The Center for Social Theory and Comparative History was established at UCLA in the autumn of 1987. Its aim, broadly speaking, is to encourage the development of social theory that is historically rooted and comparative history that is theoretically informed.

The core of the Center's intellectual work is the biweekly colloquium series, which runs more or less every other Monday during the Winter and Spring quarters. Each year the colloquium series is organized around a single theme, with each session intended to build upon the previous one. The colloquia have, from the start, succeeded in attracting top scholars in the relevant fields from around the globe. In recent years, the colloquium series has tended to focus on contemporary issues in historical context. Its themes have included the question of globalization, the rise of Asia, democracy today in US and around the world, the causes of contemporary geopolitical conflict, the impact of the G.W. Bush presidency, and current dilemmas facing the world. The series for 2010, “Obama’s World,” considered the set of interrelated crises—economic, geopolitical, and environmental—that the Obama administration inherited from previous presidencies.

CSTCH also occasionally sponsors Special Lectures, supports Visiting Scholars research, holds internal discussions and offers graduate seminars based on a colloquium series.

The executive committee organizes and administers the Center and runs the colloquia. It is composed of: Robert Brenner (History), Perry Anderson (History), Richard Ashcraft (1938-1995, Political Science), Saul Friedlander (History), Carlo Ginzburg (History), Michael Mann (Sociology), Carole Pateman (Political Science), Ivan Berend (History), Maurice Zeitlin (Sociology) and Rogers Brubaker (Sociology).

For further information about the Center, please contact Thomas Mertes at mertes@ucla.edu