Patrick Deneen (author)

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Patrick Deneen
Patrick J. Deneen

(1964-07-21) July 21, 1964 (age 55)
Academic background
Alma materRutgers University
ThesisThe Odyssey of Political Theory (1995)
Academic work
DisciplinePolitical science
Sub-disciplinePolitical theory
School or tradition
Notable worksWhy Liberalism Failed (2018) Edit this at Wikidata

Patrick J. Deneen (born 1964) is an American political theorist who is Professor of Political Science and holds the David A. Potenziani Memorial College Chair of Constitutional Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

Education and academic career[edit]

Born July 21, 1964, Deneen was educated at Rutgers University (BA, 1986; PhD, 1995), and taught previously at Princeton University (1997–2005) and Georgetown University (2005–2012), where he was Associate Professor and held the Tsakopolous-Kounalakis Chair of Hellenic Studies. He joined the faculty at the University of Notre Dame in 2012, and was promoted to Professor rank in 2018.

Political philosophy[edit]

Deneen's interests have ranged in the areas of ancient and American political thought, democratic theory, political theology, literature and politics, and political economy. He is a noted "Catholic communitarian", a traditionalist whose conservatism leads him to break with many American political conservative positions and liberal orthodoxies, including a critique of laissez-faire market economics and a defense of environmentalism and sustainable economic practices, a stress upon more local forms of production and exchange, combined with a critique of progressive sexual liberationism and a suspicion toward technology that advances these basic liberal commitments. Among his influences are the democratic communitarianism of his teacher, Wilson Carey McWilliams; liberal democracy's "friendly critic", Alexis de Tocqueville; the social historian and critic of modern liberalism—especially its tendencies to bifurcate elite from populace—Christopher Lasch; and the agrarian essayist, novelist and poet Wendell Berry. Deneen's work has long manifested a critical stance toward liberalism for its tendencies toward individualism, its hostility to culture and tradition, its undermining of religious belief, its depersonalization and fragmentation of social solidarity, its hostility toward nature, family, and community. These critiques—evident in academic and more popular writings throughout the late 1990s and 2000s, culminated in the publication of his book Why Liberalism Failed (Yale, 2018).

Deneen has lamented the loss of a knowledge of the history of western civilization among his students:[1]

My students ... are the culmination of western civilization, a civilization that has forgotten nearly everything about itself, and as a result, has achieved near-perfect indifference to its own culture ... The pervasive ignorance of our students is not a mere accident or unfortunate but correctible outcome, if only we hire better teachers or tweak the reading lists in high school. It is the consequence of a civilizational commitment to civilizational suicide. The end of history for our students signals the End of History for the West.[1]


Deneen is the author of four books and co-editor of three books.

  • The Odyssey of Political Theory (Rowman & Littlefield, 2000)
  • Democratic Faith (Princeton University Press, 2005)
  • Conserving America? Thoughts on Present Discontents (St. Augustine Press, 2016)
  • Why Liberalism Failed (Yale University Press, 2018).[2][3]
Co-edited books
  • Democracy's Literature: Politics and Fiction in America (with Joseph Romance) (Rowman & Littlefield, 2005)
  • The Democratic Soul: A Wilson Carey McWilliams Reader (with Susan McWilliams) (University Press of Kentucky, 2011)
  • Redeeming Democracy in America (with Susan McWilliams) (University Press of Kansas, 2011)
Popular writings

Deneen has published numerous academic papers and articles in journals of opinion and online essays which include:


  1. ^ a b Patrick Deneen, How a Generation Lost Its Common Culture dated February 2, 2016, at, accessed March 5, 2019
  2. ^ "Patrick J. Deneen // Department of Political Science // University of Notre Dame". Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  3. ^ "Why Liberalism Failed - Yale University Press". Retrieved 3 October 2018.

External links[edit]