Danielle Allen

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Danielle Allen
Danielle Allen 2017.jpg
Allen at the 2017 Texas Book Festival
Alma materPrinceton University (A.B.)
King's College, Cambridge University (M.Phil., Ph.D.)
Harvard University (M.A., Ph.D.)
AwardsMarshall Scholarship
MacArthur Fellowship
Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Main interests
political theory, history of political thought, political sociology, Greek and Roman political history

Danielle Susan Allen (born 1971)[1] is an American classicist and political scientist. She is the James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard University, where she is also the Director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics. Prior to joining the faculty at Harvard in 2015, Allen was UPS Foundation Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study[2][3] in Princeton, New Jersey. As of January 1, 2017, she is also James Bryant Conant University Professor, Harvard’s highest faculty honor.[4][5] Allen is the daughter of political scientist William B. Allen.[6] Allen is also a contributing columnist at The Washington Post.[7]

Education and career[edit]

Allen graduated summa cum laude with an A.B. in Classics from Princeton University in 1993 and was inducted as a member of Phi Beta Kappa.[8] She completed a 178-page long senior thesis, titled "The State of Judgment", under the supervision of Andre Laks.[9] As a Marshall Scholar, she went on to study at King's College, Cambridge University, where she received a M.Phil. in classics in 1994 and a Ph.D. in classics in 1996. She then pursued further graduate studies at Harvard University, earning an M.A. in government in 1998 and a Ph.D. in government in 2001. From 1997 to 2007 she served on the faculty of the University of Chicago, rising through the academic ranks to become a professor of both classics and political science, as well as a member of the Committee on Social Thought, and she served as Dean of the Division of the Humanities from 2004 to 2007.[10] She organized The Dewey Seminar: Education, Schools and the State, with Rob Reich.[11]

She is former trustee of Amherst College[12] and is a past chair of the Pulitzer Prize board,[13] where she served from 2007 to 2015.[14] She spent the next eight years as the UPS Foundation Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, before joining the Harvard faculty and becoming director of the Safra Center in 2015.[15]

Her scholarly contributions have been widely recognized. She was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow in 2001, in recognition of her combining “the classicist’s careful attention to texts and language with the political theorist’s sophisticated and informed engagement.” An elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, Allen is a past chair of the Mellon Foundation board of trustees and a past chair of the Pulitzer Prize board, and has served as a trustee of both Amherst College and Princeton University.

In addition to her teaching and scholarship, Allen has become an integral University citizen since her return to Harvard. She serves as co-chair of the newly appointed University-wide task force on inclusion and belonging, and is a member of both the Faculty Council of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the University’s Advisory Committee on Honorary Degrees. She has also been recognized for her outstanding teaching, earning high Q scores from Harvard students and having received the University of Chicago’s Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.

The New Yorker published Allen's "The Life of a South Central Statistic" in its July 24, 2017 issue.[16]

Together with Stephen B. Heintz and Eric Liu, Allen chaired the bipartisan Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[17] The commission, which was launched "to explore how best to respond to the weaknesses and vulnerabilities in our political and civic life and to enable more Americans to participate as effective citizens in a diverse 21st-century democracy", issued a report, titled Our Common Purpose: Reinventing American Democracy for the 21st Century, in June 2020. The report included strategies and policy recommendations "to help the nation emerge as a more resilient democracy by 2026."[18]

Awards and honors[edit]


  • "It's Up to Obama", Democracy Issue #16, Spring 2010
  • The World of Prometheus: The Politics of Punishing in Democratic Athens, 2000, (reprint Princeton University Press, 2002, ISBN 978-0-691-09489-2)
  • Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of Citizenship Since Brown vs. the Board of Education, University of Chicago Press, 2004, ISBN 978-0-226-01466-1
  • Why Plato Wrote, John Wiley & Sons, Limited, 2010, ISBN 978-1-4443-3448-7
  • Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality, Liveright, 2014, ISBN 978-0871406903
  • From Voice to Influence: Understanding Citizenship in a Digital Age, University of Chicago Press, 2015, ISBN 978-0-226-26212-3
  • Education and Equality, University of Chicago Press, 2016, ISBN 978-0226373102.
  • Cuz: The Life and Times of Michael A., W. W. Norton & Company, 2017, ISBN 978-1-63149-311-9


  1. ^ a b "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter A" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  2. ^ Bio, IAS.edu.
  3. ^ Press release, March 21, 1987, IAS.edu.
  4. ^ "University Professorships | Harvard University". Harvard University. Retrieved 2016-11-16.
  5. ^ a b "Danielle Allen named University Professor". Harvard Gazette. Retrieved 2016-11-16.
  6. ^ https://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/apr/30/danielle-allen-obama-equity-equality
  7. ^ "Danielle Allen". Washington Post. Retrieved 2020-06-12.
  8. ^ "Danielle S. Allen - CV (February 2018)" (PDF).
  9. ^ Allen, Danielle Susan. Laks, Andre; Princeton University. Department of Classics (eds.). "The State of Judgment". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  10. ^ "Danielle S. Allen". Institute for Advanced Study. Retrieved 2017-03-23.
  11. ^ madisonian.net
  12. ^ amherst. edu. Access date 13 January 2015.
  13. ^ pulitzer.org. Access date 13 January 2015
  14. ^ Lenfield, Spencer Lee (2016-04-15). "The Egalitarian". Harvard Magazine. Retrieved 2020-07-02.
  15. ^ "Danielle Allen named to Harvard posts". Harvard Gazette. Retrieved 2016-11-16.
  16. ^ "Danielle Allen".
  17. ^ "Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship". American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Retrieved 2020-06-15.
  18. ^ "Our Common Purpose". American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Retrieved 2020-06-15.
  19. ^ Fournier, Arthur, "Danielle Allen, Associate Professor in Classical Languages & Literatures", chronicle.uchicago.edu, May 24, 2001.
  20. ^ "Danielle Allen - MacArthur Foundation".
  21. ^ "Danielle S. Allen | 2018 Honorees | Amherst College".
  22. ^ "Danielle Allen Awarded Kluge Prize by Library of Congress | News | The Harvard Crimson". www.thecrimson.com. Retrieved 2020-06-29.

External links[edit]