Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology, Columbia University

New York City, United States

Renowned sociologist Saskia Sassen was one of the first thinkers to see through the economic degradation of the world’s cities in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s and challenge conventional wisdom about the death of the city. In The Global City: New York, London, and Tokyo (1991), Sassen coined the term “global city” to describe the network of ties and connections that would support these cities’ resurgence on an international scale. This and other research have become common language for understanding new developments in global politics, economics, and immigration.

Her project Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages (2006) debunked traditional thinking to argue that although globalization is traditionally considered a “denationalizing” process, it continues to be shaped by national structures like governments firms, legal systems, or citizens more greatly than traditional thinking. Winning multiple awards, this project cemented Sassen’s position as a leading sociologist. Her most recent project Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Environment uses the term “expulsions” to describe today’s rising income inequality and unemployment, expanding populations of the displaced, accelerating destruction of land and water bodies. She reveals the interconnectedness and global prevalence of these shifts.

Sassen is currently Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology and Co-Chairs the Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University. She is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the National Academy of Sciences Panel on Cities. Sassen has written for The Guardian, The New York Times, Le Monde Diplomatique, the International Herald Tribune, Newsweek International, Vanguardia, Clarin, and the Financial Times.