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Photo: Maximilian Steinbeis, Verfassungsblog

Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology, Columbia University

American Academy Distinguished Visitor - Class of Spring 2002

Saskia Sassen is the Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology at Columbia University and a Centennial Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics. Her research and writing focuses on globalization, immigration, global cities, and the new technologies and changes within the liberal state that result from current transnational conditions.


Beginning in 1966, Sassen spent a year each at the Université de Poitiers, France, the Università degli Studi di Roma, and the University of Buenos Aires, for studies in philosophy and political science. From 1969, she studied sociology and economics at the University of Notre Dame, where she obtained MA and PhD degrees, in 1971 and 1974, respectively. She obtained a French master’s degree in philosophy in Poitiers in 1974. After a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard’s Center for International Affairs, Sassen held various academic positions both in and outside the USA, including as the Ralph Lewis Professor of Sociology at the University of Chicago.


Sassen is the author of Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages (Princeton, 2007); Elements for a Sociology of Globalization (W.W. Norton, 2007), and Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy (Belknap Press, 2014).


In addition to her appointments at Columbia University, Sassen serves on several editorial boards and is an advisor to several international bodies. She is a Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences Panel on Cities. She has received a variety of awards and prizes, most recently, a Doctor honoris causa from Royal Stockholm Institute of Technology, Ghent University (Belgium), Warwick University (UK), Delft University (Netherlands), the first Distinguished Graduate School Alumnus Award of the University of Notre Dame, and was one of the four winners of the first University of Chicago Future Mentor Award covering all doctoral programs. She has written for the Guardian, New York Times, Le Monde Diplomatique, International Herald Tribune, Newsweek International, Vanguardia, Clarin, and Financial Times, among others.

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