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Lisa Wedeen

Co-director
Political Science
Portrait of Lisa Wedeen

Photo: Heather Stumpf

Lisa Wedeen is the Mary R. Morton Professor of Political Science and the College and Co-director of the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory (3CT) at the University of Chicago. She is also Associate Faculty in Anthropology.

Her publications include three books: Ambiguities of Domination: Politics, Rhetoric, and Symbols in Contemporary Syria (1999; with a new preface, 2015); Peripheral Visions: Publics, Power, and Performance in Yemen (2008); and Authoritarian Apprehensions: Ideology, Judgment, and Mourning in Syria (2019). Among her articles are “Conceptualizing ‘Culture’: Possibilities for Political Science” (2002); “Concepts and Commitments in the Study of Democracy” (2004); “Ethnography as an Interpretive Enterprise” (2009); “Reflections on Ethnographic Work in Political Science” (2010); “Ideology and Humor in Dark Times: Notes from Syria” (2013); and “Scientific Knowledge, Liberalism, and Empire: American Political Science in the Modern Middle East” (2016).

Wedeen is the recipient of the David Collier Mid-Career Achievement Award and an NSF fellowship. For Authoritarian Apprehensions, she received in 2020 the American Political Science Association’s Charles Taylor Book Award (2020), sponsored by the Interpretative Methodologies and Methods group; the APSA’s inaugural Middle East and North Africa Politics Section’s best book award (2020); the IPSA award for Concept Analysis in Political Science (2021); and the Gordon J. Laing Award, given annually for the book that brings the most distinction to the University of Chicago Press (2022). She is currently completing an edited volume with Joseph P. Masco entitled Conspiracy/Theory (Duke University Press); a coedited Oxford University Handbook with Prathama Banerjee, Dipesh Chakrabarty, and Sanjay Seth, tentatively entitled Reimagining Cosmopolitanism (Oxford University Press); and, with Aarjen Glas and Jessica Soedirgo, the interpretive methods part of an Oxford University Handbook on Methodological Pluralism in Political Science (edited by Janet Box-Steffensmeier et al.). Wedeen is also beginning work on a monograph on violence and temporality.

View Lisa Wedeen’s biography on the Political Science Department’s website.