until September 2016 and continues to hold the title of Centennial Professor of Sociology at LSE.[5]

Before this tenure at LSE, Calhoun led the Social Science Research Council,[6] and held the position of University Professor of the Social Sciences at New York University (NYU). He was also the Director of NYU's Institute for Public Knowledge. After LSE, he became the first president[7] of the Berggruen Institute, where he now serves as a senior advisor to the Berggruen Prize.[8][9]


Calhoun was born in Watseka, Illinois, on June 16, 1952.[10][11] He studied anthropology and cinema at the University of Southern California (B.A., 1972),[11] anthropology and sociology at Columbia University (M.A., 1974),[11] and social anthropology at Manchester University (M.A., 1975).[11] He received his D.Phil. in sociology and modern social and economic history from University of Oxford in 1980, where he was a student of J.Clyde Mitchell, Angus MacIntyre, and Ronald Max Hartwell.

Academic Tenures[edit]

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),[12] which promotes collaborations among academics from diverse disciplinary backgrounds and between academics and working professionals.[13] 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.[14] In September 2012 he became the Director and President of the London School of Economics.[15]

International Teaching and Honors[edit]

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. He was the Benjamin Meaker Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Bristol in 2000 , received an honorary doctorate from La Trobe University in Melbourne in 2005,[10] and also received an honorary doctorate from Erasmus University Rotterdam, in 2013.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Calhoun spent portions of his early years in states like Kentucky and Illinois due to his father's role as a Protestant minister.[17] This exposure to various communities and settings provided him with diverse experiences. Discussions during this time touched upon Western history, religion, and the Bible. His father, who held views on church unity, frequently discussed the differences between religious denominations.[18]

Calhoun's formative years coincided with significant societal events, including the Civil Rights Movement. In his academic pursuits, Calhoun attended institutions including the University of Southern California, Princeton, Manchester University, and Oxford.[18][17] His studies covered anthropology, sociology, political philosophy, and modern social and economic history. While he primarily focused on sociology, his research spanned various topics, from democracy and social movements to the evolution of capitalism. His research took him to different parts of the world, and he showed particular interest in the workers' movements of 18th and 19th-century England.[17]

Calhoun is married to Pam F. DeLargy,[11] a specialist in public health and population studies,[19] who transitioned back to academia after two decades in international development and humanitarian aid. DeLargy encompasses areas like migration, gender relations, and reproductive health. At UNFPA, DeLargy played a role in emphasizing the needs of women and young individuals during emergencies. For served for the U.N. in Eritrea, Sudan, and Ethiopia heading humanitarian response programmes of UNFPA. Before her tenure at Arizona State University, she was the Senior Advisor to Peter Sutherland, the U.N. Special Representative for Migration.[20]


Presidency at the Social Science Research Council (1999–2012)[edit]

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.[21] After September 11, 2001 he launched an initiative on "Real Time Social Science" [22] 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.

Directorship at the London School of Economics (2012–2016)[edit]

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.[23][24][25][26] As Director, Calhoun was very successful in raising funds for the LSE, including millions from the Marshall Foundation, Atlantic Philanthropies, and many other donors. Also during his tenure, LSE begun work on a new Global Centre for Social Sciences, and rose significantly in global university rankings, rising from 71st to 35th best university in the world between 2014 and 2015 in QS World University Rankings.[27][28]

Centennial Professor[edit]

At the conclusion of his term as Director, Calhoun transitioned to the role of Centennial Professor in the Department of Sociology at LSE.[29]

BBC in North Korea[edit]

In 2013, the BBC faced criticism[30] for an undercover documentary filmed in North Korea, which involved students from the London School of Economics (LSE). Craig Calhoun, the Director of the LSE at the time, expressed concerns about the potential risks posed to the students.[31] He clarified that the trip was not officially sanctioned by LSE. The BBC defended its actions, stating the documentary aimed to provide insights into life inside North Korea. The BBC later apologized.[32] Calhoun later commented on the incident, suggesting that the documentary might not have provided new information and only showcased what North Korea intended for tourists to see.

Berggruen Institute Leadership[edit]

In December 2015 it was announced he would not seek a further term at LSE, instead choosing to step down and return to the United States in 2016 as President of the Berggruen Institute in Los Angeles.[33] In August 2017, British media published critical reports that Calhoun had been paid £1.7 million over four years and a London apartment with a market rent of £120,000 a year, despite LSE being criticised for its low teaching standards.[34][35] As president of the Berggruen Institute, Calhoun launched the million-dollar Berggruen Prize for Philosophy and Culture , and oversaw the development of its Los Angeles and Beijing campuses.

Arizona State University (since 2018)[edit]

In May 2018, it was announced that Calhoun would be stepping down from the Berggruen Institute in order to become University Professor of Social Sciences at Arizona State University, effective July 1, 2018.[36][37]

Melikian Center Interim Directorship (2021-22)[edit]

In 2021, Calhoun was appointed as the interim director of the Melikian Center for Eurasian and East European Studies at ASU.[38]


Calhoun has held academic positions at various institutions globally. He served as the Stanley Kelly, Jr. Visiting Professor for Distinguished Teaching at Princeton University.[39] From 2011 to 2021, he was as an Honorary Professor at the College d’Etudes Mondiales of the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme and held the distinguished "Cosmopolitisme et Solidarité" chair.[40] He has been a Faculty Fellow at Yale University's Center for Cultural Sociology since 2004. Other affiliations include the Technical University of Munich, Humboldt University in Berlin, and the University of Oslo.

He is a Fellow of the New York Institute for the Humanities.


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 focused on the future of capitalism and on humanitarianism. He has also written on Brexit and the rise of populism.


  • Calhoun, Craig (2022). Degenerations of Democracy (1st ed.). Cambridge: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-67423758-2.
  • The Roots of Radicalism: Tradition, the Public Sphere, and Early Nineteenth-Century Social Movements. University of Chicago Press. 2012. ISBN 978-0-226-09086-3.
  • Nations Matter: Culture, History and the Cosmopolitan Dream. Routledge. 2007. ISBN 978-1-134-12758-0.
  • Nationalism. University of Minnesota Press. 1997. ISBN 978-0-8166-3120-9.
  • Critical Social Theory: Culture, History, and the Challenge of Difference. Wiley. 1995. ISBN 978-1-55786-288-4.
  • Neither Gods Nor Emperors: Students and the Struggle for Democracy in China. University of California Press. 1994. ISBN 978-0-520-08826-9.
  • Sociology. McGraw-Hill. 1989. ISBN 978-0-07-554565-1. with Donald Light and Suzanne Keller
  • The Question of Class Struggle: Social Foundations of Popular Radicalism During the Industrial Revolution. University of Chicago Press. 1982. ISBN 978-0-226-09090-0.

Edited Volumes

  • Calhoun, Craig; and Benjamin Fong. (2013) The Green New Deal and the Transformation of Work . Columbia University Press.ISBN 9780231205573
  • Calhoun, Craig; Eduardo Mendieta, and Jonathan VanAntwerpen. (2013) Habermas and Religion. Polity Press.
  • Wallerstein, Immanuel; Randall Collins, Michael Mann, Georgi Derluguian, and Craig Calhoun. (2013). Does Capitalism Have a Future? Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199330850
  • 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. (1992) Habermas and the Public Sphere. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.ISBN 9780262531146
  • 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.


  1. ^ Calhoun, Craig (1980). Community, Class and Collective Action: Popular Protest in Industrializing England and the Theory of Working Class Radicalism (DPhil thesis). Oxford: University of Oxford. Archived from the original on December 13, 2019. Retrieved October 22, 2016.
  2. ^ "Community, class and collective action: popular protest in industrializing England and the theory of working-class radicalism". Institute of Historical Research (IHR) Online. Archived from the original on October 23, 2016. Retrieved October 22, 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Craig J Calhoun - NYU Sociology". NYU Department of Sociology. Retrieved October 22, 2016.
  4. ^ "Craig Calhoun, former president of London School of Economics and Political Science, joins ASU". ASU News. 2018-07-05. Retrieved 2023-09-15.
  5. ^ "Craig Calhoun". International Science Council. Retrieved 2023-09-17.
  6. ^ "Craig Calhoun – The Immanent Frame". SSRC The Immanent Frame. Retrieved 2023-09-17.
  7. ^ Gardels, Nathan (2016-02-04). "London School of Economics Chief to Run Berggruen Institute". HuffPost. Retrieved 2019-04-22.
  8. ^ "Dr. Craig Calhoun Retires as President of Berggruen Institute - News - Berggruen Institute". www.berggruen.org. 2018-05-21. Retrieved 2023-09-18.
  9. ^ "Prize – Berggruen Institute". www.berggruen.org. Retrieved 2024-01-19.
  10. ^ a b Porter, Aaron (1 December 2011). "LSE's Professor Craig Calhoun and mature students: first or fail?". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 16 August 2012.
  11. ^ a b c d e Calhoun, Craig Jackson (2013). "Curriculum Vitae". Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  12. ^ "Craig Calhoun". Institute for Public Knowledge New York University. 16 September 2023. Retrieved 16 September 2023.
  13. ^ "About". The Institute for Public Knowledge New York University.
  14. ^ "NYLON". The Institute for Public Knowledge New York University.
  15. ^ Thompson, Jennifer (February 3, 2016). "LSE president to leave post early for US". The Financial Times. Retrieved April 21, 2019.
  16. ^ "Honorary Doctorates | Erasmus University Rotterdam". www.eur.nl. Retrieved 2023-09-18.
  17. ^ a b c Conversations With History: Craig Calhoun, retrieved 2023-10-08
  18. ^ a b "Full biography". Craig Calhoun. Retrieved 2023-10-08.
  19. ^ "Ms. Pamela DeLargy – Religions for Peace". Retrieved 2023-09-15.
  20. ^ "Sudan expels UN agency chief". Al Jazeera. April 9, 2014. Retrieved October 22, 2016.
  21. ^ Calhoun, Craig Jackson (2004). "Towards a More Public Social Science". Social Science Research Council. ssrc.org. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
  22. ^ "Einstein Foundation Berlin". Einstein Foundation. Retrieved 2023-10-08.
  23. ^ "Big pay rises for Russell Group chiefs in £9K fees era". 2 January 2014.
  24. ^ "Meet the new breed of fat cat: The university vice-chancellor | Aditya Chakrabortty". TheGuardian.com. 3 March 2014.
  25. ^ Garner, Richard (2 January 2014). "The academic fat cats: Vice-chancellors at Britain's top universities get £22,000 pay rises – as lecturers are stuck on 1 per cent". The Independent. London.
  26. ^ "Calhoun Comfortably Compensated |". Archived from the original on 2014-03-05. Retrieved 2014-03-05.
  27. ^ Burns, Judith (2015-09-15). "London keeps top university city title". Retrieved 2019-04-22.
  28. ^ "LSE Asks for 'Further Work' To Be Done on Shortlisted Designs". ArchDaily. 2013-11-08. Retrieved 2019-04-22.
  29. ^ Financial Statements 2015-16. London School of Economics. Retrieved 2023-10-07 from https://info.lse.ac.uk/staff/divisions/Finance-Division/assets/annual-accounts/PDF/2015-16AnnualAccounts-FINAL.pdf
  30. ^ Mullen, Jethro (2013-04-15). "BBC accused of endangering students in undercover North Korea report". CNN. Retrieved 2023-10-07.
  31. ^ "British university attacks BBC over covert North Korea trip". Reuters. 2013-04-14. Retrieved 2023-10-07.
  32. ^ "BBC apologises to LSE over Panorama on North Korea". Times Higher Education (THE). 2014-03-17. Retrieved 2023-10-07.
  33. ^ "LSE director Craig Calhoun to step down". Times Higher Education (THE). 2015-12-18. Retrieved 2019-04-22.
  34. ^ "University given one of the UK's lowest teaching ratings paid vice chancellor £1.7 million". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 2023-07-25.
  35. ^ Bennett, Rosemary. "London School of Economics spent thousands on farewell gifts for director".
  36. ^ "DR. CRAIG CALHOUN TO RETIRE AS PRESIDENT OF THE BERGGRUEN INSTITUTE | Berggruen". berggruen.org. Retrieved 2018-05-23.
  37. ^ "Craig Calhoun, former president of London School of Economics and Political Science, joins ASU". ASU Now: Access, Excellence, Impact. 2018-07-05. Retrieved 2019-04-22.
  38. ^ "Craig Calhoun joins Melikian Center as interim director". ASU News. 2021-07-19. Retrieved 2023-10-07.
  39. ^ "Five distinguished teachers visiting Princeton this year". Princeton University. January 2, 2008. Retrieved 2023-10-07.
  40. ^ "Craig Calhoun". www.fmsh.fr (in French). Retrieved 2023-10-07.
  41. ^ "APS Member History". search.amphilsoc.org. Retrieved 2021-03-19.
  42. ^ "New Fellows Announced". Academy of Social Sciences. March 2015. Archived from the original on 5 August 2017. Retrieved 5 August 2017.
  43. ^ "Professor Craig Calhoun". British Academy. Retrieved 5 August 2017.

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by Director of the London School of Economics
Succeeded by