Dr Austin Harrington


My areas of research and teaching include classical and contemporary social theory; sociology of the arts and literature; sociology of religion; and sociology of European ideas and intellectuals.

Although much of my research is theoretical in nature, I teach many core topics in substantive empirical sociology. This includes contributions to foundational courses and leadership of more specialised options on religion, culture and the arts and debates about European politics and ‘identity’ in comparative historical perspective. I also participate in the Leeds Liberal Arts programme for the Politics and Society strand.

I have taught in Britain (Leeds, Derby), the United States (UCLA) and Germany (Erfurt, Frankfurt an der Oder) and have held post-doctoral positions in Vienna, Florence, Berlin and Los Angeles as well as pre-doctoral scholarships in Tübingen and Paris. In Germany in 2009, I was awarded a Habilitation in sociology from the Max-Weber-Kolleg für kultur- und sozialwissenschaftliche Studien, Erfurt.

European Journal of Social Theory

Thesis Eleven

Max Weber Studies

Research interests

My two major publications in recent years are German Cosmopolitan Social Thought and the Idea of the West: Voices from Weimar (Cambridge University Press, 2016) and Georg Simmel: Essays on Art and Aesthetics (University of Chicago Press, 2020, editor).

I am currently working toward a project on themes of ‘fate’, fatalism and society in early twentieth-century German literature and social theory.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>

Student education

I teach introductory sociology, classical and contemporary social theory, sociology of the arts, sociology of religion, and general cultural sociology.

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>The school welcomes enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>