• Craig Calhoun

    A comparative and historical sociologist and social theorist, Calhoun is engaged in anthropology, communications, economics, history, international studies, political science, philosophy, and science and technology studies.


Craig Calhoun serves as the University Professor of Social Sciences at Arizona State University where he holds joint appointments in several schools, including the Schools of Politics and Global Studies, the Watts School of Public Affairs, the School for the Future of Innovation in Society, the School of Sustainability, the School of Arts, Media Engineering, and the Thunderbird School of Global Management. In addition to his role at Arizona State, he is also a Centennial Professor at the London School of Economics. 

Craig Calhoun, portrait 02

Among other positions in leadership and public engagement, Professor Calhoun is a member of the Board of the MasterCard Foundation, Chair of the Advisory Board of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard, and Chair of the Board of the American Assembly at Columbia University.


Calhoun’s current research focuses on contemporary transformations, and possible futures: for the political economy of the modern world-system, for universities and knowledge institutions, for democracy, and for shifting structures of social solidarity from local communities to nations, transnational relations, and the reorganization of regions. More philosophically, he is exploring the relationship between transformation and transcendence in understanding human existence itself. 

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The Green New Deal Conference

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His newest book is Degenerations of Democracy, with Charles Taylor and Dilip Gaonkar (Harvard University Press 2022). He is also the editor, with Benjamin Fong, of The Green New Deal and the Future of Work (Columbia University Press, 2022) and, with a group of his former students, of the most widely used anthologies of Classical and Contemporary Sociological Theory (Blackwell, 4th ed, 2022). 

He is the author of nine earlier books including Neither Gods nor Emperors: Students and the Struggle for Democracy in ChinaCritical Social Theory: Culture, History, and the Challenge of Difference; Roots of Radicalism and Does Capitalism Have a Future? (with Immanuel Wallerstein, Randall Collins, Georgi Derluguian and Michael Mann), has edited more than twenty more, and published over 150 peer-reviewed papers, articles and chapters.

ASU Leadership

Professor Calhoun plays a vital role in supporting a range of initiatives that seek to enhance intellectual and practical connections within the institution. In particular, Professor Calhoun serves as Chair of the Advisory Board for the Center for Work and Democracy, Chair of the Faculty Advisory Committee for Sociology @ ASU, and Director of the Center for the Study of a Changing World in ASU's Global Futures Lab


Craig Calhoun previously served as the Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), President of the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), and President of the Berggruen Institute. He was also a professor at NYU (where he founded the Institute for Public Knowledge), Columbia University, and UNC-Chapel Hill (where he founded the University Center for International Studies and served as Dean of the Graduate School).

He has also been a visiting professor in Asmara, Beijing, Bristol, Khartoum, Oslo, and Paris, and an Einstein Fellow in Berlin. Among other positions in leadership and public engagement, he is a member of the Board of the MasterCard Foundation, Chair of the Advisory Board of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard, and Chair of the Board of the American Assembly at Columbia.


Multiple and competing identities are prominent in modern life. At a large scale there is a particularly challenging tension between norms of belonging – notably to nations, religions, and ethno-racial identities – and norms of disengaged equivalence, like ethical universalism and cosmopolitanism....

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Democracy has been a goal of popular struggles throughout the modern era. In the late 20th century, it was widely viewed as the obvious path for progress in government. Today it is challenged not only by authoritarian regimes and other competitors but also by internal degenerations and upheavals.

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Possible Futures

As human beings, we have partial capacity to choose our futures – individually, in specific groups and societies, and at global scale. This is a matter of both conscious choices and aggregate impact of unintended activity. What futures are possible is also shaped by processes and conditions humans...

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