Shamus Khan

Shamus Khan

Biographical Notes

My work is primarily within the areas of cultural sociology and stratification, with a strong focus on elites. I am the author of Privilege: The Making of an Adolescent Elite at St. Paul’s School (Princeton 2011); The Practice of Research (Oxford 2013, with Dana Fisher), and am completing Exceptional: The Astors, Elite New York, and the Story of American Inequality (Princeton, forthcoming). With Dorian Warren, I am the director of a Russell Sage Foundation working group on “The Political Influence of Economic Elites;” I also serve as the principal investigator on a Andrew W. Mellon Foundation project using the New York Philharmonic archives to uncover the character of their subscribers from the 1870s-present.  In addition to my primary focus, I also write in the areas of gender theory, deliberative politics, and research methodology. I recently served as an opinion columnist for Time Magazine and continue to write about sociology in the popular press. For more information, including links to my written work, see: 


Ph.D., Wisconsin, 2008




  • 2017,  Sall, Dialika, and Shamus Khan. “What elite theory should have learned, and can still learn, from WEB DuBois.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 40.3: 512-514.


  • 2016, Shamus Khan, “The Many Futures of Élites Research.” Sociologica – Italian Journal of Sociology, 2, doi: 10.2383/85294 .



  • Jerolmack, Colin, and Shamus Khan, eds. Approaches to ethnography: analysis and representation in participant observation. Oxford University Press, 2017.