Steven Smith

Steven Smith's picture
Alfred Cowles Professor of Political Science and Professor of Philosophy
115 Prospect Street, Rosenkranz Hall, Room 315
(203) 432-5263


Steven B. Smith received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He has taught at Yale since 1984 and is the Alfred Cowles Professor of Political Science. He has served as Director of Graduate Studies in Political Science, Director of the Special Program in the Humanities, and Acting Chair of Judaic Studies and from 1996-2011 served as the Master of Branford College. His research has focused on the history of political philosophy with special attention to the problem of the ancients and moderns, the relation of religion and politics, and theories of representative government.
His best known publications include Hegel’s Critique of Liberalism (1989), Spinoza, Liberalism, and Jewish Identity (1997), Spinoza’s Book of Life (2003), Reading Leo Strauss (2006), and The Cambridge Companion to Leo Strauss (2009). His anthology, The Writings of Abraham Lincoln, was published in 2012 and his book of lectures titled Political Philosophy will appear later this year from Yale University Press. In the autumn he will be offering a seminar on the political philosophy of Hobbes and in the future is planning to teach a class on Jewish political thought.
He has received several academic awards and prizes including the Ralph Waldo Emerson Prize given by Phi Beta Kappa, but is most proud of receiving the Lex Hixon ‘63 Prize for Teaching Excellence in the Social Sciences in 2009. He is a die-hard Yankees fan and hopes to be able to play for the team in the next life.

Open Courses at Yale







Ph.D., University of Chicago