Nicholas Wilson

Nicholas Wilson's picture
British Studies Postdoctoral Associate and Lecturer, Council on European Studies, Department of Sociology, Senior Fellow at the Center for Comparative Research
University of California-Berkeley Ph.D
Areas of Interest: 
Political Sociology and Social Movements; Culture/Knoiwledge; Theory, Historical Sociology, Methodology.
34 Hillhouse, Luce Hall
Phone number: 

Nicholas Wilson is British Studies Postdoctoral Associate and Lecturer in the Sociology Department. Nicholas studies political sociology, culture and social theory, with a focus on comparative and historical methods. He is a recent University of California-Berkeley Ph.D.

His dissertation traced a series of corruption scandals within the English East India Company’s colonial administration of India in the second half of the 18th century. These scandals structured the development of British colonialism; they also offer an analytical window into how colonialism, state formation, and knowledge intersect with organizational politics, morality, and agency.

Nicholas has developed several aspects of his dissertation into standalone articles. In “From Reflection to Refraction: State Administration in British India, ca. 1770-1855”, published in the American Journal of Sociology, Wilson argues that administrators’ conceptions of Indian similarity and difference were key factors in the development of forms of land revenue administration throughout the Indian subcontinent. He is also writing articles comparing both the macro and micro dimensions of corruption scandals in the Indian colonial administration, suggesting that these scandals led colonial administrators to an epochal social transition in which they distinguished state and society as different moral worlds. Finally, Wilson is analyzing a database, which he constructed, of administrators’ career histories to show how colonial administrative labor markets varied and how new strategies of governance diffused within them.

Research Paper


  • 2010 Leo Lowenthal Prize for Best Graduate Student Paper, Department of Sociology, UC Berkeley.
  • 2011 Best Graduate Student Paper Award, American Sociological Association Political Sociology Section.
  • 2012 Charles Tilly Prize for Best Article, American Sociological Association Comparative and Historical Sociology Section.