Dr. Randall Collins, professor of sociology, has been named the Dorothy S. Thomas Professor of Sociology. Dr. Collins is a leading contemporary social theorist whose areas of expertise include the macro-historical sociology of political and economic change; micro-sociology, including face-to-face interaction; and the sociology of intellectuals and social conflict.
Dr. Collins has published 16 books, many of which have been reprinted as international editions—as well as more than 100 articles. His 1999 book, The Sociology of Philosophies: A Global Theory of Intellectual Change, earned him the Association of American Publishers’ Professional Scholarly Publishing Award in the category of sociology and anthropology, the American Sociological Association’s Distinguished Scholarly Publication Award and the Society for Social Studies of Science’s Ludwik Fleck Prize. His most recent book, Interaction Ritual Chains, was published by Princeton University Press in 2004. At present, he is completing a book entitled Violent Conflict: A Micro-sociological Theory.
In addition to his appointment in the sociology department, he is a member of the criminology department, the Solomon Asch Center for Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict and the graduate groups in both comparative literature and the history and sociology of science. A scholar of international distinction, Dr. Collins has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Sociological Research Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has also been a visiting fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.
Before he joined the faculty in 1997, Dr. Collins was professor and chair of the sociology department at the University of California at Riverside. He also taught at Harvard University, the University of Chicago and the University of Virginia. He holds his bachelor’s degree from Harvard College, master’s degree from Stanford University and doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley.
This chair was established by an anonymous donor in 1993 and is named in memory of Dr. Dorothy Swaine Thomas, who is considered one of the most accomplished sociologists of her generation. In addition to being the first female elected president of the American Sociological Association, Dr. Thomas was the first female professor in the Wharton School. When she retired from Penn in 1970, she was awarded an honorary doctorate for her influential work in the field of demography.
Almanac, Vol. 51, No. 28, April 12, 2005