Craig Calhoun


Social Science Research Council

Craig Calhoun has served as the president of the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) since 1999. He also holds the title of University Professor of the Social Sciences at New York University and is the founding director of NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge. Under Calhoun’s leadership, the SSRC has initiated major projects on, among others, the public communication of social science knowledge, the privatization of risk, religion and the public sphere, HIV/AIDS, media reform and new communications technologies, transformations in knowledge production, Africa’s next generation of social scientists, African peacebuilding, and questions of how to assess and evaluate efforts to shape social change. Calhoun received his doctorate from Oxford University. He taught at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for 19 years, where he also served as dean of the Graduate School and director of the University Center for International Studies. He has been a visiting professor in China, Eritrea, France, Norway, and Sudan.

Throughout his career, Calhoun has been involved in projects bringing social science to bear on issues of public concern. These have ranged from consulting on rural education and development in North Carolina, to advising the Constitutional Commission of Eritrea, to helping develop communications infrastructure in Sudan. Most notably, he provided a detailed eyewitness account—and award-winning sociological analysis—of the student revolt in Tiananmen Square in his most popular work to date, Neither Gods nor Emperors: Students and the Struggle for Democracy in China (1994).

As an individual scholar, Calhoun has written on culture and communication, technology and social change, social theory and politics, and on the social sciences themselves. His most recent books include Cosmopolitanism and Belonging (forthcoming 2011), and Nations Matter: Culture, History, and the Cosmopolitan Dream (2007), and the University of Chicago Press is publishing a collection of his historical essays, entitled The Roots of Radicalism. As series editor, Calhoun has launched the SSRC Possible Futures collection on the historical and comparative dimensions of the recent global financial crisis: Business As Usual; The Deepening Crisis; and Aftermath (2011).