Thinking Against Empire: anticolonial thought as Social Theory

Hosted by the Department of Sociology and British Journal of Sociology

Online public event


Professor Julian Go

Professor Julian Go


Professor Nigel Dodd

Professor Nigel Dodd

Sociology was born in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as a project in, of, and for empire. Its concerns, theories, and epistemology therefore reflected the standpoint of metropolitan elites. Sociology today carries the legacies of this imperial tradition, including its analytic biases. This lecture excavates a tradition of social thought that grew alongside metropolitan sociology but has been marginalised by it: anticolonial thought.

Emerging from anticolonial movements, writers, and thinkers, anticolonial thought in nineteenth and twentieth centuries offered up distinct visions of the social and social relations, of politics and power, of humanity and the environment. Coming from a variety of thinkers (from indigenous activists in the Americas to educated elites in the American, Francophone and British colonies), anticolonial thought offers the basis for an alternative canon and corpus of sociological thinking to which we might turn as we seek to revitalise and globalise sociology today.

Meet our speaker and chair

Julian Go (@jgo34) is Professor of Sociology at the University of Chicago. His research lies at the intersections of historical sociology, social theory, and global studies. His theoretical work bridges critical social theory with postcolonial/decolonial and global social thought in an attempt to transcend the limits and biases of conventional theory in the social sciences.

Nigel Dodd (@nigelbdodd) is Professor in the Sociology Department at LSE. He obtained his PhD from the University of Cambridge in 1991 on the topic of Money in Social Theory, and lectured at the University of Liverpool before joining LSE in 1995. Nigel’s main interests are in the sociology of money, economic sociology and classical and contemporary social thought.

More about this event

The Department of Sociology (@LSEsociology) at LSE seeks to produce sociology that is public-facing, fully engaged with London as a global city, and with major contemporary debates in the intersection between economy, politics and society – with issues such as financialisation, inequality, migration, urban ecology, and climate change.

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