Jean Bethke Elshtain


Biography of Jean Bethke Elshtain

Jean Bethke Elshtain (born 1941) is an American political philosopher.

She is the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics at the University of Chicago Divinity School, and is a contributing editor for The New Republic. She is, in addition, newly the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Chair in the Foundations of American Freedom at Georgetown University. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and she has served on the Boards of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, and the National Humanities Center. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and has received nine honorary degrees. In 2002, Elshtain received the Frank J. Goodnow award, the highest award for distinguished service to the profession given by the American Political Science Association.

The focus of Elshtain's work is an exploration of the relationship between politics and ethics. Much of her work is concerned with the parallel development of male and female gender roles as they pertain to public and private social participation. Since the September 11, 2001 attacks she has been one of the more visible academic supporters of U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq.

She has published over five hundred essays and authored and/or edited over twenty books, including Democracy on Trial, Just War Against Terror: The Burden of American Power in a Violent World, Jane Addams and the Dream of American Democracy, Augustine and the Limits of Politics, and " Sovereignty: God, State, Self.

In 2006, she was appointed by President George W. Bush to the Council of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and also delivered the prestigious Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh, joining such previous Gifford Lecturers as William James, Hannah Arendt, Karl Barth, and Reinhold Niebuhr. In 2008, Elshtain received a second presidential appointment to the President's Council on Bioethics.

Over the course of the last thirty-five years, Elshtain has contributed to national debates on the family, the roles of men and women, the state of American Democracy, and International relations.

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