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Josiah Ober

Josiah Ober

Josiah Ober

Political Science
Stanford University
Faculty Fellow, 2021-22
Faculty Fellow, 2020-21
Faculty Fellow, 2019-20
Faculty Fellow, 2018-19
Faculty Fellow, 2017-18
Research Affiliate, 2016-17
Fellow, 2004-05 Study #37

Josiah Ober holds the Constantine Mitsotakis Chair in the School of Humanities and Sciences at Stanford University, where he divides his time and academic appointment between the departments of classics and political science. He teaches courses on topics conjoining history, classical philosophy, and political theory, institutions, values, and practices.

Before coming to Stanford, Ober taught at Princeton University (1990-2006) and at Montana State University (1980-1990). His academic work focuses on the history, theory, and practice of self-governing organizations (ancient and modern), on the circulation of social and technical knowledge in democratic societies, and on the interplay between political philosophy and culture. He is author of a number of books, including, recently, Demopolis: Democracy before Liberalism in Theory and Practice (Cambridge University Press, 2017), The Rise and Fall of Classical Greece (Princeton University Press, 2015), and Democracy and Knowledge: Innovation and Learning in Classical Athens (Princeton University Press, 2008). His books have been translated into French, German, Greek, Spanish, Italian, Turkish, and Chinese.

He is currently working on a book on “deliberation, strategy, and choice in ancient Greek social thought,” and on a project on ancient and modern urbanization and economic development. A recent interview, focusing on his work on democratic theory, can be found here:

Ober has been a faculty fellow since 2017-18. He was a fellow in 2004-05, and a CASBS board of directors member from 2014-17.

Tyler Books

Ober, Josiah.. 2005. Athenian legacies: essays on the politics of going on together. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press.
Ober, Josiah.. 2008. Democracy and knowledge: innovation and learning in classical Athens. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press.