Julia Adams teaches and conducts research in the areas of state development; gender and family; social theory and knowledge; early modern European politics, and colonialism and empire. She is currently studying (1) large-scale forms of patriarchal politics; (2) the historical sociology of agency relations, and (3) gender and Wikipedia.
Adams is Master of Calhoun College. She also co-directs YaleCHESS (Center for Historical Enquiry and the Social Sciences), and CCR (Center for Comparative Research.) She is on the Board of the Social Science Research Council.
Adams was recently awarded a National Science Foundation grant for collaborative research with Hannah Brückner (Associate Dean of Social Science, NYU-Abu Dhabi) on “Wikipedia and the Democratization of Academic Knowledge.” The investigators are analyzing the representation of scholars and scholarship, including gender-specific patterns. One of the project’s goals is to contribute to improving quality and reducing potential bias on academic – and more general – Wikipedia.
Her book The Familial State: Ruling Families and Merchant Capitalism in Early Modern Europe (Cornell, 2005) won the Gaddis Smith Book Prize. With Mounira Maya Charrad, she co-edited a 2015 Political Power and Social Theory volume titled Patrimonial Capitalism and Empire and a 2011 Annals of the Academy of Political and Social Sciences volume titled Patrimonial Power in the Modern World. With Elisabeth S. Clemens and Ann Shola Orloff, she edited Remaking Modernity: Politics, History, and Sociology (Duke, 2005). Her work has twice won the Barrington Moore Jr. Award for Best Article given by the ASA section in Comparative and Historical Sociology.
She was previously the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Michigan. Adams graduated from Reed College and did her graduate work in sociology (with a combined minor in history and anthropology) at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She served as 2008-9 President of the Social Science History Association and 2012-13 Chair of the Global and Transnational section of the American Sociological Association. At Yale she has chaired the department of Sociology; directed the Division of the Social Sciences; the Fox Fellowship Program; and the International Affairs Council. She also served as Deputy Provost for Social Sciences and Faculty Development and Diversity.