Nancy L. Rosenblum

Senator Joseph Clark Research Professor of Ethics in Government and Politics, Harvard University
Chapter Member: Boston SSN

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About Nancy

Rosenblum is an expert on democratic ethics in everyday life, including neighbor relations, civil society and voluntary associations, as well as ethics of partisanship in an age of party polarization, the status of political Independents, and civil liberties at universities. Other areas of expertise include parties and partisanship, civil society, neighbors, and conspiracism in American politics. She served as Chair of the Department of Government at Harvard University for six years. In 2010, she won the Walter Channing Cabot Fellowship for her book, “On the Side of the Angels”, and was elected Vice-President of the American Political Science Association. Rosenblum is currently a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 


In the News

"Conspiracy Without the Theory," Nancy L. Rosenblum (with Russell Muirhead), The Atlantic,
"Democracy hHas a Future, If We Rethink and Remake It," Nancy L. Rosenblum, The Conversation, January 16, 2018.
Nancy L. Rosenblum quoted on Rosenblum's theory of neighborliness by Lydialyle Gibson, "The Democracy of Everyday Life" Harvard Magazine, September-October 2016.
"Speaking Truth to Conspiracy," Nancy L. Rosenblum, Boston Globe, August 15, 2016.
Nancy L. Rosenblum's research on Stephanie Bastek, "Good Neighbors: An Excerpt from Nancy L. Rosenblum’s New Book about Everyday American Life," The American Scholar, June 14, 2016.
"Bernie Sanders Post-Nevada, And The Problem Of Political Hubris," Nancy L. Rosenblum (with Jane Mansbridge), WBUR, May 27, 2016.
"Australia Hampers Climate Efforts," Nancy L. Rosenblum (with Roberts Jay Lifton), New York Times , February 29, 2016.
"Decision 2014: Our Parties, Our Politics," Nancy L. Rosenblum, Democracy Journal, 2012.
"In Praise of Partisans ," Nancy L. Rosenblum, Boston Review, July 12, 2012.
"Democracy after Citizens United," Nancy L. Rosenblum, Boston Review, September 15, 2010.
Nancy L. Rosenblum quoted on ethic of partisanship, "Nancy L. Rosenblum: On Her Book, ‘On the Side of the Angels: An Appreciation of Parties and Partisanship" Rorotoko, July 31, 2009.
"Government Department Pledges to Revamp," Nancy L. Rosenblum, The Harvard Crimson, February 29, 2008.


Good Neighbors: The Democracy of Everyday Life in America (Princeton University Press, 2016).

Navigates the ordinary vices and offenses of neighbors, and neighbors in extreme situations of betrayal, murder, and disaster. Expands on the centrality of the good neighbor ideal for democracy in America. Analyses good neighbors as the “saving remnant” of democracy.

"Speaking Truth to Conspiracy" (with Russell Muirhead). Critical Review : A Journal of Politics and Society 28, no. 1 (2016): 63-88.

Proposes three standards for responsible party officials to use when judging whether to oppose conspiratorial claims: when they are fueled by hatred of certain groups; when they represent the opposition as treasonous and illegitimate; and when conspiracism extends to authority generally, especially expert authority, thereby undermining the basic work of government decision making.

"Partisanship and Independence: The Peculiar Moralism of American Politics." Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 17, no. 3 (2014): 267-288.

Takes issue with contemporary arguments that value the political identity ‘Independent’ and disparage partisanship. Argues that inclusiveness, comprehensiveness, and compromisingness set the contours for an ethic of partisanship.

On the Side of the Angels: An Appreciation of Parties and Partisanship (Princeton University Press, 2008).

Argues a political theory of the history of anti-partyism and anti-partisanship. Explains the defense of parties in democracy and of ethical partisanship in the U.S.

Thoreau: Political Writings (China University of Political Science and Law Press, 2002).

Highlights Thoreau on politics, civil disobedience, and American democracy. Analyses radicalism in America. 

Obligations of Citizenship and Demands of Faith: Religious Accommodation in Pluralist Democracies (Princeton University Press, 2000).

Expands on the claims of religious groups and on constitutional exemptions.

Membership and Morals: The Personal Uses of Pluralism (Princeton University Press, 1998).


Presents a study of voluntary associations in America and a qualified defense of undemocratic, illiberal associations. Winner of the APSA David Easton Prize.