B.A., Saint Michael’s College; M.A., Ph.D., University of Virginia
Deffenbaugh de Hoyos Carlson Professor in the Social Sciences; Professor of Sociology
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.
Professor Cushman’s teaching and research over his career at Wellesley focus on sociological theory, comparative sociology, genocide, human rights, dissent and freedom of expression, and the sociology of knowledge, ideology, and intellectuals.
In the past few years at Wellesley, in addition to required courses on sociological theory (including Contemporary Social Theory), he has taught several new classes on themes: The Individual and Society, Dissent and Freedom of Expression in the Global Context, Modernity and Social Change, Topics in Human Rights, and Freedom: Great Debates on Liberty and Morality (with Professor Jonathan Imber).
In 2001, he founded and is currently editor-at-large of the Journal of Human Rights. He is the Director of The Freedom Project at Wellesley College, which aims to foster intellectual pluralism, tolerance, and diversity of viewpoints at the College.
His writings have focused on a wide range of topics, all of which can be characterized by a common theme of freedom and its repression in human societies.
His publications include Notes from Underground: Rock Music Counterculture in Russia, which was named as one of Choice’s Outstanding Academic Books in 1995; George Orwell: Into the 21st Century, 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 of The Routledge Handbook of Human Rights (2011), a standard reference work, which presents 60 original essays from leading scholars across the disciplines on all areas of human rights.
His current book project is Courage and Conscience: The Elementary Forms of the Dissident Life, a global study of dissidents in modern authoritarian societies who are moral exemplars of civil courage and whose lives testify to the meaning of freedom and what it means to be human.
Profession Cushman has been actively involved in bringing social science perspectives to the understanding of public policy issues. He has twice given talks in the Parliament of the United Kingdom, offered testimony to the U.S. Congress Committee on Foreign Relations on human rights issues, and writes often on public policy issues. He is actively engaged in the global movement to protect freedom of expression, with special concern for the advancement and protection of intellectual freedom. He is a participant in the 2016 Oslo Freedom Forum, where he will discuss the importance of the classical liberal idea of freedom of expression as the elementary foundation for the advancement of disadvantaged and marginalized groups.
He is a Faculty Fellow at The Center for Cultural Sociology at Yale University and has been a Visiting Professor at Brandeis University and Birkbeck College, University of London. He was an Honorary Professor in the Social Sciences at The University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa from 2008-2011 and an External Examiner at Lingnan University, Hong Kong in 2009-2010.