Seyla Benhabib

Seyla Benhabib

Fellow: Awarded 2011
Field of Study: Political Science

Competition: US & Canada

Yale University

Seyla Benhabib is the Eugene Meyer Professor of Political Science and Philosophy at Yale University, a position she has held since 2001. She also began her teaching career at Yale, as an Assistant Professor of Philosophy (1977-79) immediately after receiving her Ph.D. there, but after two years as an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the Max-Planck Institut in Starnberg, Germany, she accepted an appointment at Boston University as Assistant Professor of Philosophy (1981-85) and subsequently took up positions at Harvard University as Associate Professor (1987-89) and later Professor of Government (1993-2001), at SUNY Stony Brook as Associate Professor of Philosophy and Women’s Studies (1989-91), and at the New School for Social Research as a Professor of Political Science and Philosophy (1991-93), before returning to Yale. She has also held visiting appointments at Yale Law School and the Zvi Meitar Center for Advanced Legal Studies at Tel Aviv University.

During her career she has explored from various perspectives the ideas of universal human rights, individual autonomy, and state sovereignty in an age of ever-increasing globalization. She is the author of over 140 articles in such influential journals as American Political Science Review, Philosophy and Social Criticism, Ethics and International Affairs, Journal of Political Philosophy, and Social Research, and contributor to numerous anthologies. She has also edited or coedited nine volumes and authored twelve monographs, including Situating the Self: Gender, Community and Post-Modernism in Contemporary Ethics (1992), which won the American Educational Association’s Critics’ Choice Award and was translated into German, Swedish, and Turkish; The Reluctant Modernism of Hannah Arendt (1996; German ed., 1998; rpt., 2003; 2nd ed., rev. and expanded, 2006); The Claims of Culture. Equality and Diversity in the Global Era (2002), which was translated into Russian, Italian, Turkish, Swedish, and Spanish, and sparked much debate and two symposia with it as the theme; The Rights of Others: Aliens, Citizens and Residents (2004), which won the Ralph Bunche Award of the American Political Science Association, was named Best Book of 2004 by the North American Society for Social Philosophy, and was translated into five languages; and Another Cosmopolitanism: Hospitality, Sovereignty and Democratic Iterations (2006), which was translated into German and Italian.

Ms. Benhabib’s honors include a Fellowship at the Institute for the Sciences of Men in Vienna (1996), a Russell Sage Foundation Fellowship (2000-01), and a Senior Fellowship from the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin (2009). In 2004 she received an honorary degree from the Humanistic University in Utrecht, The Netherlands, and in 2011 the Dutch television network IKON profiled Ms. Benhabib, in the third episode of its series Religion & Culture in the Low Land, entitled “A plea for hospitality.” The city of Ludwigshafen, Germany, awarded her its triennial Ernst Bloch prize (named for its native son Bloch [1885-1977], a Jewish social philosopher) in 2009, citing the contributions her work has made to intercultural understanding in a global world.

She has been the Leonard Schapiro Memorial Lecturer at the London School of Economics and Political Science (2002) and the Valencia Lecturer at that institution’s Cañada Blanc Centre for Contemporary Spanish Studies (2000), the John Seeley Memorial Lecturer at Cambridge University (2003), and the Tanner Lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley (2005). She served as the President of the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association in 1996.

During her Guggenheim Fellowship term, Seyla Benhabib will be continuing work on her next study, tentatively titled Reshaping the Demos: Democratic Sovereignty and Transnational Law.


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