Ira Katznelson (born 1944) is a leading American political scientist and historian, noted for his influential research on the liberal state, inequality, social knowledge, and institutions, primarily focused on the United States.
Katznelson graduated from Columbia University in 1966 with a B.A. and completed his PhD in history at the University of Cambridge in England in 1969. In 1969 he also co-founded the journal Politics and Society.
Katznelson taught at Columbia from 1969 to 1974, at the University of Chicago from 1974 to 1983, and at the New School for Social Research from 1983 to 1994. He was chair of the department of political science at UChicago from 1979 to 1982 and dean of the New School from 1983 to 1989. In 1994, Katznelson returned to Columbia, where he is the Ruggles professor of political science and history. In 2012, he was named president of the Social Science Research Council.
Katznelson was president of the American Political Science Association (APSA) for 2005-2006. He previously served as president of APSA's Politics and History Section for 1992-1993 and as president of the Social Science History Association for 1997-1998. He has also been a Guggenheim Fellow, and was elected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2000 and the American Philosophical Society in 2004.
Katznelson has written or co-written ten books, co-edited several others, and published over sixty journal articles. His book Liberalism’s Crooked Circle: Letters to Adam Michnik (1996) won American Political Science Association's (APSA) Michael Harrington Prize. Desolation and Enlightenment (2003) won the David and Elaine Spitz Award of the Conference of Political Thought, given to the best book in liberal or democratic theory, and the David Easton Award of APSA’s Foundations of Political Thought Section.
- Black Men, White Cities; Race, Politics, And Migration In The United States, 1900-30 and Britain, 1948-68. 1973. Oxford University Press.
- City Trenches: Urban Politics And The Patterning Of Class In The United States. 1981. Pantheon Books.
- Schooling For All: Class, Race, And The Decline Of The Democratic Ideal. 1985. Basic Books. (written with Margaret Weir).
- Working-Class Formation: Nineteenth-Century Patterns In Western Europe And The United States. 1986. Princeton University Press. (edited with Aristide Zolberg).
- Marxism And The City. 1992. Oxford University Press.
- Paths Of Emancipation: Jews, States, And Citizenship. 1995. Princeton University Press. (edited with Pierre Birnbaum).
- Liberalism’s Crooked Circle: Letters to Adam Michnik. 1996. Princeton University Press.
- Shaped By War And Trade: International Influences On American Political Development. 2002. Princeton University Press. (edited with Martin Shefter).
- Political Science: The State Of The Discipline. 2002. W.W. Norton. (edited with Helen Milner).
- Desolation And Enlightenment: Political Knowledge After Total War, Totalitarianism, And The Holocaust. 2003. Columbia University Press.
- When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History Of Racial Inequality In Twentieth-Century America. 2005. W.W. Norton.
- Preferences and Situations: Points of Intersection between Historical and Rational Choice Institutionalism. 2005. Russell Sage Foundation. (written with Barry Weingast).
- The Politics of Power: A Critical Introduction to American Government, 6th ed. 2006. (written with Mark Kesselman and Alan Draper). ISBN 978-0-15-570735-1
- Fear Itself: The New Deal and the Origins of Our Time. 2013. ISBN 0871404508