Historical Sociology From the South and The New School Legacy


The Conference will commence with a Round Table discussion featuring scholars who have incorporated global south perspectives into their historical social research.

The New School imagines itself as having an anti-establishment legacy both at the intellectual and political level. The image of The New School as a progressive institution persists with continuous references to that “progressive” legacy. However, many argue that this foundational myth is irreconcilable with institution’s inability to, ever since its conception, transcend its Eurocentric intellectual milieu, repeatedly marginalizing non-Western scholarship and dismissing attempts to incorporate global south and post-colonial perspectives into the canon of historical social research. While The New School’s tradition continues to inspire many students from around the world, including those from the “global south,” the problematic dominance of Eurocentric and universalist modes of thought need to be questioned and examined.

The round table will discuss the need to incorporate critical global south perspectives to challenge (euro)universal modes of social inquiry, as well as challenge the historical, “classical,” intellectual traditions at the New School.


Carlos Forment is the Associate Professor of Sociology at the New School for Social Research. His works deals with three sets of concerns: 1) providing a Tocquevillean account of the development of civic democracy in nineteenth century Latin America and a Latin American reading of Tocquevillean democracy in the modern west; 2) making sense of everyday forms of nationhood and selfhood in nineteenth century Latin America; and 3) understanding the way governmentalized populations across the global south, in the course of practicing everyday politics in the wake of neoliberalism, have transformed themselves into plebeian citizens. His scholarship engages with the works of Alexis de Tocqueville, Hannah Arendt, Michel Foucault and Jacques Ranciere.

His publications include Democracy in Latin America: Civic Selfhood and Public Life, vol I; Mexico and Peru (University of Chicago Press, 2003), La Formacion de la Sociedad Civil y la Democracia en el Peru(Editorial Universidad Catolica del Peru, 2012), and Shifting Frontiers of Citizenship: The Latin American Experience, co-editor with Mario Sznajder and Luis Roniger (Brill, 2013). His forthcoming works include Public Spaces of Sociability and Everyday Forms of Nationhood in Nineteenth Century Latin America, and The emergence of Plebeian Citizenship Across the Global South.

George SteinmetzGeorge Steinmetz

Professor Steinmetz is the Charles Tilly Collegiate Professor of Sociology in the Department of Sociology at the University of Michigan and a Corresponding Member of the Centre de Sociologie européenne, Paris. He is a social theorist and a historical sociologist of states, empires, and social science. He is currently working on two main projects. The first is a project on the emergence of sociology in the former British and French overseas colonies between the 1930s and the 1960s. The second is a reconstruction of sociology as historical socioanalysis. He has also worked on Germany and several of its former colonies (Namibia, Samoa, and Qingdao, China), on social policy at the local and central levels in imperial Germany, on visual sociology, on the rise and fall of the city of Detroit, on the epistemology of the human sciences, and on political and cultural theory.

He is the author of Sociology and Empire: The imperial Entanglements of a Disciplineand The Devil’s Handwriting: Precoloniality and the German Colonial State in Qingdao, Samoa, and Southwest Africa

Ann StolerJan5-NSSR-Profiles-Stoler

Ann Laura Stoler is Willy Brandt Distinguished University Professor of Anthropology and Historical Studies at The New School for Social Research. Stoler is the director of the Institute for Critical Social Inquiry. She taught at the University of Michigan from 1989-2003 and has been at the New School for Social Research since 2004, where she was the founding chair of its revitalized Anthropology Department. She has worked for some thirty years on the politics of knowledge, colonial governance, racial epistemologies, the sexual politics of empire, and ethnography of the archives. She has been a visiting professor at the École des Hautes Études, the École Normale Supérieure and Paris 8, Cornell University’s School of Criticism and Theory, Birzeit University in Ramallah,  the Johannesburg Workshop in Theory and Criticism, Irvine’s School of Arts and Literature, and the Bard Prison Initiative. She is the recipient of NEH, Guggenheim, NSF, SSRC, and Fulbright awards, among others. Recent interviews with her are available at Savage MindsLe Monde, and Public Culture, as well as Pacifica Radioand here.

Her books include Capitalism and Confrontation in Sumatra’s Plantation Belt, 1870–1979 (1985; 1995) Race and the Education of Desire: Foucault’s History of Sexuality and the Colonial Order of Things (1995), Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power: Race and the Intimate in Colonial Rule (2002, 2010), Along the Archival Grain: Epistemic Anxieties and Colonial Common Sense (2009) and the edited volumes Tensions of Empire: Colonial Cultures in a Bourgeois World (with Frederick Cooper, 1997), Haunted by Empire: Geographies of Intimacy in North American History (2006), Imperial Formations (with Carole McGranahan and Peter Perdue, 2007) and Imperial Debris: On Ruins and Ruination (2013). Duress: Imperial Durabilities in Our Times is forthcoming from Duke University Press. Her commitment to joining conceptual and historical research has lead to collaborative work with historians, literary scholars and philosophers, and most recently in the creation of the journal Political Concepts: A Critical Lexicon, of which she is one of the founding editors.

Professor Stoler is the Founding Director of the Institute for Critical Social Inquiry (ICSI)

Christy ThorntonThornton-website-picture

Christy Thornton is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the John Hopkins University, and a member of the core faculty for the Latin America in a Globalizing World Initiative.  She has been a fellow at the Weatherhead Initiative on Global History at Harvard University. Her research interests include comparative-historical sociology, global inequality and development, labor and social movements, Latin American political economy, and Mexican state formation.

Her current manuscript project, Revolution in Development: Mexico and the Governance of the Global Economy, under contract with the University of California Press, uses a case study of post-revolutionary Mexico to reexamine the origins of development as an international project. In addition, she is also working on a theorization of the links between neoliberalism, democracy, and the drug trade in contemporary Mexico.

She has co-edited The Development Imperative: Toward a People-Centered Approach (Social Science Research Council, 2005) and Real World Latin America: A Contemporary Economics and Social Policy Reader (Dollars & Sense, 2009)