Thomas Kemple is Professor in the Sociology Department at the University of British Columbia. His research focuses on the rhetorical, literary and deconstructive dimensions of classical sociological texts and contemporary cultural theory. He is the author of Reading Marx Writing: Melodrama, the Market, and the ‘Grundrisse (Stanford 1995); Intellectual Work and the Spirit of Capitalism: Weber’s Calling (Palgrave Macmillan forthcoming 2014); and numerous chapters and articles in journals such as Theory, Culture & Society, Journal of Classical Sociology, Telos, and Rethinking Marxism.


‘Simmel 2.0: Classical Social Theory and Tragedy of Modern Culture’ (SSHRC, 2009-2013)

This series of essays on non-canonical sociological thinkers takes up the thesis of Georg Simmel (1858-1918) concerning the ‘tragedy’ of technological culture, with a focus on how gender and racial identities are transformed under the impact of new forms of imperial power and social media.

‘The Academic Lecture in the Digital Age’ (HSS, 2013-2014)

With reference to recent thinkers writing in the wake of the influential lectures of Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) and Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), this project examines the unspoken or unconscious, sublime or ‘sacred’ dimensions of academic life and everyday experience, particularly when we bring theoretical ideas to bear on our understanding of popular culture.

Selected Publications


2014 (forthcoming) Intellectual Work and the Spirit of Capitalism: Weber’s Calling. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan

2004 The Vocation of Reason: Studies in Critical Theory and Social Science in the Age of Max Weber, by H. T. Wilson. Edited with an Introduction on “The Age of Weber” by Thomas M. Kemple. Leiden: The Netherlands: E.J. Brill Academic Publishers.

1995 Reading Marx Writing: Melodrama, the Market, and the ‘Grundrisse.’ Stanford,
CA: Stanford University Press.

Journal Articles and Book Chapters

2013 Forthcoming. “Mannheim’s Pendulum: Refiguring Legal Cosmopolitanism.” Special Issue on ‘Law as… Theory and Method in Legal History’, edited by Christopher Tomlins. UC Irvine Law Review.

2013. “Allegories of the End: Classical Sociologies of Economic Sustainability and Cultural Ruin.” Special Issue on ‘The End(s) of History’, edited by Amy Swiffen and Joshua Nichols. Journal of Historical Sociology 26 (3): 365-382.