smithSteven Smith, Director

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 has been Master of Branford College since 1996.  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 (1997), 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. 

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.

Campus address: 115 Prospect St., Rosenkranz Hall, Room 315
Phone: (203) 432-0524, (203) 432-5263

wrightsonKeith Wrightson, Director

Keith Wrightson, Randolph W. Townsend Jr. Professor of History, is a scholar of early modern British history.  He received his PhD from Cambridge University in 1974 and has taught at the Universities of St Andrews (1975-84), Cambridge (1984-99) and Yale (since 1999).  He is a Fellow of the British Academy (1996) and of the Royal Historical Society (1986), an Honorary Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge (2008) and an Honorary Professor of the University of Durham (2008).

His publications include English Society, 1580-1680 (1982); Earthly Necessities. Economic Lives in Early Modern Britain (2000); Poverty & Piety in  an English Village. Terling 1525-1700 (with David Levine, 1979); The Making of an Industrial Society. Whickham, 1560-1765 (with David Levine, 1991); Ralph Tailor’s Summer: a Scrivener, his City and the Plague (forthcoming, 2011), and many essays on the social and cultural history of early modern England. He is a member of the editorial advisory boards of several scholarly journals.

At Yale, he has served as Director of Undergraduate Studies and as Senior Essay Director for the Department of History and has chaired the Renaissance Studies Program. He serves on the advisory board of the Yale Center for British Art and the Paul Mellon Centre (London) and has taught in the Yale-in-London program. In 2001, he was awarded the John Ben Snow Prize, presented by the North American Conference on British Studies, and in 2008, Yales’s Sidonie Miskimin Clauss Prize for Teaching Excellence in the Humanities.   His principal recreation is listening to Modern Jazz – ‘live’ whenever possible.

Campus address: Jonathan Edwards College L11
Phone: (203) 432-7248


petranovichDanilo Petranovich, Jack Miller Center Lecturer

Danilo Petranovich received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Yale University in 2007. He has taught at Yale as a Lecturer and at Duke as a Visiting Assistant Professor from 2008 to 2010. His research has focused on the history of American political thought, with a special focus on American national culture and Abraham Lincoln as a nation-builder. His two forthcoming articles are “Lincoln’s New Nationalism” (Yale, 2011) and “Lincoln’s Biblical Oratory and the Coming of the Civil War” (with Matthew Holbreich).

Some of his other research interests are reflected in the edited volume Identities, Allegiances, Affiliations (Cambridge, 2007, with Seyla Benhabib and Ian Shapiro), and The Reagan I Knew (Basic, 2008, with William F. Buckley, Jr.).

Campus Address: 115 Prospect Street, Rosenkranz Hall, room 337
Phone: (203) 645-1009, (203) 432-5016