Adams appointed Margaret H. Marshall Professor of Sociology
Julia Adams has been appointed the Margaret H. Marshall Professor of Sociology, effective immediately. Her ground-breaking scholarship has shown how familial structures fundamentally transformed early modern European state-building, colonialism and empire.
She is a member of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences in the Department of Sociology. She is also the Head of College for Grace Hopper College.
The Margaret H. Marshall Professorship recognizes both her field-changing scholarship and exceptional faculty service to the university.
Adams joined the Yale faculty in 2004 after serving as Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and associate professor of sociology at the University of Michigan. In addition to her work on state formation, she has written extensively on the historical sociology of family and gender. She also teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses on social theory. Her current research interests are wide ranging: ongoing projects address agency relations and transitions to modernity, and race, gender, and the representation of academic knowledge on Wikipedia and other digital platforms.
Her book “The Familial State: Ruling Families and Merchant Capitalism in Early Modern Europe” (2005) won the Gaddis Smith Book Prize, and her papers have twice won the Barrington Moore Jr. Award for Best Article given by the American Sociological Association’s section in Comparative and Historical Sociology. She has served as president of the Social Science History Association, and held fellowships from the Russell Sage Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Fulbright Foundation. Her work on Wikipedia has been supported by the National Science Foundation.
Adams’s service to the university is exceptional. Since 2014, she has served as Head (then Master) of Grace Hopper (then Calhoun) College. Without her calm, wise, dedicated presence, an already-difficult time in Yale history would have been even more challenging to finesse, said FAS Dean Tamar Gendler. Her successful leadership of the College during a time of campus turmoil required a subtle understanding of the needs of multiple constituencies, an extraordinary capacity to listen and communicate effectively, and the devotion of hundreds of hours of time and energy and attention.
Since 2018, she has chaired the Council of Heads of College and has distinguished herself as a leader in that capacity.
In addition to her leadership in the residential colleges, Adams has served in a number of key administrative capacities: from 2013 to 2014, she was deputy provost for Social Sciences and Faculty Development and Diversity, and from 2012 to 2014, chair of the Division of Social Sciences Advisory Committee. Previously, she chaired the Department of Sociology from 2010 to 2013. She also directed the Fox International Fellowship Program and chaired the International Affairs Council at the MacMillan Center for international and Area Studies.
Adams’s mentorship of graduate students was recognized with the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Mentor Award in 2011. Her students have expressed their respect for her encouragement of their intellectual curiosity and autonomy, her attentiveness, and her capacity to provide incisive feedback on their work.
Adams is a University of Wisconsin-Madison Ph.D. and completed her undergraduate work at Reed College.