Nadia Urbinati

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Nadia Urbinati
Nadia Urbinati (2009)
Born (1955-01-26) 26 January 1955 (age 69)
Rimini, Italy
NationalityAmerican, Italian
Academic background
EducationEuropean University Institute (PhD)
Academic work
DisciplinePolitical science
Sub-disciplinePolitical theory
Main interestsPolitical representation, Participatory democracy

Nadia Urbinati (born 26 January 1955) is an Italian political theorist. She is the Kyriakos Tsakopoulos Professor of Political Theory at Columbia University.[1][2][3]

Personal life[edit]

In 1989, she received her Ph.D. at European University Institute in Florence, Italy.[1] She is also a naturalized US citizen.[2]

Academic work[edit]

Urbinati specializes in modern and contemporary political thought and the democratic and anti-democratic traditions.[1] She teaches at Columbia University where she co-chaired the Columbia University Faculty Seminar on Political and Social Thought.[1] She is one of the longest-serving scholars of populism in modern academia.[4]

With Andrew Arato, she was the co-editor of Constellations: An International Journal of Critical and Democratic Theory.[1] She is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Foundation Reset Dialogues on Civilization.[1]

Prior to Columbia, she was a member of the School of Social Sciences of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey and was a Laurance S. Rockefeller Visiting Fellow at the University Center for Human Values at Princeton.[1] In Italy, Urbinati is permanent visiting professor at Pisa's Scuola Superiore di Studi Universitari e Perfezionamento Sant'Anna and has taught at Bocconi University in Milan, SciencesPo in Paris, and the University of Campinas in Brazil.[1]


In 2008, Italian president Giorgio Napolitano made Urbanati a Commander of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic "for her contribution to the study of democracy and the diffusion of Italian liberal and democratic thought abroad."[1]

She is the winner of the 2008-9 Lenfest/Columbia Distinguished Faculty Award and she received the David and Elaine Spitz Prize for the best book in liberal and democratic theory for Mill on Democracy.[1]


Urbinati is the author of a number of journal articles and books, including:[1]

  • Me The People: How Populism Transforms Democracy (Harvard University Press, 2019)
  • The Tyranny of the Moderns (Yale University Press 2015)
  • Democracy Disfigured: Opinion, Truth and the People (Harvard University Press, 2014)
  • Representative Democracy: Principles and Genealogy (University of Chicago Press, 2006)
  • Mill on Democracy: From the Athenian Polis to Representative Government (University of Chicago Press, 2002)

Urbinati is also a political columnist for Italian newspapers.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Nadia Urbinati". Columbia University. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  2. ^ a b Vaccara, Stefano; Pozzi, Giulia (19 May 2019). "Nadia Urbinati: Populism? It's not Fascism, and also Democracies Are "Elastic"". La Voce di New York. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  3. ^ Allawala, Katie (2 November 2016). "The Power of Populism". Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  4. ^ Mudde, Cas (10 March 2019). "Ten recommended reads on the contemporary far right and populism by female authors".