Recognized as one of the leading programs in historical sociology, the Department of Sociology offers a community of faculty and graduate students interested in applying sociological reasoning and methods to historical issues, as well as using historical topics to advance sociological understanding. Within the department, interests in historical analysis crosscut many other areas of specialization including social change, organizations, culture, and political sociology. Combined with these substantive interests members of the department have been instrumental in advancing new models and methods for the study of historical processes, such as sequence analysis and the importance of temporal context. In addition to the expertise within the department, graduate students can take advantage of the wide range of courses and workshops offered in the Social Science Division. Working in different substantive areas and examining different historical periods, the following cluster of faculty is focused on general questions of historical processes and change.


Andrew Abbott

Elisabeth Clemens

Dingxin Zhao

Faculty Contact:

Elisabeth Clemens

Other Resources:

Graduate students interested in political sociology often work closely with members of other departments, including Anthropology, History and Political Science. Among others, William Sewell (Political Science and History) and John Padgett (Political Science) have worked with sociology graduate students interested in historical research. The Committee on Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences [] sponsors a wide range of graduate workshops on topics including Ancient Societies, Rethinking Traditional China, and Comparative Colonialism to name only three. For further details on a few of the many workshops and research centers on campus, see:

Interdisciplinary Approaches to American Political History

Nicholson Center for British Studies

Social History Workshop

The Committee on the Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science