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Karen Barkey is Professor of Sociology and History. She studies state centralization / decentralization, state control and social movements against states in the context of empires. In her recent work she has also explored the issue of toleration and accommodation in pre-modern empires.  Her research focuses primarily on the Ottoman Empire, and recently on comparisons between Ottoman, Habsburg and Roman empires.  Her first book, Bandits and Bureaucrats: The Ottoman Route to State Centralization, studies the way in which the Ottoman state found new strategies of control and managed to incorporate potentially contentious forces into the Ottoman polity.

Her recent book, Empire of Difference: The Ottomans in Comparative Perspective is a comparative study of different forms and moments of imperial organization and diversity. She also co-edited (with Mark von Hagen) After Empire: Multiethnic Societies and Nation-Building, the Soviet Union and the Russian, Ottoman, and Habsburg Empires. Bandits and Bureaucrats was awarded  The Allan Sharlin Memorial Award for outstanding book of the year in Social Science History in 1995. Empire of Difference was awarded The 2009 Barrington Moore Award from the Comparative Historical Sociology section at American Sociology Association. The 2009 J. David Greenstone Book Prize from the Politics and History section at the Political Science Association



Peter Bearman is the Director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Innovative Theories and Empirics (INCITE). the Cole Professor of Social Science. and Co-Director of the Health & Society Scholars Program, the Mellon Interdisciplinary Training Progrsm and OHMA at Columbia University. A specialist in network analysis

he co-designed the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. He has also conducted research in historical sociology including Relations into Rhetorics: Local Elite Social Structure in Norfolk England, 1540-1640 (Rutgers 1993). He is the author of Doormen (University of Chicago Press 2005). He is an editor of the Handbook of Analytical Sociology (Oxford University Press 2009) and edits (with Peter Hedstrom) a series on analytical sociology at the Princeton University Press (PASS).

A recipient of the NIH Director s Pioneer Award in 2007 Bearman is currently investigating the social determinants of the autism epidemic. In addition he is working on the dynamics of lynching in the deep south, violence in Northern Ireland the analysis of event and relational sequences and qualitative research design. He is a member of the American Acadamy of Arts and Science (AAAS and the National Academy of Science (NAS).

He teaches introductory sociology qualitative research design research design social networks and classical social theory.



Debbie is currently revising her dissertation, Valuing Property: Eminent Domain for Urban Redevelopment, Philadelphia 1992-2007, for publication as a book about legitimacy of government investment in private markets. The exceptional act of taking property exposes a moral code operating in many other situations. This moral code of real property, which attempts to match returns to investments, guides individual and organizational action in the contemporary urban United States, but it is not yet described by legal, political, and economic scholarship. This project reveals how institutions and individuals employ this code to resolve tensions between public and private interests.

In the first comprehensive study of a city’s eminent-domain acquisitions, Debbie explores which properties the city pursues for private redevelopment and how stakeholders decide that government actions are either a use or abuse of power. A quantitative overview of citywide practice combines originally collected data on eminent domain with City of Philadelphia and U.S. Census data on properties and neighborhoods, showing that eminent domain has been largely uncontroversial though fairly common (approximately 7,000 properties and 400 development projects pursued from 1992 to 2007). Case studies of two controversial development projects probe more deeply into the porous and shifting boundary between desirable and undesirable government action. Readers follow these projects through planning and implementation, with evidence from public records, documents on file in offices of the Mayor and the Redevelopment Authority, and interviews with residents, business owners, community leaders, government representatives, attorneys, and appraisers. Though in moments of conflict those opposing eminent domain employ an idea of property security as possession (“what’s mine is mine and what’s your is yours”), more flexible approaches to property governance are more common.

Property-governing institutions enforce a moral code trying to value and reward property investment – including emotional, financial, temporal, and cognitive investment. Written rules, public claims, and individual practices aim to ensure that the social environment provides returns to investments of all kinds in a fairly equitable manner. Dissatisfaction and claims of public wrongs arise not when or because government threatens property titles. They arise instead when property-governing institutions fail to meet the task of enforcing this more complex and evasive moral code. The accounts in this book explore specifically how problems related to uncertainty and communications cause these institutional failures that emerge in public discourse as violations of property security as possession.


Julia Adams teaches and conducts research in the areas of state development; gender and family; social theory and knowledge; early modern European politics, and colonialism and empire. She is currently studying (1) large-scale forms of patriarchal politics; (2) the historical sociology of agency relations, and (3) gender and Wikipedia.

Adams is Master of Calhoun College. She also co-directs CHESS (Center for Historical Enquiry and the Social Sciences)

In 2013, Adams was awarded a two-year National Science Foundation grant for collaborative research with Hannah Brückner (Associate Dean of Social Science, NYU-Abu Dhabi) on “Wikipedia and the Democratization of Academic Knowledge.” The investigators are analyzing the representation of scholars and scholarship, including gender-specific patterns. One of the project’s goals is to contribute to improving quality and reducing potential bias on academic – and more general – Wikipedia.

Her book The Familial State: Ruling Families and Merchant Capitalism in Early Modern Europe (Cornell, 2005) won the Gaddis Smith Book Prize. With Mounira Maya Charrad, she co-edited a 2011 Annals of the Academy of Political and Social Sciences volume, titled Patrimonial Power in the Modern World. With Elisabeth S. Clemens and Ann Shola Orloff, she edited Remaking Modernity: Politics, History, and Sociology (Duke, 2005). Her work has twice won the Barrington Moore Jr. Award for Best Article given by the ASA section in Comparative and Historical Sociology.

She was previously the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Michigan. Adams graduated from Reed College and did her graduate work in sociology (with a combined minor in history and anthropology) at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She served as 2008-9 President of the Social Science History Association and 2012-13 Chair of the Global and Transnational section of the American Sociological Association. At Yale she has chaired the department of Sociology; directed the Division of the Social Sciences; the Fox Fellowship Program; the International Affairs Council, and co-directed the Center for Comparative Research. She was in the provost’s office during the past academic year, serving as Deputy Provost for Social Sciences and Faculty Development and Diversity.


In my research and teaching, I focus on issues associated with gender and medicine. Using a range of qualitative, historical, and quantitative methods, I examine questions about how biological bodies and cultural norms interact to influence biomedical knowledge, medical markets, and individual experiences. My first book, Sex Cells: The Medical Market for Eggs and Sperm (University of California Press, 2011), received awards from the American Sociological Association and the American Anthropological Association. In 2013, I was honored to receive the Arthur Greer Memorial Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Research, one of Yale’s highest honors.

My current research projects include a survey of women’s experiences with in vitro fertilization (IVF), a national survey of American attitudes toward genetic risk (with Shana Gadarian), and a comparative survey of sperm donors in France and the United States (collaborative with a team of French researchers).  I am also working on a new book, tentatively titled Guynecology: Men, Medical Knowledge, and Reproduction, which examines the history of medical knowledge-making about men’s reproduction and its consequences for individual men.


Jason Beckfield is Professor of Sociology and Director of Graduate Studies at Harvard University.  His research investigates the institutional causes and consequences of social inequality.  Currently, he is working on three projects: (1) a book about economic inequality in the European Union, (2) a monograph and a series of journal articles that develop an institutional theory of stratification, with a substantive focus on population health, and (3) collaborative publications, many co-authored with PhD students, that investigate long-term trends in the development of political economy.  


Matthew Desmond is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Social Studies. After receiving his PhD in 2010 from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, he joined the Harvard Society of Fellows as a Junior Fellow.

Desmond is the author of On the Fireline: Living and Dying with Wildland Firefighters (2007), which won the Max Weber Award for Distinguished Scholarship by the American Sociological Association, as well as two books on race in America (both with Mustafa Emirbayer): Racial Domination, Racial Progress: The Sociology of Race in America (2009) and The Racial Order (forthcoming). He has written essays on educational inequality, dangerous work, political ideology, race and social theory, and the inner-city housing market. Desmond is the principal investigator of the Milwaukee Area Renters Study, an original survey of tenants in Milwaukee’s low-income private housing sector. His work has been supported by the MacArthur, Ford, and National Science Foundations, as well as by the American Philosophical Society; it also has been profiled in major news outlets such as The New York Times, National Public Radio, Science, and Das Erste. His current project combines ethnographic fieldwork, survey data, and documentary analysis to explore the causes, dynamics, and consequences of eviction among the urban poor and, more broadly, to plumb the inner workings of disadvantaged neighborhoods and the low-cost housing market.


Bart Bonikowski is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and a faculty affiliate of the Center for European Studies, the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, and the Institute for Quantitative Social Science.

Relying primarily on innovative survey and network analysis methods, his research applies insights from cultural sociology to the study of politics. Bonikowski’s most recent work examined the impact of trade and IGO networks on cross-national attitude diffusion, as well as the consequences of within- and between-country variation in popular understandings of the nation-state for political change. He is currently launching a new project on the logic of populist discourse in democratic polities, focusing on popular attitudes, media representations, and political messaging. Bonikowski’s publications have appeared in the American Sociological Review, The International Journal of Comparative Sociology, and a number of edited volumes.



Jeffrey C. Alexander is the Lillian Chavenson Saden Professor of Sociology at Yale University. With Ron EyermanPhilip Smith, and Frederick Wherry, he is Co-Director of the Center for Cultural Sociology (CCS). Jeffrey Alexander works in the areas of theory, culture, and politics. An exponent of the “strong program” in cultural sociology, he has investigated the cultural codes and narratives that inform diverse areas of social life.

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