Deffenbaugh de Hoyos Carlson Professor in the Social Sciences; Professor of Sociology, Wellesley College

Thomas Cushman is Deffenbaugh de Hoyos Carlson Professor in the Social Sciences and Professor of Sociology at Wellesley College. He has served as Chairman of the Wellesley Sociology Department twice.

His areas of teaching and research include sociological theory, comparative sociology, genocide and human rights, and the sociology of culture (focusing especially on the relations between knowledge, ideology and intellectuals). He is the author of numerous books and articles on topics ranging from cultural dissidence in Russia, genocide, freedom of expression, and the wars in Bosnia and Hercegovina and Iraq. Some of his publications include George Orwell: Into the 21st Century, edited with John Rodden (Paradigm, 2005); A Matter of Principle: Humanitarian Arguments for War in Iraq, editor (University of California Press, 2005); Terror, Iraq and the Left: Christopher Hitchens and His Critics, edited with Simon Cottee (New York University Press, 2008); and The Religious in Responses to Mass Atrocity, edited with Thomas Brudholm (Cambridge University Press, 2009). He is the editor-in-chief of The Routledge Handbook of Human Rights (2011) and Human Rights: The Basics ( Routledge, 2012).

His current work is in several major areas that unite sociological theory and practice in the examination of international culture and politics, especially human rights. He is currently working on\ two projects. The first is a synthesis of theories of genocide and sociological theories of modernity theory entitled, Is Genocide Preventable? Mass-Killing and the Aporias of Modernity. The second is a book called Anticapitalism, which explore the socio-emotional sources of hostility against capitalism by left-wing intellectuals and ideologists from the 19th century to the present He is interested, generally, in the fate of freedom in the modern world, and is keenly concerned with the limitations on freedom and liberty posed by the welfare statism, and the economic crises caused by compulsory redistribution of resources to form new entitlement classes.

He is the Founding Editor of Human Rights Review, the Founding Editor, Former Editor-in-chief and current Editor-at-Large of The Journal of Human Rights. Professor Cushman was an Associate at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University in 2002-2003, Siskind Visiting Professsor of Sociology and Internet Studies at Brandeis University in 2002, Visiting Professor of Law at Birkbeck College, University of London in 2005, and is a Fellow of the Salzburg Seminar Academic Core Session on "International Law and Human Rights", chaired by Lloyd Cutler and Sir Richard Goldstone. In 2008, he gave an address in the House of Lords of The United Kingdom on the issue of the fragility of modern democracies in the face of the new authoritarianisms of the 21st century.

He is currently a Faculty Associate of the Center for Cultural Sociology at Yale University and has served as an Honorary Professor in the Social Sciences at The University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. Professor Cushman was selected as the recipient of the Saint Michael's College Alumni Academic Achievement Award, which is given to recognize those graduates whose scholarship has exemplified the academic, cultural, and civic scholarly goals of the College.


  • –present
    Deffenbaugh de Hoyos Carlson Professor in the Social Sciences; Professor of Sociology, Wellesley College