Steven B. Smith (professor)

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Steven B. Smith (born 1951) is the Alfred Cowles Professor of Political Science at Yale University. From 1996 to 2011 he was the Master of Branford College at Yale.

A graduate of University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and the recipient of an M.Phil. from Durham University, in 1981 Steven Smith received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He was briefly employed as an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin before his 1984 arrival at Yale, where he was granted tenure in 1990. At Yale, he has served in many prominent administrative positions while continuing his research. His areas of expertise are the history of political philosophy and the role of statecraft in constitutional government. 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. He is an honorary member of Manuscript Society. He has received several awards and prizes including the Ralph Waldo Emerson Prize given by Phi Beta Kappa and the Lex Hixon ‘63 Prize for Teaching Excellence in the Social Sciences in 2009. Smith describes himself as an East Coast Straussian.

His recent books include Spinoza, Liberalism and Jewish Identity (1997), Spinoza's Book of Life (2003), Reading Leo Strauss (2006), The Cambridge Companion to Leo Strauss (2009), Political Philosophy (2012) and his latest, Modernity and Its Discontents (2016).

He is married and has one son.

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