Julia Adams teaches and conducts research in state development; gender and family; social theory and knowledge; early modern European politics, and colonialism and empire. She is currently studying large-scale forms of patriarchal politics; the historical sociology of agency relations, and the representation of academics on Wikipedia. At the MacMillan Center, Adams co-directs YaleCHESS (Center for Historical Enquiry and the Social Sciences).
Adams was recently awarded an NSF grant for collaborative research with Hannah Brückner (NYU-Abu Dhabi) on “Wikipedia and the Democratization of Academic Knowledge.” Their work analyzes the gender- and race-specific representation of scholars and scholarship on digital platforms. Her book The Familial State: Ruling Families and Merchant Capitalism in Early Modern Europe (Cornell, 2005) won the Gaddis Smith Book Prize. With M.M. Charrad, she co-edited Patrimonial Capitalism and Empire (2015) and Patrimonial Power in the Modern World (2011). With E. S. Clemens and A. S. Orloff, Adams 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.
Adams was previously Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Michigan. She graduated from Reed College and did her graduate work at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She served as 2008-9 President of the Social Science History Association and 2012-13 Chair of the ASA’s Global and Transnational Sociology section. At Yale she has chaired the sociology department; directed the Division of the Social Sciences; the Fox Fellowship Program, and the International Affairs Council. She served as Deputy Provost for Social Sciences and Faculty Development and Diversity. Adams currently heads Grace Hopper College and chairs the Council of Heads of College.