"The essence of science is precisely theory...a generalized and coherent body of ideas, which explain the range of variations in the empirical world in terms of general principles"
Dr. Randall Collins is an American sociologist who has been influential in both his teaching and writing. He has taught in many notable universities around the world and his academic works have been translated into various languages. Collins is currently Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a leading contemporary social theorist whose areas of expertise include the macro-historical sociology of political and economic change; micro-sociology, including face-to-face interaction; and the sociology of intellectuals and social conflict. He has devoted much of his career and research to study society, how is it created and destroyed through emotional behaviors of human beings. He is considered to be one of the leading non-Marxist conflict theorists in the United States, and served as the president of the American Sociological Association from 2010 to 2011.
Dr. Collins' first position in academia was at his alma mater, University of California Berkeley followed by many other universities including the University of Wisconsin-Madison, followed by the University of California - San Diego, the University of Virginia, and then University of California-Riverside, finally arriving at his current position at the University of Pennsylvania. He took intermittent breaks from academia, as a novelist, and as a freelance scholar. He has also been a visiting professor at Chicago, Harvard, and Cambridge, as well as various schools in Europe, Japan, and China. Collins has published almost one hundred articles since finishing his undergraduate education. He has also written and contributed to several books with a range of topics such as the discovery of society to the sociology of marriage and family life.
Dr. Collins grew up in a slew of different cities and countries, his father being a diplomat (and possible spy) with the US State Department during the Cold War. They lived in Germany immediately following World War II, and later in Moscow, among other places such as Uruguay. Though he was born in Tennessee to a Southern family, he does not consider any one place his “home.”