Anticolonial Thought and the Sociological Imagination

Thematic Cycles and Seminars
Wed . 15 Mar . 15h00
Sala Maria de Sousa & Zoom
Anticolonial Thought and the Sociological Imagination
Julian Go, The University of Chicago
Sofia Aboim, Filipe Carreira da Silva (ICS-ULisboa)


quarta . 15 Março 2023 . 15H00


Link Zoom:



Julian Go, The University of Chicago

“Anticolonial Thought and the Sociological Imagination”

Abstract: This lecture claims that anticolonial movements, activists and thinkers around the world offer a vital tradition of social thought that might serve as an alternative to conventional imperial sociology today. Conventional imperial sociology first emerged in dominant metropoles as a knowledge project for empire. Anticolonial thought in nineteenth and twentieth centuries, produced by a variety of writers (from indigenous activists in the Americas like Laura Cornelius Kellogg to educated elites and organic intellectuals in the colonies like Amilcar Cabral, Frantz Fanon, Mabel Dove or Apolinario Mabini), offers distinct visions of society, social relations, and social structure, along with generative approaches to the social self, social solidarity and global relations. Anticolonial thought thus offers the basis for an alternative sociological imagination that we should enlist as we seek to decolonize knowledge and produce new postcolonial sociologies.

Short Bio:   Julian Go is Professor of Sociology at the University of Chicago, where he is also a member of the Committee on International Relations, a Faculty Affiliate of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture, and Senior Fellow of the University of Chicago Society of Fellows. Julian Go’s research explores the social logics, forms and impact of empires and colonialism; postcolonial/decolonial thought and related questions of social theory, epistemology, and knowledge; and global historical sociology. Much of Go’s work has focused on the US empire, resulting in articles and books such as The American Colonial State in the Philippines: Global Perspectives (co-edited with Anne Foster, Duke University Press, 2003), American Empire and the Politics of Meaning (Duke University Press, 2008) and Patterns of Empire: the British and American Empires, 1688 to Present (Cambridge University Press, 2011). His other work is on postcolonial thought and social theory, culminating in his book Postcolonial Thought and Social Theory, Oxford, 2016; and global historical sociology and transnational field theory: Fielding Transnationalism (co-edited with Monika Krause, Wiley & Sons, 2016) and Global Historical Sociology, co-edited with George Lawson (Cambridge, 2016).  His most recent book, Policing Empires: Militarization and Race in Britain and America, 1829-present (Oxford, forthcoming) explores imperialism’s impact upon police militarization in the US and Britain. He is also working on a project that recovers anticolonial thought as a critical form of social theory. His scholarship has won prizes from the American Sociological Association, the Eastern Sociological Society, the American Political Science Association, and the International Studies Association, among other institutions. He is the winner of Lewis A. Coser Award for Theoretical Agenda Setting in Sociology given by the American Sociological Association. In 2021-2022, Julian will serve as the President of the Social Science History Association. For a full list of his publications, see his Curriculum Vitae.

Org:  Project Race Trouble  (FCT-2022.04225.PTDC.)