About this Project
As the state’s role has diminished in the face of privatization and globalization, from multiple directions there has been a resurgence of interest in forms of governance and organized power that do not resemble the unified sovereign state that is at the center of dominant scholarly traditions of political analysis and theory. This wave of empirical inquiry and theoretical debate is visible across history, sociology, and political science, spurring multiple forms of cross-disciplinary collaboration. This project aims to fuse these collaborations toward a focused and generative debate on the State as History and Theory. What is necessary is a reconciling of the realistic institutional paradigm predominating in the scholarship on the state with the requirements of everyday politics and democratic political theory – in short, a theory of the democratic state. UChicago faculty in History, Law, Political Science, and Sociology will cohere as a group around the year-long visit of Steve Sawyer from the American University of Paris, who will help sharpen and focus the group’s efforts to produce a new political theory of the democratic state.
The Many Hands of the State Conference
took place May 15-17 at the University of Chicago.
Open Seminar at the University of Chicago:
Gary Becker, François Ewald, and Bernard Harcourt
“American Neoliberalism: Michel Foucault’s Birth of Biopolitics Lectures”
On April 23, 2013 former University of Chicago professor, Ira Katznelson, gave a lecture on, “Reflections on Fear Itself,” for the annual Leonard D. White Memorial Lecture.
The American State: Power Obscured
James T. Sparrow on welfare and warfare in
October 17, 2013
The ever-changing state and the way it interacts with its citizens is always important, which is why Professors Bernard Harcourt, Elisabeth Clemens, and James Sparrow are in the midst of a yearlong exploration of that topic, "The State as History and Theory."
July 29, 2013
The Neubauer Collegium shares research with the public while making the University a destination for collaborating academic leaders.
The State as History and Theory Conference
May 15-17, 2014
The conference included the final presentation of the Many Hands of the State project. Researchers returned to their collective project of theorizing states while retaining the historicized and contextualized treatments that have proliferated in the last few decades.