Bernard Harcourt Elected as Chair of Political Science Department

Bernard Harcourt Elected as Chair of Political Science Department
Lynn Safranek
Law School Office of Communications
June 16, 2010

The University of Chicago Law School proudly congratulates Bernard Harcourt, the Julius Kreeger Professor of Law, on his recent election and three-year appointment as the new Chair of the University of Chicago's Department of Political Science.

Harcourt has held a joint appointment as a Professor of Political Science for several years. His scholarship intersects social and political theory, the sociology of punishment, criminal law and procedure, and criminology. In true Chicago interdisciplinary fashion, he will continue teaching and will remain active at the Law School while he leads the Department of Political Science.

"I look forward to building strong interdisciplinary ties with my colleagues at the Law School and other divisions at Chicago," Harcourt said. "There is a long tradition of interdisciplinary work in law and politics at Chicago, one that infused the work of noted former colleagues like Jon Elster, Stephen Holmes, Bernard Manin, and Cass Sunstein. We have a lot to build on in this area. It will be a very productive and exciting three years."

"The Chicago Political Science Department brings together a pluralist cutting-edge group of scholars with a rich tradition of its own," he added. "The tradition goes back to Charles Merriam in the 1920s, to Harold Lasswell, Gabriel Almond, Leo Strauss, and to many others. It has come to be known as the 'Chicago School of political science,' a school dedicated historically to combining rich theoretical approaches with rigorous methods on deep questions of political and social importance."

Harcourt received his law degree from Harvard Law School in 1989 and received his Ph.D. in political science from the Government Department at Harvard in 2000. He joined the Law School faculty in 2003.

In 2009, he was awarded the annual Gordon J. Laing Prize for his book Against Prediction: Profiling, Policing and Punishing in the Actuarial Age. The Laing Prize honors the Chicago faculty author, editor, or translator whose book has brought the greatest distinction to the University of Chicago Press's list.