Meet the Faculty

Dr. Charles Lemert, M.A., D.Lit, Ph.D.

Personal Statement

Charles Lemert earned the PhD from Harvard in 1972 where he specialized in urban studies and social ethics. Before that he took a BA in biology and embryology at Miami University in Ohio and a Masters in theology and the philosophy of religion at Andover Newton Seminary at Yale Divinity School.

After serving as a United Church of Christ minister in Needham, Massachusetts, Columbus, Ohio, and Croydon, New Hampshire, he turned to urban sociology late in the 1960s. His first teaching position was at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois. In 1981 he joined the sociology faculty at Wesleyan University in Connecticut where he became Chair of the Department and, for a while, Dean of Social Sciences. He eventually became John C. Andrus Professor of Sociology, then University Professor before retirement in 2014, after which he was a member and eventually director of the Senior Research Scholar Seminar in the Social Sciences at Yale University.

Lemert has taught at BGSP for some years, after having served as Chair of BGSP’s Board of Directors. He has held a good many international teaching positions at the University of the West of England, Flinders University, the University of South Australia, University of Alberta, American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, among others–and has lectured widely in Seoul, Taipei, Istanbul, Helsinki, Oxford, Mexico, as well as across the United States.

rt is the author or editor of 35 books and some 300 scholarly articles. He is currently at work on Americans Thinking America, Silence and Society, The Uncertain Future of Capitalism (with Kristin Plys of the University of Toronto), and the 7th edition of Social Theory: The Classical, Multicultural, and Global Readings which some consider a leading text book in the field.

Though Charles Lemert studied at BGSP for a number of years, he is not a psychoanalyst. His teaching has been in the school’s Culture and Psychoanalysis doctoral program. His publications in psychoanalytic and related topics include: “Say Everything! The Social Imperative?” a foreword to Phyllis Meadow, The New Psychoanalysis (2003); The Structural Lie: Small Clues to Global Things (Routledge/Paradigm, 2011); and “Noise and Psychoanalytic Discourse,” Contemporary Psychoanalysis (2018).


Program Affiliation

Programs in Psychoanalysis, Society and Culture


Harvard University (Cambridge, MA), Ph.D., 1972

Andover Newton Seminary at Yale Divinity School), B.D., 1963

Miami University (Oxford, OH), B.A., 1959

Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT), M.A. ad eundem grandum, 1982

University of the West of England (Bristol, UK), D. Litt. honoris causa, 2004



Social Theory: Classical, Global, and Multicultural Readings (6e Routledge, 2017); 5e, twentieth anniversary edition); 7e forthcoming 2020.

Globalization: Introduction to the End of the Known World (Routledge, 2015)

Contemporary Social Theory, with Anthony Elliott (Routledge, 2014)

Uncertain Worlds: World-Systems Analysis in Changing Times, with Immanuel Wallerstein and Carlos Aguirre Rojas (Routledge, 2013)

Why Niebuhr Matters (Yale University Press, 2011)

The Structural Lie: Small Clues to Global Things (Paradigm, 2011)

Globalization: A Reader with Anthony Elliott, Daniel Chaffee, Eric Hsu (Routledge 2010)

The Race of Time: A Charles Lemert Reader, edited by Daniel Chaffee and Sam Han, with Charles Lemert (Paradigm, 2010)

The New Individualism, with Anthony Elliott (Routledge, 2009; new and revised edition, in press). Spanish translation (2009); Japanese translation (2010)

Thinking the Unthinkable: The Riddles of Classical Social Theories (Routledge/Paradigm, 2007)

Durkheim’s Ghosts: Cultural Logics and Social Things (Cambridge University Press, 2006). Turkish edition (2011)

Deadly Worlds: The Emotional Costs of Globalization, with Anthony Elliott (Rowman & Littlefield NA, 2006; world rights: Routledge, UK, 2006 as The New Individualism; Italian edition, 2008)

The Souls of WEB Du Bois, with Alford A. Young, Jr., Jerry G. Watts, Manning Marable & Elizabeth Higginbotham (Boulder & London: Paradigm Publishers, 2006)

Social Things (Rowman & Littlefield, 5e revised 15th anniversary edition, 2012; 4e, 2008; 3e revised & enlarged, 2005; 2e, 2001; 1e 1997; German and Danish editions, 2004); 5e, 2012..

Postmodernism Is Not What You Think (Paradigm Publishers, 2005; 2e revised & enlarged; forthcoming; original publisher: Blackwell, 1997;  Portuguese/Brazilian Edition, 2001; with new preface).

Sociology After the Crisis (Paradigm Publishers, 2004; 2e revised & enlarged; original publisher: Perseus Books, 1995-2002)

Social Theory: The Multicultural and Classical Readings (Perseus/Basic Books, 2005, 3e edition revised; 1e & 2e: Westview Press/Perseus, 1993; revised edition with new section on Globalization, 2e, 1998; 3e, 2005; 4e, 2009)

Muhammad Ali: Trickster and the Culture of Irony (Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2003; Japanese translation: 2005)

Dark Thoughts: Race and the Eclipse of Society (Routledge, 2002

The Goffman Reader, edited with introductions, with Ann Branaman](Basil Blackwell, 2e revised, 2005; 1997, 1e).

Crime and Deviance: Essays and Innovations by Edwin Lemert, edited, with Michael Winter (Rowman & Littlefield, 2000)

The Voice of Anna Julia Cooper, edited, with Esme Bhan; previously unpublished writings of AJC; along with A Voice from the South [with an introduction by CCL] (Rowman & Littlefield, 1998)

Intellectuals and Politics: Social Theory beyond the Academy (Los Angeles: Sage Publications, 1990).

Michel Foucault: Social Theory and Transgression, with Garth Gillan (New York: Columbia University Press, 1983; paperback edition, 1984; Japanese edition, 1990; Polish edition, 1999).

French Sociology: Rupture and Renewal since 1968 (Columbia University Press, 1981).

Sociology and the Twilight of Man: Homocentrism and Discourse in Sociological Theory (Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 1979)

Editorial Projects

Great Barrington Books/Bringing the Old and New Together--an Imprint of Routledge/ Paradigm (2003 - ). Published to date (excluding several books of my own):

  • Tom Hayden, Radical Nomad: C. Wright Mills and His Times (2006)
  • Joel Pfister, Critique for What? Cultural, American, & Left Studies (2006)
  • Scott J. Myers-Lipton, Social Solutions to Poverty (2006)
  • Peter Bratsis , Everyday Life and the State (2006)
  • Alford A. Young Jr et al, Souls of WEB Du Bois (2006)
  • Harold Garfinkel, Seeing Sociologically (2005)
  • Kyung-Man Kim, Discourses on Liberation (2005)
  • William Swatos and Lutz Kaelber, The Protestant Ethic Turns 100 (2005)
  • E.B. Du Bois, Souls of Black Folk, Centenary Edition (2004 [sic])
  • Derek Sayer, Going Down for Air (2004)
  • Avery Gordon, Keeping Good Time (2004)

Global Realities (Routledge Geography and Urban Studies List, 2001-03; 2006-7) twelve books published.

Social Studies across the Borders, edited with Avery Gordon (Duke University Press, 2001- 2003)—two books published

New Social Formations, (Rowman & Littlefield, 2000- ) nine books published to date:

Legacies of Social Thought, (Rowman & Littlefield, 1999 -). Books published to date by Charles Tilly, Elliott Liebow, Anna Julia Cooper, Edwin Lemert, Herbert Gans, Max Weber, Harold Garfinkel, among others.

Rereading the Classics, edited with Patricia Clough, as special issue of The Sociological Quarterly 35 (1994).

Twentieth Century Social Theory, edited by CCL (Basil Blackwell, 1993 – 1999. Books published in the series:

  • Jeff Alexander, Beyond Neo-Functionalism;
  • Craig Calhoun, Critical Social Theory;
  • Norman Denzin, Cultural Studies and Symbolic Interactionism;
  • Patricia Clough, Feminist Social Theory;
  • Charles Lemert, Postmodernism is Not What You Think;
  • Steven Seidman, Queer Theory/Sociology.

Breaking the Boundaries: Social Theory and the Sixties, edited [with David Swartz], a special issue of Theory and Society (Fall 1988).

Alvin W. Gouldner: Special Memorial Issue, Theory and Society (Nov. 1982).  Edited with an introduction by CCL.

Articles, Chapters, and Essays

“Noise and Psychoanalytic Discourse,” Contemporary Psychoanalysis (April 2018)

“Durkheim’s Ghost: Paris, Germany, Turkey, Turkish Journal of Sociology

(Summer, 2018)

“Durkheim’s Ghost: 1917-2017,” Soziopolis (Hamburger Institut für Sozialforschung @ www.soziopolis.de, 2017)

“Slouching Toward Inequality,” Brazilian Journal of Sociology (2016)

“Charlotte Perkins Gilman,” The Oxford University Press Bibliographic Encyclopedia for Sociology (2016)

“1950 and the Crisis of the American Interior,” Fast Capitalism (Fall, 2015).

“Object Lessons,” Contemporary Sociology (2015)

“Politics and the Impossible Pulpit,” Reflections: Yale Divinity School 99:2 (2012): 62-65

“Sociology’s Third Problem,” Contemporary Sociology 41:4 (2012): 423-29)

“The Dead, the Living, and the Yet to Be Born,” Contexts (2011)

“Money? Really!” Preface to Georg Simmel, The Philosophy of Money (Routledge Classics Edition, 2011)

“Identity: Its History from the Greeks through the Italians,” Routledge Handbook of Identity, 2011)

“Postmodern Consumption”, “Commodification” The Encyclopedia of Consumer Culture (Sage 2010)

“Goffman, Still: Spoiled Identities,” in Michael Hviid Jackbsen, The Contemporary Goffman (Routledge, 2010).

“What is Social Theory?” Routledge Handbook of Social Theory, edited by Anthony Elliott with Dan Mendelssohn (Routledge, 2010)

“From City to Cityness,” preface to AbdulMaliq Simone, City Life: From Kakarta to Dakar (Routledge, 2010)

Preface to James Tyner, Military Legacies: A World Made by War (Routledge, 2010)

“Whither the Time of World Structures after the Decline of Modern Space," with Sam Han, Review, XXXI, 4 (2009).

“Hic et Nunc: Johanna Justin-Jinich” Fast Capitalism (2009)

“The Mystery of the Social Betweens,” preface to David Westbrook, Beyond Citizen and State (Paradigm, 2008)

“Death, Justice & Freedom: Does Global Knowledge Change the Rules?” in Nico Stehr, ed. Is Freedom the Daughter of Knowledge (Transaction Books, 2008)

“Resetting the Temperature: Are Technomedia Cool or Hot or Other?” preface to Sam Han, Navigating Technomedia (Rowman & Littlefield, 2008)

“December 31, 2007: Death and the End of an Era?” Canadian Journal of Sociology (March 2008)

“Structuralisms” with Daniel Chaffee, in The Blackwell Companion to Social Theory, edited by Bryan Turner (Oxford: Blackwell: 2008)

“Liquid Waste, Being Human, Bodily Death,” with Makenna Goodman in  The Contemporary Bauman (edited by Anthony Elliott; Routledge, 2007)

“1948 & the Origins of the Big Lie in America” Irish Journal of Sociology (2007): 7:1

“Identities, Individualisms, and Aggression,” (Sage, 2008)

“Is the World Coming Apart?” Adelaide Advertizer (March 10, 2007).

“Baudrillard and Mao: Violence as Surprise and Possibility” Fast Capitalism (2007) 2:2.

“The New Individualism and its Contradictions” Arena Magazine: Australian Journal of Left Political, Social and Culture Commentary (April-May 2006), with Anthony Elliott

“Betty Friedan & Simon de Beauvoir,” Fast Capitalism 2:1 (2006)

“The Poor, Always with Us” foreword to Scott J. Myers-Lipton, Social Solutions to Poverty (Paradigm, 2006)

“Culture as the Zero Signifier of Politics”, afterword to Joel Pfister, Critique for What? (Paradigm, 2006)

“The Indexical Properties of Sociological Time” foreword to Harold Garfinkel, Seeing Sociologically (Paradigm, 2005)

“Liberating Critical Talk,” foreword to Kyung-Man Kim, Discourses on Liberation (Paradigm, 2005)

“The Risk of Scholarship”  foreword to Gila Hayim, Instability & Culture in Complex Systems  (Metheun, 2005)

“Cultural Politics & the Negro Soul,” in Alford Young, et al., Souls of WEB Du Bois (Paradigm, 2006)

“On the Aging of Social Theory” foreword to Aging & Social Theory (Rowman & Littlefield, 2005)

“Why Mills and Not Gouldner,” Fast Capitalism 1:2 (2005)

“After Mills: 1962 and Bad Dreams of Good Times,” essay included in Tom Hayden’s Radical Nomad (Paradigm, 2006)

“Ethnicity,” “race,” “sociology,” “WEB Du Bois,” “Robert K. Merton,” and other entries in the Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology.

“Slow Thoughts for Fast Times: On Reinhold Niebuhr,” Fast Capitalism 1:1 (first contribution of a regular column in a new journal).

Said & “Edward”: Dispossession and Overcoming Nostalgia, in Sociological Practice (2005/ special issue on the legacy of Edward Said)

“Anna Julia Cooper” Black Women in America, edited by Darlene Clark Hine (Oxford University Press, 2005).

“Can the Worlds be Changed? On Ethics and the Multicultural Dream,” Thesis 11 (Summer, 2004).

“Rethinking the Unthinkable After 2001” introductory essay for new section of Social Theory (3e; Perseus/Basic Books, 2004).

“The Black Man of the City,” prefatory essay 5,000 words for a special re-issue of Elliott Liebow’s Tally’s Corner (Rowman & Littlefield, 2004).

“The Analytic Foundations of Social Violence,” Journal of Modern Psychoanalysis (Winter, 2004)

 “The Cultured Souls of W.E.B. Du Bois,” foreword for a centenary re-issue of W.E.B. Du Bois, Souls of Black Folk, with Manny Marable (Boulder & London:  Paradigm Publishers, 2003/04).

“Say Everything/ the Social Imperative,” foreword to Phyllis Meadow, The New Psychoanalysis (Rowman & Littlefield, 2004).

“Against Capital-S Sociology,” Sociological Theory (Spring, 2003).

Schools and Scholars Durkheim’s Ghosts,” Journal of Historical Sociology 16:3 (Sept 2003): 303-319.

“Max Weber: A Man of Many Words,” foreword to Max Weber’s History of Commercial Partnerships in the Middle Ages (translated by Lutz Kaelber for Rowman & Littlefield, 2003).

“Michel Foucault,” Entry (5,000 words) for The Encyclopedia of Social Theory (Sage 2004)

“W.E.B. Du Bois,” Entry (5,000 words) for The Encyclopedia of Social Theory (Sage 2004)

“Genealogy,” Entry (1,000 words) for The Encyclopedia of Social Theory (Sage 2004)

“Discourse,” Entry (1,000 words) for The Encyclopedia of Social Theory (Sage 2004)

“Governmentality,” Entry (1,000 words) for The Encyclopedia of Social Theory (Sage 2004)

“Goffman’s Enigma,” essay (4,000 words) for Goffman, edited by Javier Trevino (Roman & Littlefield, 2003)

“Can Critical Realism be Critical? Review Margaret Archer, Being Human: The Problem of  Agency,” for The International Journal of Sociology and Family Studies (Winter 2003).

“The System of Future Worlds,” New Theoretical Directions for the Twenty-first Century of World System, edited by Wilma Dunaway (Greenwood Press, 2002 or 2003)

“Poetry and Public Sociology” Cultural Studies/Critical Methods (Fall 2002)

“After the Wizard, What?” Qualitative Sociology (Spring, 2002) (with Audrey Sprenger)

“Michel Foucault,” Dictionnaire de Sociologie (Presses Universitaires de France), 2006.

“The Race of Time: W.E.B. Du Bois and Black Reconstruction,” boundary 2 27(2001):3:214-248.

“Sailing in Bad Postmodern Wind,” Sociological Perspectives 43(2001):3: 387-399.

“The Might Have Been and Could Be of Religion in Social Theory,” Sociological Theory 17 (Nov 99) 3: 240-264.

“The Clothes Have No Emperor,” Theory, Culture and Society 17(2001):1:97-106.

“A World of Differences,” Theorizing Modernity, Martin O’Brien et al, editors (London: Longman, 1998)

"Charlotte Perkins Gilman" in George Ritzer, editor, Blackwell Reader in Social Theory (Blackwell, 2001), pp. 279-302.

"W.E.B. Du Bois," in George Ritzer, editor, Blackwell Reader in Social Theory (Blackwell, 2001), pp. 345-367.

“Multiculturalism,” in George Ritzer and Barry Smart, editors, Handbook of Social Theory (Sage, 2001), pp. 297-308.

“Searching for the Millennium,” in Social Theory: Classical and Multicultural Readings (Westview/Perseus, 1998; introduction to a new section in the 2e).

"Who's In? Who's Out?" in Dan Clawson, Required Reading (University of Massachusetts Press, 1998).

"Social Ethics?" Journal for the Theory of Social Behavior (summer, 1997).

"Knowledge or Knowledges? International Journal of Culture, Politics, and Society (winter, 1998).

Review of The French Intellectual Nobility, American Journal of Sociology (fall, 1997).

"Listen, But Don't Touch," Perspectives: ASA Theory Section Newsletter (June, 1997).

"Representations of the Sociologist: Getting Over the Crisis," Sociological Forum 11/2 (Jun, 1996).

"Postmodernism Is Not What You Think," in George Ritzer and Craig Calhoun, editors, Primis Series (McGraw-Hill, 1996)

Feature Essay: on W.E.B. Du Bois (review of David Levering Lewis, WEB Du Bois) Contemporary Sociology 24 (1995) 164-166.

"Social Theory at the Early End of a Short Century," Sociological Theory 12 (2, July 1994): 140-152.

"Review of Ben Agger, Gender, Power and Culture," The American Journal of Sociology (1994)

"A Preface to Rereading," The Sociological Quarterly 36 (1994), with Patricia Clough.

"A Classic From the Other Side of the Veil: W.E.B. Du Bois' Souls of Black Folk, The Sociological Quarterly 36 (1994):383-396.

"The Canonical Limits of Durkheim's First Classic," Sociological Forum 9 (March, 1994): 87-93.

"Dark Thoughts on the Self," in Craig Calhoun, editor, Social Theory and the Politics of Identity (Basil Blackwell, 1994).

"What's Real After All These Years?" Perspectives: ASA Theory Section Newsletter 15 (1992) 10-11.

"Sez Who?" (Reply to Rogers), Sociological Theory 10 (1992) 244-247.

"Political Semiotics and the Zero Signifier in Semiotics," in Pertti Ahonen, editor,  Semiotics and Politics (Berlin: Walter de Gruyer & Co., 1993).

"Subjectivity's Limit: The Unsolved Riddle of the Standpoint," Sociological Theory 10 (1992):63-73.

“Sociological Metatheory and Its Cultured Despisers," in George Ritzer, editor,  Sociological Metatheory (Sage, 1992).

"End of Ideology, Really," Sociological Theory 9 (Fall 1991): 164-172.

"The Uses of French Structuralisms in Sociology," in George Ritzer, editor,  Frontiers of Social Theory (Columbia University Press, 1990.)

Review of Pierre Bourdieu (1991), In Other Words, The American Journal Sociology (Summer 1991).

Review of Lynn Hunt, New Cultural History for French Politics and Society (1991).

"The Politics of Theory and the Limits of Academy," in Lemert, editor,  Intellectuals and Politics (Sage, 1990).

"Politics of Semiotics and the Semiotics of Politics," in Sakari Hanninen and Kari Palonen, editors., Texts, Contexts, Concepts: Studies on Politics and Power in Language, (Helsinki, 1990).

"Habits of Intellectuals: Response to Fritz Ringer," Theory and Society 19 (1990): 295-310

"Irony and General Social Theory," in Steven Seidman and David Wagner, editors, Postmodernism and General Social Theory (Basil Blackwell, 1990).

"Shallowness of Depth: A Critique of the Major in Undergraduate Education,"  Liberal Education (Fall 1989).

"Theoretical Method: A Response to Turner," Journal of the Theory of Social Behavior (Spring 1989).

Review of Alan Sica, Weber, Irrationality, and Order, The American Journal of Sociology (1989).

Review of Mark Poster, Jean Baudrillard, Contemporary Sociology, 1989.

"The Future of the Sixties Generation and Social Theory," Theory and Society (Fall 1988) 17: 789-807.

"Intellectuals and Politics," Perspectives:(Newsletter of American Sociological Association Theory Section (Oct. 1988).

"What's Become of Talk," (1988), H.J. O’Gorman, editor, Surveying Social Life: Papers in Honor of Herbert H. Hyman (Wesleyan University Press).

"French Sociology: After the Patrons What?" Contemporary Sociology (1986).

"Whole Life Social Theory" Theory and Society 15 (1986):431-442.

"Prometheus Among the Sciences of Man," boundary 2 (winter, 1985).) 

"Beyond Structuralism: From LeviStrauss to Derrida," [Review Essay] Contemporary Sociology 11 (November 1982):6.

"Structure, Instruments, and Reading in Sociology: The Case of Nurses' Compliance with Medical Doctors," with Willard Nielsen, in Ino Rossi, editor, Structuralism and Sociology (New York: Columbia University Press, 1982).

"Literary Politics and French Sociology," Theory and Society 10 (1981): 645669.

"Science, Religion and Secularization," The Sociological Quarterly 20 (Autumn, 1979): 445461.

"Language, Structure, and Measurement: Structuralist Semiotics and Sociology," American Journal of Sociology 84 (1979),1: 92957.

"Decentered Analysis: Ethnomethodology and Structuralism," Theory and Society 7 (1979), 3: 96111.

"Structural Semiotics and the Decentering of Sociology," in Scott McNall, editor, Theoretical Perspectives in Sociology (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1979), pp. 289306.

"Theorizing, Policy Making and the Critique of Europeanism," Review of Religious Research 21(1979), 1323.

"The New Alternative in Critical Sociology: Foucault's Discursive Analysis," with Garth Gillan, Cultural Hermeneutics 3 (1978), 4.

"Religion, Social Structure, and the Absent Center: An Alternative to the New Sociologies of Religion," Sociological Analysis36 (1975), 2: 95107.

"Defining NonChurch Religion," Review of Religious Research 16 (1975), 3: 154165.

"Cultural Multiplexity and Religious Polytheism," Social Compass 21 (1974), 2 93104.

"Sociological Theory and the Relativistic Paradigm," Social Inquiry 44 (1974), 2: 93104.

"Suburbs and Steppenwolf," Andover Newton Quarterly 11 (1971), 4: 171182.

"What Has Athens To Do With Jerusalem? An Analysis of Urban Studies Programs," in Robert C. Wood, editor, The Role of University Based Urban Centers (Cambridge, MA: Joint Center for Urban Studies Publications, 1971).