Full Bio


I graduated from the University of Oxford (Wadham College) in 2002 with a double First in Modern History and English, also ranking first in my subject. After training as an English teacher and spending a semester teaching at a university in Nanjing, China, in the autumn of 2003 I took up a von Clemm fellowship at Harvard University (awarded to one graduating student from Oxford annually to fund a year of study at Harvard in any discipline).

At Harvard, I began to work on the history of political thought under Richard Tuck, and enjoyed it so much that the following year I undertook an M.Phil. in Intellectual History and Political Thought at the University of Cambridge (King's College). At Cambridge, I focused on 19th and 20th century political thought, and wrote my Master’s dissertation on Marx's and Hayek's views of capitalism and freedom. I was also fortunate enough to receive a prize studentship from the Centre for History and Economics, one of whose directors, Gareth Stedman Jones, was also my supervisor.

In the autumn of 2006, I returned to Harvard to begin doctoral study, working with Richard Tuck. In part, I was keen to return to Harvard because all my undergraduate and Master’s training had been on modern material, and I regretted my lack of exposure to the ancient world. I looked forward to catching up on this aspect of my education over the two years spent preparing for Generals, and started learning ancient Greek, and later, Latin, alongside reading Plato and Aristotle for the first time.

My main interest remained modern European political thought, however, and in 2008 I  defended a dissertation prospectus on the birth of modern constitutionalism, focusing on the political thought of the English, American and French revolutions, before a committee consisting of Richard Tuck, Emma Rothschild, Jennifer Hochschild and Eric Nelson. In the same year I became a member of the Center for European Studies at Harvard, and worked as a teaching fellow in ancient and medieval political thought with Richard Tuck, and democratic theory with Jane Mansbridge.

From 2009/10 to 2014/15 I held a series of non-teaching research fellowships: in 2009/10 courtesy of the Project on Justice, Welfare and Economics at Harvard, in 2010/11 at the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard, in 2011/13 at Yale Law School, and from 2013 to 2015 at the Harvard Society of Fellows. While I missed teaching, these years were very valuable for research. During the 2009/10 academic year I decided to put my work on early modern constitutionalism on hold and concentrate full time on what had up to that point been a side interest: the role of the courts in classical Athenian democracy. Thanks to the confidence shown in me by my advisors, I was able to make a systematic study of most of the extant primary material from the ancient Greek world, and arrived at some striking conclusions that touch on our understanding of both Greek democratic ideas and institutions and the political philosophy that arose in connection with them.

The first fruit of this research program was my dissertation, Rethinking Athenian Democracy, which won Harvard's Robert Noxon Toppon prize for best dissertation in political science in 2013. Since then, alongside teaching and having a wonderful daughter, I have written a series of articles on ancient Greek political thought and practice that lay the groundwork for the book on ancient Greek democracy I want to write. "Aristotle on the Virtue of the Multitude" and "Aristotle's Denial of Deliberation About Ends," appeared in Political Theory and Polis respectively in 2013. "Plato and Athenian Justice" appeared in History of Political Thought in 2015. In 2019, "The Dēmos in Dēmokratia" was published by Classical Quarterly. "The Democratic Significance of the Classical Athenian Courts" had been intended for publication in an edited volume, but is now an archived working paper; an updated version is currently under review. "Were the Ancient Greeks Epistemic Democrats?" is forthcoming in an edited volume in spring 2020. "Deliberation and Discussion in Classical Athens" is now out in the Journal of Political Philosophy, and "Deliberation in Ancient Greek Assemblies" should be out soon in Classical Philology

In February 2020 I signed a contract with Princeton University Press for my first book, Demos: How the People Ruled Athens, aiming for publication in spring 2022.