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Courtesy Yale University

Sterling Professor of Political Science, and Henry R. Luce Director, MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies, Yale University

American Academy Distinguished Visitor - Class of Spring 2018

Ian Shapiro is Sterling Professor of Political Science at Yale University, where he also serves as Henry R. Luce Director of the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies. He has written widely on democracy, justice, and the methods of social inquiry. In democratic theory, he has argued that democracy’s value comes primarily from its potential to limit domination, rather than, as is conventionally assumed, from its operation as a system of participation, representation, or preference aggregation. In debates about social scientific methods, Shapiro is chiefly known for rejecting prevalent theory-driven and method-driven approaches, and favors starting with the problem and then devising suitable methods to study it.


A native of South Africa, Shapiro received his JD from the Yale Law School and his PhD from Yale’s political science department, where he has taught since 1984 and served as chair from 1999 to 2004. Shapiro is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is a past fellow of the Carnegie Corporation, Guggenheim Foundation, and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and has held visiting appointments at the University of Cape Town, Keio University (Tokyo), Sciences Po (Paris), the Institute for Advanced Study in Vienna, University of Oslo, and Nuffield College, Oxford.


Shapiro’s recent books include Politics Against Domination (Harvard, 2016); The Real World of Democratic Theory (Princeton, 2011); Containment: Rebuilding a Strategy against Global Terror (Princeton, 2007); and The Flight From Reality in the Human Sciences (Princeton, 2005). His forthcoming book, to be published by Yale in 2019 and co-authored with Frances Rosenbluth, is Democratic Competition: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

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