Hobart and William Smith Colleges - Endowed Professor Spotlight: Jodi Dean
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Endowed Professor Spotlight: Jodi Dean

Professor of Political Science Jodi Dean, who held the Donald R. Harter ’39 Professorship of the Humanities and Social Sciences from 2013 to 2018, is the author or editor of 12 books, including Blog TheoryThe Communist Horizon and Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies. An expert in contemporary political theory, Dean published her most recent book, Crowds and Party in 2016, arguing for a vision of leftist politics with a renewed focus on the political party as a vehicle for lasting change.

“I was honored to receive the Harter Chair. It had a profound impact not only on my scholarship but on a broader intellectual community,” says Dean. “The Harter Chair enabled me to participate in establishing a new international interdisciplinary intellectual association, the Radical Critical Theory Circle. The group consists of Greek, German, Russian, Canadian and other scholars in philosophy, sociology and political theory. We meet regularly in Nisyros, Greece for a week of intense discussions. Each year, our group of directors invites a dozen or so scholars to share their ideas. Usually, most of the presentations go on to become academic articles or book chapters. Without that Harter Chair, this association would not have been able to flourish as it has.”

A recipient of the Colleges’ 1998 faculty award for scholarship, Dean has presented her work at conferences and universities around the world and published articles in renowned scholarly journals and periodicals. She was a 2013-14 fellow at the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University, where she continued research around crowds and the implications of a collective desire for collectivity.

Dean, who holds a Ph.D. and M.A. from Columbia University and B.A. from Princeton, joined the HWS faculty in 1993. Against the backdrop of political theory, her courses engage students in everything from climate change to feminism. In addition to her teaching duties, Dean has served as director of the Fisher Center for the Study of Gender and Justice since 2012.

Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.