Professor Roland Robertson

IAS Fellow at St Mary’s College, Durham University (October – December 2010)

Roland Robertson is Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh, USA; Visiting Professor of Sociology at the University of Essex; and Distinguished Guest Professor of Cultural Studies at Tsinghua University, Beijing, China. He was until very recently Professor of Sociology and Global Society at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. He began his academic career at the University of Leeds, and subsequently held appointments at the University of Essex, the University of Pittsburgh and the University of York (where he was Head of the Department of Sociology from 1970 to 1974). He returned to Pittsburgh in 1974 and remained there until his move to Aberdeen in 1999. He holds, or has held, visiting positions in sociology, pedagogy and religious studies at universities in various countries, including the USA, England, Brazil, Italy, Austria, Sweden, China (Hong Kong) and Turkey.

Robertson has published extensively in the sociology of globalization, culture, religion and sport. Among his most influential publications are The Sociological Interpretation of Religion (1970), Meaning and Change (1978) Globalization: Social Theory and Global Culture (1992) and a large number of other books and articles. He has also edited or co-edited various volumes, including the Encyclopedia of Globalization (2007) and Globalization: Critical Concepts in Sociology (2003).

His work has been translated from English into about twenty languages, including Spanish, Portuguese, German, Japanese, Chinese, Persian, Arabic, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Croat, Turkish, Italian, French, Polish, Russian, Danish, Korean, Greek, Swedish, and Hungarian.

Professor Robertson has served on many editorial boards of professional journals, including Sociological Analysis (now Sociology of Religion); Citizenship Studies; Journal of International Communication; Review of Religious Research; International Political Sociology; Globalizations; Theory, Culture & Society; Journal of Mathematical Sociology; and the Journal of Social Science.

He has been President of the Global Studies Association, President of the Association for the Sociology of Religion and a member of the executive councils of other professional associations, including the International Society for the Comparative Study of Civilizations, the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, and the American Society for the Study of Religion.

Professor Robertson’s current writing includes the following: an edited volume on glocalization; an edited volume on cosmopolitanism; an edited volume on theories of world society; a book on the decline of democracy and the rise of the new totalitarianism; and a book on globalization and cosmology. He is also assembling collections of his many items of unpublished work.