top of page
Thomas Gold_edited Square_edited_edited.jpg

Thomas B Gold

Professor Emeritus

University of California Berkeley

Thomas B. Gold is a retired Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. From 2000 to 2016, he also served as Executive Director of the Inter-University Program for Chinese Language Studies (IUP), a consortium of North American universities that administers an advanced Chinese language program at Tsinghua University in Beijing. At Berkeley, Tom also served as Associate Dean of International and Area Studies, Founding Director of the Berkeley China Initiative, and Chair of the Center for Chinese Studies. He became interested in China as an undergraduate at Oberlin College, and after graduating he taught English at Tunghai University in Taichung, Taiwan. He then received a Masters in Regional Studies-East Asia and a PhD in Sociology, both from Harvard University.


Tom was among the first group of American exchange students to study in China, spending a year at Fudan University in Shanghai in 1979-1980. He also worked part-time for many years as a Chinese language escort-interpreter for the State Department. His research focuses on many aspects of the societies of East Asia, primarily mainland China and Taiwan. In the largest sense, he examines the process of the emergence of the increasingly empowered and autonomous individual and a private sphere in societies which have combined traditional and modern forms of authoritarian rule. He explores this from many angles: youth and the life course; personal relations (guanxi, social capital), private business and entrepreneurship, popular culture, non-governmental organizations, and civil society.

bottom of page