Julia Adams

Julia Adams's picture
Margaret H. Marshall Professor of Sociology
Areas of Interest: 
Comparative and Historical Sociology; Culture and Knowledge; Family/Gender/Sexuality; Global, Regional and Transnational Sociology; Political Sociology and Social Movements; Theory
493 College Street, Room 202

Julia Adams is on sabbatical for the 2024-25 academic year.

Julia Adams teaches and conducts research in the areas of state building; gender and family; social theory and knowledge; early modern European politics, and colonialism and empire. Her current research focuses on (1) large-scale forms of patrimonial politics; (2) the historical sociology of agency relations and modernity, and (3) gender, race, and the representation of academic knowledge on Wikipedia and other digital platforms.

Adams is Margaret H. Marshall Professor of Sociology. She also co-directs YaleCHESS (Center for Historical Enquiry and the Social Sciences) and is on the Board of Reed College.

Adams received a National Science Foundation grant for Collaborative research with Hannah Bruckner (Vice-Provost for Faculty Diversity, NYU-Abu Dhabi) on “Wikipedia and the Democratization of Academic Knowledge. “ The investigators are analyzing the representation of scholars and scholarship, including gender- and race - specific patterns. One of the project’s goals is to contribute to improving quality and reducing potential bias on digital platforms.

Adams’ book The Familial State: Ruling Families and Merchant Capitalism in Early Modern Europe (Cornell University Press, 2005) won the Gaddis Smith Book Prize.  Click here to see a related interview. With Mounira Maya Charrad, she co-edited a 2015 Political Power and Social Theory volume titled Patrimonial Capitalism and Empire and 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, Adams edited Remaking Modernity: Politics, History, and Sociology (Duke University Press, 2005). Her work has twice won the Barrington Moore Jr. Award for Best Article given by the ASA section in Comparative and Historical Sociology.

At Yale she has chaired the department of Sociology and the Council of Heads of College; directed the Division of the Social Sciences; the Fox International Fellowship Program, and the International Affairs Council at the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies. She was also Deputy Provost for Social Sciences and Faculty Development and Diversity. From 2014-24, Adams served as the last Master of Calhoun College and the first Head of Grace Hopper College at Yale. Beginning in academic year 2025-6, she will chair the European Studies Council at the MacMillan Center.

Adams/Brückner Wikipedia Research Project

SSHA Presidential Address

  • Adams’ presidential address, “1-800-How-Am-I-Driving? Agency in Social Science History” is available for download on the SSHA web site. The complete written version can be found in Vol. 35 #1 (Spring 2011) of Social Science History, pp. 1-17.

Recent Publications

Books and Volumes
Selected Articles
Series Editor

Courses and Seminars

  • SOCY018, The Sociological Imagination (Freshman Seminar)
  • SOCY115, Contemporary American Society
  • SOCY160, Methods of Inquiry
  • SOCY210, Sociology of the Welfare State
  • SOCY542, Sociological Theory
  • SOCY557, Political Sociology
  • SOCY520/HIST972, Revolutions 
  • SOCY560/PLSC734, Comparative Research Workshop
  • SOCY590b/HIST610b, Early Modern Empires: Theory and History.
  • SOCY612, Agency and Action.