Thomas Kemple’s research is on contemporary social and cultural theory (including post-structuralist, semiotic, psychoanalytic, feminist, and queer theory); the history of the social sciences; sociological classics, canons, and founders; literary and interpretive methods; aesthetic sociology; visual representation of concepts and arguments.

His current research advances European and North American traditions of classical and contemporary social theorizing from the late 18th century to the present while pursuing the acquisition of new forms of knowledge and methods of interpretation in the social sciences. Rather than focus on the scientific formulation and empirical testing of hypotheses, he emphasizes the reappraisal of classic problems and arguments and the recovery of forgotten or underappreciated ideas, texts, and authors in the history of social and political thought. His aim is to show how the use of rhetorical methods and literary genres in the formation of concepts enhances the social significance, cultural relevance, and theoretical importance of sociological arguments.