Hello, and thank you for visiting my webpage. I am a PhD candidate in political theory in the Department of Government at Harvard. I received my BA cum laude in Political Science at Yale (2002) and my DPhil in Modern History at Balliol College, Oxford, where I wrote a dissertation on the historical background and development of Isaiah Berlin's political thought; a book based on this dissertation will be published by Oxford University Press in Spring 2013. My teaching and research range over the history of political thought, recent liberal and democratic theory, and political ethics. My historical interests center on political thought in the twentieth century; European (and particularly British) political thought from Hobbes onwards; and American political thought. Within both the history of political thought and recent normative theory, I am interested in theories of liberty; arguments about the purposes and limits of politics; the implications for political theory of ethical and political pluralism; and questions about the ethics of political action. In addition to these areas, I have teaching interests in politics and literature, in utopian political thought, and in the study of political ideologies. My current research examines twentieth-century political thought in order to explore the ethical and political problems (such as the "problem of dirty hands" and the relationship between means and ends). Drawing on a number of liberal (and semi-liberal) political theorists and polemicists (such as Raymond Aron, Isaiah Berlin, Albert Camus, Stuart Hampshire, Arthur Koestler, Leszek Kolakowski, Adam Michnik, Reinhold Niebuhr, George Orwell, Judith Shklar, Lionel Trilling, and Max Weber) I reconstruct a distinctive strain of liberal thought, which seeks to resist anti-liberal arguments for political ruthlessness while also eschewing an absolutist morality of personal purity. In reconstructing this set of historical debates about political ethics, I hope to contribute both to our understanding of what was at stake in twentieth-century political thought; and to the way we think about political theory by calling attention to a concern with "ethos" (as a feature of both political culture and personal character), as a complement to normative political theory's more usual focus on principles governing institutional design and political conduct.
Please click on the links above for more information on my teaching, research, and publications.