top of page


Craig Calhoun is University Professor of Social Sciences at Arizona State University. He has worked most of his life to advance interdisciplinary social science and shape social transformations for the better. Prior to joining ASU, Calhoun served as president and director of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), where he remains a Centennial Professor of Sociology, and president of the Berggruen Institute, where he remains a senior advisor. He previously served as president of the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), founder and director of the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University (NYU), and dean of the Graduate School and director of the University Center for International Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). In addition to serving on the faculty at LSE, NYU, and UNC, he has also held faculty appointments at Columbia University. He has served as a visiting professor at numerous U.S. universities and abroad, including at Princeton, Yale, the Technical University of Munich, Humboldt University (Berlin), and the University of Oslo.

Calhoun grew up mostly in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and California, the son of a somewhat itinerant Protestant minister. He thinks an early need to understand different social settings shaped his vocation for social science. So did the 1960s and 70s. He left high school early for the Resident Honors Program at USC, then completed degrees at Columbia, Manchester, and Oxford Universities, studying anthropology, sociology, political philosophy, and modern social and economic history. He made his career primarily in sociology, but always within an interdisciplinary context.

As a social theorist and historical and comparative sociologist, Calhoun has studied democracy and social movements, the future of knowledge institutions, the shifting nature of capitalism and globalization, the future of place-based communities, the transformation of work and indeed of the human itself, and other social issues raised by new technologies, and the creativity, solidarity, and determination needed to achieve just and sustainable futures. He has done historical and contemporary research in Britain, France, the US, China, and the Horn of Africa.

Calhoun is the author or co-author of 9 books, including, most recently, Degenerations of Democracy (Harvard University Press, 2022), with Charles Taylor and Dilip Gaonkar. He is also editor or co-editor of another 22 volumes and has published more than 70 refereed journal articles and 100 book chapters that address culture, social movements, education, communication, religion, nationalism, the impact of technology, capitalism and globalization, critical theory and philosophy, and contemporary and historical empirical research. His work has been widely reprinted in anthologies and translated into 21 languages.

Calhoun is an elected Fellow of the British Academy, the American Association for Advancement of Science, and the American Philosophical Society, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and President of the International Institute of Sociology. He was named Einstein Fellow by Humboldt University and the City of Berlin and has received honorary degrees from La Trobe University in Melbourne, the Erasmus University in Rotterdam, and the University of Bologna.

bottom of page