Julian Go

Julian Go


PhD, University of Chicago (2000)

Sociology 263 | 617.358.0638 | juliango@bu.edu

Homepage: http://people.bu.edu/juliango/
Network: Political Power and Social TheoryEmpire Network
Curriculum Vitae: PDF

BIO AND RESEARCH: Julian Go is Professor of Sociology at Boston University. Previously he was an Academy Scholar at the Academy for International and Area Studies of Harvard University. At BU, he is also a Faculty Affiliate in Asian Studies and the American Studies/New England Studies program. He has been a visiting scholar at the London School of Economics and Political Science, the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Lucerne University in Switzerland, and the Third World Studies Center at the University of the Philippines.He is former elected member of the Council and most recently Chair (2012-13) of the Comparative-Historical Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association. He is currently an elected council member of the Global & Transnational Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association. He is on the editorial boards of the journals Sociological Theory, Social Science History, and the American Journal of Cultural Sociology. Julian is also the editor of Political Power and Social TheoryHe received his B.A. in Sociology & Political Science from the University of Michigan (1992), his M.A. in sociology from the University of Chicago (1995) and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Chicago (2000). His teaching and research areas include comparative-historical sociology, globalization, cultural sociology, social theory, and colonialism and post-colonialism.

Julian has won the Wisneski Teaching Award for the College of Arts and Sciences at Boston University and the Templeton Award for Excellence in Student Advising.

Julian’s award-winning scholarship explores the dynamics and practices of power and meaning-making, particularly as they pertain to empires, colonial encounters, and postcolonial global formations. Much of his work has focused upon the United States empire. This research has resulted in various articles and various book projects: 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) (co-winner of the Mary Douglas Prize for Best Book from the Sociology of Culture Section of the American Sociological Association and Finalist for the Philippines National Book Award), and Patterns of Empire: the British and American Empires, 1688 to Present (Cambridge University Press, 2011), which won the prize for Best Book in Global &  Transnational Sociology from the American Sociological Association, the American Political Science Association’s J. David Greenstone Book Award for the Best Book in Politics and History in 2010 and 2011, the 2013 Francesco Guicciardini Prize for Best Book in Historical International Relations from the International Studies Association, and was one of Choice’s “Outstanding Academic Titles” in 2012.

More recently Julian has been writing about postcolonial thought and social theory and global historical sociology. On this, he has a forthcoming special volume of Sociological Review (co-edited with Monika Krause) on how Bourdieusian field theory can be rescaled for a transnational and global sociology and is putting together a collection of essays on Global Historical Sociology (with George Lawson of the LSE). The tentative title of his current book manuscript on postcolonial theory is Postcolonial Theory and Social Thought.



Appearance on Radio Pacifica’s “Against the Grain” radio program.

In The New Left Project on Patterns of Empire, interviewed by Alex Doherty

On Political Power and Social Theory, interviewed by Margaret Adolphus

On American Empire and the Politics of Meaning, interviewed by Karen Barkey from Trajectories


Recent Books

2011. Patterns of Empire: the British and American Empires, 1688 to Present (Cambridge University Press).

Winner, Prize for Best Book in Global & Transnational Sociology, American Sociological Association, 2012; Winner, American Political Science Association J. David Greenstone Book Award for the best book in Politics and History in 2010 and 2011; Winner, the 2013 Francesco Guicciardini Prize for Best Book in Historical International Relations from the International Studies Association; Choice, “Outstanding Academic Title” of 2012

2008. American Empire and the Politics of Meaning: Elite Political Cultures in the Philippines and Puerto Rico. Duke University Press.

Co-Winner, Mary Douglas Prize for Best Book, Sociology of Culture Section, American Sociological Association, 2009; Finalist, National Book Awards, Philippines, 2009.

Edited Books

2013. Editor, Postcolonial Sociologies. Special Volume of Political Power and Social Theory. Emerald Publishers

2003. co-edited with Anne Foster. The American Colonial State in the Philippines: Global Perspectives. Durham: Duke University Press.


Recent Articles & Chapters

Forthcoming. “The Historical Sociology of Empires: Response to Critics  (part of book forum on Patterns of Empire), Comparative Studies in South Asia, Africa and the Middle East (accepted 4/25/14)

Forthcoming. “Capital, Containment and Competition: The Dynamics of British Imperialism, 1730-1939. Social Science History

Forthcoming. “Beyond Metrocentrism: Empire and Globalism in Early US Sociology.” Journal of Classical Sociology

Forthcoming. “Occluding the Global: Analytic Bifurcation, Causal Scientism, and Alternatives in Historical Sociology.” Journal of Globalization Studies

2013. “A global-historical sociology of power: on Mann’s concluding volumes to The sources of social power” (Review Essay) International Affairs 89(6)

2013. “Introduction: Entangling Postcoloniality and Sociological Thought” Political Power and Social Theory (Special volume on Postcolonial Sociology) 24: 3-31.

2013. “For a Postcolonial Sociology.” Theory & Society 42(1): 25-55

2013. “Fanon’s Postcolonial Cosmopolitanism.” European Journal of Social Theory 16(2): 208-225

2013. “Decolonizing Bourdieu: Colonial and Postcolonial Theory in Pierre Bourdieu’s Early Work. Sociological Theory 31(1)

2013. “Sociology’s Imperial Unconscious: Early American Sociology in a Global Context.” inSociology and Empire, edited by George Steinmetz. Durham: Duke University Press.

2012. “Entangled Empires: Transitions to the American Era“ in Alfred McCoy, ed., Eclipse of Empires. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.

2009. “The ‘New’ Sociology of Empire and Colonialism” Sociology Compass 3: 775-788.

2008. “Global Fields and Imperial Forms: Field Theory and the US and British Empires.” Sociological Theory 26(3): 201-229.

2007. “The Provinciality of American Empire: ‘Liberal Exceptionalism and US Colonial Rule.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 49 (1): 74-108.

2007. “Waves of American Empire, 1787-2003: US Hegemony and Imperialistic Activity from the Shores of Tripoli to Iraq.”International Sociology 22(1): 5-40.

See PDF for complete publications list.


Julian’s Favorite Quotes from his students’ papers:


” As the Global North continues to consume the care that is imported in order to fill the ‘care deficit’ that is inevitably caused by globalization, the Global Care Chain will continue to grow at the cost of Third World Latina working women.”
-Jenna Katz, BU ’14 (final paper, SO534: Global Sociology)

“the main capitalist mechanisms such as structural adjustment, accumulation by dispossession, cultural commodification, and biopiracy…contribute to the deceitful nature of tourism that largely separates the tranquil tourist vacation from the harsh realities of a local.”
-Erica Singer, BU ’14 (final paper, SO534: Global Sociology)

“Porn is not trying to end racism; quite the opposite, it normalizes it.”
-Aubrey Reuben, BU ’14 (final paper, SO534: Global Sociology)

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