Dr Jack Palmer


I rejoined the School of Sociology and Social Policy in June 2024, having previously worked across various teaching and research roles between 2016-22. From 2022-24, I was a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Leeds Trinity University.


  • Director of the Bauman Institute

Research interests

I work at the intersections of historical sociology and social theory. I am particularly interested in the ambiguous relationship between violence and large-scale transformations of modern societies, and how this relationship is registered in intellectual and cultural forms. 

My first book, based on PhD research funded by a University of Leeds Research Scholarship (2013-2017), is a study of trajectories of modernity in the Great Lakes of Africa (Entanglements of Modernity, Colonialism and Genocide: Burundi and Rwanda in Historical Sociological Perspective [Routledge, 2018]). Through a historical-sociological study of a region long-neglected by Western sociologists, it challenges Eurocentric and progressivist assumptions in sociological theorisations of modernity. Funded by a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship (2018-2021), I have also published extensively on the lifework of the major social thinker, Zygmunt Bauman, including a sole-authored book, Zygmunt Bauman and the West: A Sociology of Intellectual Exile (McGill-Queens University Press, 2023). I am also co-editor of Revisiting Modernity and the Holocaust: Heritage, Dilemmas, Extensions (Routledge, 2022), and part of the editorial team for a 3-volume series of unpublished and rarely accessed writings of Zygmunt Bauman for Polity Press (2021-2024). I am director of the Bauman Institute, having previously worked in a number of roles across the centre. I was centrally involved in the development of the Papers of Janina and Zygmunt Bauman, a public archive of international significance held at the University of Leeds. 

At present, I am working on several projects. This includes a comparative sociology of intellectuals in exile across a range of contexts wherein I seek to theorise ‘exilic interventions’ as a specific mode of claim-making and an ‘exilic republic of letters’ as a transnational intellectual network. I am also developing a project on the entangled conceptual histories of ‘genocide, ‘extinction’ and ‘occupation’. I see this project as having import for a range of contemporary socio-cultural issues (the comparative memorialisation of historical atrocities, debates about demographic shifts in Western societies, collective interpretations of climate breakdown and species loss) as well as for understanding the role of concepts as effective forces in social life. I also continue to work on post-war intellectuals and ideas, with a particular emphasis on sociological interpretations of the Holocaust and on events of decolonisation. 

<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>


  • PhD Sociology and Social Policy
  • MA Social and Political Thought
  • UG Media Studies and Entertainment Technology

Professional memberships

  • Fellow of Advance HE
  • Zoon Politikon - editorial board
  • British and Irish Association for Holocaust Studies
<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>