Lauren Berlant’s work has focused on the affective components of belonging in the U.S. nineteenth and twentieth centuries—now the twenty-first: in particular, in relation to juridical citizenship, to informal and normative modes of social belonging, and to practices of intimacy as they absorb legal, normative, and fantasmatic forces. These scenes of relation articulate state, juridical, and institutional practices of zoning and more abstract boundary-drawing—between public and private, white and non-white, and/or citizen and foreigner—with other kinds of social bonds through which people imagine and practice world-making.

Selected publications: 

Sex, or the Unbearable, with Lee Edelman (Duke UP, 2014)

Cruel Optimism (Duke UP, 2011), 2011 René Wellek Prize, American Comparative Literature Association

Read Lauren Berlant’s full bio on the English Department’s Website.


Bill Brown, English, Visual Arts

ON LEAVE 2018-2019 Academic YEAR

Bill Brown is the Karla Scherer Distinguished Service Professor in American Culture. In the past, his research has focused on popular literary genres (e.g. science fiction, the Western), on recreational forms (baseball, kung fu), and on the ways that mass-cultural phenomena (from roller coasters to Kodak cameras) impress themselves on the literary imagination. Rather than assuming that historical contexts help to explain a particular literary text, he assumes that literature provides access to an otherwise unrecuperable history. In other words, he believes that the act of literary analysis (including formal analysis) can become an "historiographical operation" all its own.

Selected publications: 

Other Things (Chicago, 2015).

A Sense of Things: The Object Matter of American Literature(Chicago, 2003).

Read Bill Brown’s biography on the English Department’s Website.

Read Bill Brown’s biography on the Visual Arts Department’s Website.



Dipesh Chakrabarty holds a BSc (physics honors) degree from Presidency College, University of Calcutta, a postgraduate Diploma in management (considered equivalent to MBA) from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, and a PhD (history) from the Australian National University. He is currently the Lawrence A. Kimpton Distinguished Service Professor in History, South Asian Languages and Civilizations, and the College. He is also a faculty fellow of the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory and an associate faculty of the Department of English.

Selected publications: 

Some Aspects of Labour History of Bengal in the Nineteenth Century: Two Views, with Ranajit Das Gupta. Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2018; originally published as Occasional Paper No. 40, by the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, Oct. 1981.

Historical Teleologies in the Modern World, coedited with Henning Trüper and Sanjay Subrahmanyam. London: Bloomsbury, 2015.

Read Dipesh Chakrabarty’s biography on the History Department’s Website.

Read Dipesh Chakrabarty’s biography on the University of Chicago Law School’s Website.

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adom getachew, political science

Adom Getachew is the Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of Political Science and the College. She holds a joint PhD in Political Science and African-American Studies from Yale University. Her research and teaching interests include modern political thought with a focus on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the history of international law, theories of empire and race, black political thought and post-colonial political theory.

Her current book project Worldmaking after Empire: The Rise and Fall of Self-Determination (under contract with Princeton) reconstructs the animating questions, debates and institutional visions anti-colonial nationalists of the Black Atlantic pursued during the height of decolonization. Through the political thought of African, African-American and Caribbean figures such as Nnamdi Azikiwe, W.E.B Du Bois, George Padmore, Kwame Nkrumah, Eric Williams, Michael Manley and Julius Nyerere, Worldmaking illustrates that anti-colonial visions of self-determination were projects of worldmaking that sought to overcome racial hierarchy and institutionalize autonomy and equality within the international order.

Selected publications: 

“Universalism after the Post-Colonial Turn: Interpreting the Haitian Revolution,” Political Theory 44 (December 2016): 821-845.

Worldmaking after Empire: The Rise and Fall of Self-Determination (book manuscript under review)

Read Adom Getachew's biography on the Political Science Department's Website. 



Andreas Glaeser is a sociologist of culture with a particular interest in the construction of identities and knowledges. His work interlaces substantive interests with efforts to build social theory. In this vein, his first book develops a theory of identity formation processes in the context of an ethnographic study of Germany's post-unification woes. He is currently finishing a book aiming at the development of a political epistemology which asks how people come to understand the world of politics from within their particular biographical trajectories and social milieus. The substantive focus of this book is the late socialist German state's effort to understand its citizens and to control the opposition as well as the opposition members' efforts to form their independent understanding of state socialism. He has begun work on a new project which studies the emergence of dominant understandings about Muslim immigrants in the interaction between contingent historical events, the cycles of electoral politics, everyday experiences and mass-mediated discourses in Germany, France and Britain.

Selected publications: 

"An Ontology for the Ethnographic Analysis of Social Processes: Extending the Extended Case Method," in Social Analysis, accepted for publication (in the editorial process)

"Collective Intentionality, Belonging and the Production of State Paranoia: Stasi in the Late GDR," in Off Stage/On Display: Intimacies and Ethnographies in the Age of Public Culture. Stanford University Press, 2004 (in press)

Read Andreas Glaeser’s biography on the Sociology Department’s Website.


Demetra Kasimis, Political Science  

Demetra Kasimis is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago. Her research and teaching focus on democratic theory with emphasis on the thought and politics of classical Greece and its contemporary receptions. She is particularly interested in questions of membership, exclusion, and immigration, all of which she explores in her book manuscript. Kasimis’ research has been funded by the NEH, ACLS, and Mellon and Fulbright Foundations. She is a graduate of Columbia University where she majored in philosophy and concentrated in Hellenic Studies before receiving her PhD in political science from Northwestern University. Previously, Kasimis taught at Yale as a postdoctoral fellow before joining the faculty at California State University, Long Beach as an assistant professor of political science. At the University of Chicago, Kasimis is also an associated faculty member of the Department of Classics and a member of the affiliated faculty of the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality. 

Selected Publications:

The Perpetual Immigrant and the Limits of Athenian Democracy (Cambridge University Press, August 2018).

Read Demetra Kasimis' biography on the Political Science Department's Website.


Jonathan levy, history 

Jonathan Levy is a historian of economic life in the United States, with interests in the relationships between business and economic history, political economy, legal history, and the history of ideas. His research and teaching span the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and are increasingly preoccupied with global and comparative questions.

Levy is currently at work on a number of projects. The first is an interpretive history of US capitalism, Ages of American Capitalism, which is forthcoming from Random House. The book narrates American economic life from British colonial settlement to the great recession of 2008.  A related article, “Capital as Process and the History of Capitalism,” is forthcoming from the Business History Review. A second project concerns the history of investment and global capital markets across the twentieth century, from the perspective of John Maynard Keynes’s concept of "liquidity preference," elaborated in his The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money. This was the subject of a recent series of lectures that Levy gave at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales. Levy has also recently written about the significance of the topic of investment in "Stuck in a Gilded Age," Dissent  (Sum. 2016).

Selected publications: 

"From Fiscal Triangle to Passing Through: Rise of the Nonprofit Corporation." In Corporations and American Democracy, edited by Naomi Lamoreaux and William Novak. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming.

"Altruism and the Origins of Nonprofit Philanthropy." In Philanthropy in Democratic Societies: History, Norms, Institutions, edited by Rob Reich, Chiara Cordelli, and Lucy Bernholtz. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016.

Read Jonathan Levy's biography on the History Department's Website.


Rochana majmudar HISTORY

Rochona Majumdar is a historian of modern India. Her interests span histories of Indian cinema, gender and marriage in colonial India, and Indian intellectual thought in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Majumdar’s first book, Marriage and Modernity: Family Values in Colonial Bengal (Durham: Duke University Press, 2009; New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2009), challenges the assumption that arranged marriage is an antiquated practice. During the late colonial period Bengali marriage practices underwent changes that led to a valorization of the large, inter-generational family as a revered, ‘ancient’, social institution, with arranged marriage as the apotheosis of an ‘Indian’ tradition. Marriage and Modernitydocuments the ways in which these newly embraced ‘traditions’—the extended family and arranged marriage—entered into competition and conversation with other emerging forms of kinship such as the modern unit of the couple, with both models participating promiscuously in the new ‘marketplace’ for marriages, where matrimonial advertisements in the print media and the payment of dowry played central roles. Majumdar argues that together the kinship structures newly asserted as distinctively Indian and the emergence of the marriage market constituted what was and still is modern about marriages in India.

Currently, Majumdar is engaged in two projects. The first is a history of the film society movement in India from 1947, the year of India’s independence from British rule and partition to 1977 the year that the emergency declared by Mrs. Gandhi ended. The project analyzes the interface between civil social organizations like cine clubs to a mass medium—cinema--and relates film society practices to the rise of new kinds of film-making in India. The second project is an intellectual history of key concepts such as society, civility, and civilization in the Hindu and Muslim Bengali contexts during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Selected publications: 

Writing Postcolonial History. (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2010).

Marriage and Modernity: Family Values in Colonial Bengal. Durham: Duke University press, 2009.

Read Rochana Majumdar's biography on the History Department's Website



On leave until Spring Quarter 2019

Joseph Masco (PhD, UC San Diego 1999) is Professor of Anthropology and of the Social Sciences in the College. Working at the intersection of science studies, environmental studies, media studies, and social theory, his scholarship examines the material, affective, and conceptual effects of technological revolution. He is the author of The Nuclear Borderlands: The Manhattan Project in Post-Cold War New Mexico (Princeton University Press, 2006) a multi-sited ethnographic investigation into the long-term effects of the atomic bomb project in New Mexico. It explores how a half century of national security science in Los Alamos differentially remade local understandings of risk, citizenship, ecology and race after the Cold War.

He is working individually, and across several collaborative projects, to generate new approaches to recognizing inequalities in the age of planetary scale forms of violence. Masco’s work has been supported by the American Council of Learned Societies, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and The Wenner-Gren Foundation. He has been a residential fellow at the School for Advanced Research, held a Benjamin Meaker Visiting Professorship at the Institute for Advanced Study (University of Bristol), and has been a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton). In 2017, he was awarded a Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Mentoring at the University of Chicago.

Selected publications: 

"Anticipation." In Anand Pandian and Cymene Howe(eds) Lexicon for the Anthropocene Yet Unseen. Brooklyn: Punctum Books.

“The Age of (a) Man.” In Gregg Mitman, Marco Armiero, and RobertEmmett (eds) Future Remains: A Cabinet of Curiosities for the Anthropocene. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 40-49.

Read Joe Masco’s biography on the Anthropology Department’s Website.



William Mazzarella is the Neukom Family Professor of Anthropology and of Social Sciences in the College. He writes and teaches on the political anthropology of mass publicity, with special reference to India. His books include Shoveling Smoke: Advertising and Globalization in Contemporary India (Duke, 2003) and Censorium: Cinema and the Open Edge of Mass Publicity (Duke, 2013). He is also the co-editor, with Raminder Kaur, of Censorship in South Asia: Cultural Regulation from Sedition to Seduction (Indiana, 2009), and the editor of K D Katrak: Collected Poems (Poetrywala, 2016). His most recent book, The Mana of Mass Society (Chicago, 2017), brings classic anthropological writings on magical efficacy and charismatic agency into conversation with critical-theoretical takes on marketing, aesthetics, and the commodity image. Please visit for a sampling of Dr Mazzarella’s publications.

Selected publications: 

The Mana of Mass Society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 2017.

Censorium: Cinema and the Open Edge of Mass Publicity. Duke University Press. 2013. 

Read William Mazzarella’s biography on the Anthropology Department’s Website.


jennifer pitts Political Science 

Jennifer Pitts is Professor of Political Science and in the Committee on Social Thought Her research and teaching interests lie in the fields of modern political and international thought, particularly British and French thought of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; empire and post-colonial theory; the history of international law; and global justice. Her new book, Boundaries of the International: Law and Empire, was published by Harvard University Press in spring 2018; it explores European debates over legal relations with extra-European societies during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. She is also author of A Turn to Empire: the rise of imperial liberalism in Britain and France (Princeton 2005); co-editor of The Law of Nations in Global History (Oxford 2017); and editor and translator of Alexis de Tocqueville: writings on empire and slavery (Johns Hopkins 2001). She is a co-editor of the Cambridge University Press series Ideas in Context.

Selected publications: 

Striking Back,” review of Krishan Kumar, Visions of Empire, Times Literary Supplement, December 5, 2017

International relations and the critical history of international law,” International Relations 31.3 (2017), 282-298. 

Read Jennifer Pitts' biography on the Political Science Department's Website.

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Although he retired in 2007, William Sewell still teaches the occasional course and is a resident fellow of the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory. He is a founding editor of Critical Historical Studies, published by the University of Chicago Press. He has long been interested in the intersection between history and social theory. His most recent book, Logics of History: Social Theory and Social Transformation (Chicago, 2005), won an award in 2008 from the American Sociological Association for the best recent book in sociological theory. Most of his historical work has focused on modern France. He is currently working on the social and cultural history of capitalism in eighteenth-century France but has made a few forays into the history of contemporary capitalism. In 2004 Sewell was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He served as a trustee of the Institute for Advanced Study (2009–14) and as president of the Social Science History Association (2011–12).

Selected publications: 

Connecting Capitalism to the French Revolution: The Parisian Promenade and the Origins of Civic Equality in Eighteenth Century France." Critical Historical Studies 1, no. 1 (2014): 5–46.

Logics of History: Social Theory and Social Transformation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005.

Read Bill Sewell’s biography on the History Department’s Website.

Read Bill Sewell’s biography on the Political Science Department’s Website.

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Linda Zerilli Political Science  

Linda Marie-Gelsomina Zerilli is the Charles E. Merriam Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science and the College. She was the 2010-16 Faculty Director of the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality, where she continues in her capacity as a leading scholar and teacher in the field. Zerilli is the author of Signifying Woman (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1994), Feminism and the Abyss of Freedom (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005), A Democratic Theory of Judgment (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016), and articles on subjects ranging across feminist thought, the politics of language, aesthetics, democratic theory, and Continental philosophy. She has been a Fulbright Fellow, a two-time Member of the Institute for Advanced Study, and a Stanford Humanities Center Fellow. In 2016, Professor Zerilli won the University faculty award for excellence in graduate teaching and mentoring. She has served on the executive committee of Political Theory and the advisory boards of The American Political Science Review, Philosophy and Rhetoric, Constellations, and Culture,Theory and Critique. 

Selected publications: 

A Democratic Theory Of Judgment (University of Chicago Press, 2016).

"Value Pluralism and the Problem of Judgment: Farewell to Public Reason," Political Theory 40, No. 1 (February 2012): 6-32.

Read Linda Zerilli’s biography on the Political Science Department’s Website.