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Steve Hinnefeld
University Communications

Last modified: Monday, August 17, 2009

Indiana University faculty member Jeffrey Isaac named editor of 'Perspectives on Politics'

Aug. 17, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Jeffrey C. Isaac, James H. Rudy Professor of Political Science at Indiana University Bloomington and director of the Indiana Democracy Consortium, has been named editor-in-chief of Perspectives on Politics, one of the core journals of the American Political Science Association.

Isaac assumes responsibility for editing the entire journal, including the Book Review, which he has edited since 2005. The journal's editorial staff is based at the Department of Political Science in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences.

Published quarterly by Cambridge University Press, Perspectives on Politics publishes high-quality political science scholarship that asks "big" questions and proposes bold conjectures. The publication encourages thinking "outside of the box" and seeks to press authors, and readers, at least a bit beyond their normal academic comfort zones. Its articles are written for a broad audience of political scientists and speak to questions of broad public interest in ways that can be generally understood and appreciated.

Isaac is a widely published political theorist whose work centers on contemporary challenges to democratic politics. He has written books and scholarly articles on a range of topics, including the meanings of the Eastern European revolutions of 1989, the contemporary relevance of the writings of Hannah Arendt and Albert Camus, pragmatism, the future of political theory, and the concept of power.

He has written regularly for Dissent magazine, on whose editorial board he serves, and is currently editing a new edition of The Communist Manifesto for Yale University Press's "Rethinking the Western Tradition" series.

As editor of Perspectives, Isaac will build on the work of his predecessors, Jennifer Hochschild and Jim Johnson. He sees the journal as a uniquely valuable part of a rethinking process that has taken place in American political science in recent years, and envisions it as a Political Science Public Sphere -- a space for broad and synthetic discussion within political science and between the profession and the broader scholarly and reading publics.

"There is an ethical responsibility in a democratic society for the social sciences -- and especially for political scientists -- to take seriously our connections to this broader public world and the human challenges and opportunities these connections present," Isaac said. "Perspectives seeks to promote mutually enlightening discussion between political science and the public worlds inhabited by journalists, politicians, military, business, professional and civic leaders, NGOs and citizen organizations."

Isaac said the very purpose of publishing is to bring new ideas, discoveries, perspectives and conversations into broad public view, so that they can be topics of ongoing, constructive dialogue. The key to the success of any serious journal, he said, is prompt, clear and constructive communication between its writers, reviewers, and primary readership, audience and constituency.

"If Perspectives can sustain this kind of communication then it will continue to flourish and grow as a respected source of first-rate scholarship and innovative and exciting dialogue," he said.

Isaac recently completed an extended term as political science department chair at IU Bloomington. He has worked with a variety of editorial boards, campus research centers and civic action organizations. He is also a professional jazz and blues keyboard player who is active on the Bloomington music scene.

A member of the IU political science faculty since 1987, Isaac is the author of The Poverty of Progressivism: The Decline of Liberalism and the Future of American Democracy; Democracy in Dark Times; Arendt, Camus, and Modern Rebellion; and Power and Marxist Theory: A Realist View. He has a B.A. from Queens College, City University of New York, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from Yale University.

For more about Perspectives on Politics, see