I am an Assistant Professor in the Political Science Department at Northwestern University. Before Northwestern, I was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Government at Georgetown University and a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Whitney Humanities Center at Yale University. During the academic year 2017-2018, I held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Henry Luce Foundation/American Council for Learned Societies to work on my second book project, tentatively titled The Foundations of Confucian Political Thought: History, Law, and the Political Community. During that year, I was based first at the Institute for Advanced Study in Humanities and Social Sciences at Zhejiang University and then at Oxford University as an associate member at Nuffield College and visiting scholar at the Blavatnik School of Government.
My new book project will revolve around questions of status and membership in ancient Confucian political thought. I am interested in the depiction of women (including concubines), foreigners, servants, workers, artisans, and convicts, especially in the Five Classics. I will argue that while these groups occupy varying degrees of low status, the hierarchy that they are part of is fluid, flexible, and inclusive. My purpose is indeed to revise the conventional portrayal of early Chinese thought as patriarchal, exclusive, authoritarian, and rigidly hierarchical (in comparison with early Greek political thought). The book will also explore the place of boundaries and territory in the definition of the Confucian conception of the political community. Relatedly, I am interested in the Confucian emphasis on historical continuity, lineage, and tradition as providing the normative foundation for this definition.
The second book project thus looks at the foundational ideas that lie behind the early Confucian conception of government, which I explored in my first book, Classical Confucian Political Thought: A New Interpretation, published by Princeton University Press in September 2015. Classical Confucian Political Thought offers a close reading of the early Confucian texts (the Analects, the Mencius, and the Xunzi), eliciting their answers to such questions as who should rule, how, and why, and what the relationship between ruler and ruled should be. It argues for an interpretation of Confucian political thought that centers on the concept of order, rather than virtue and its corollaries.
I was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon and went to college at the American University of Beirut, where I graduated with a BA in Political Studies. Upon graduation, I traveled to Bloomington, Indiana, where I undertook two years of graduate study at Indiana University. After that, I moved to Princeton University, where I completed my PhD in Politics in 2012.
I write editorials and essays in non-academic venues. Links to my general writings can be found here.
A pdf version of my cv is available here.