Steven Smith

Professor, Political Science
Master, Branford College (1996-2011)

Steven Smith received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He has taught at Yale since 1984 and is the Alfred Cowles Professor of Political Science and was Master of Branford College from 1996 to 2011. He has served as Director of Graduate Studies in Political Science, Director of the Special Program in the Humanities, and Acting Chair of Judaic Studies. His research has focused on the history of political philosophy with special attention to the problem of the ancients and moderns, Jewish philosophy, and theories of constitutional democracy.

His best known publications include Hegel’s Critique of Liberalism (1989), Spinoza, Liberalism, and Jewish Identity (1007), Spinoza’s Book of Life (2003), Reading Leo Strauss  (2006), and most recently The Cambridge Companion to Leo Strauss (2009). He is currently working on a book dealing with the statecraft and political thought of Abraham Lincoln. In his future work he hopes to focus on the political thought of the Bible and the literature of the Jewish-American experience.

He has received several academic awards and prizes, but is most proud of receiving the Lex Hixon ‘63 Prize for Teaching Excellence in the Social Sciences in 2009. He is a die-hard Yankees fan and hopes to be able to play for the team in the next life.

He can be reached at