I am an Assistant Professor in the Political Science Department at Northwestern University. Before moving to 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.
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.
My research, teaching, and general writing interests all revolve around what can be described as the question of East and West.
My academic research is centered on reconstructing early Chinese political thought, which develops more or less around the same time as, but independently from, early Greek thought. My book, Classical Confucian Political Thought: A New Interpretation, was published by Princeton University Press in September 2015. It offers a close reading of the early Confucian texts (the Analects, the Mencius, and the Xunzi) and argues for an interpretation of Confucian political thought that centers on the concept of order (zhi 治), rather than virtue (de 德) and its corollaries.
My next research project, tentatively titled The Foundations of Confucian Political Thought: History, Law, and the Political Community, will revolve around the two dimensions of time and space in early Confucian thought. On the one hand, I am interested in the normative foundations of Confucian political thought, particularly the Confucian emphasis on historical continuity, lineage, and tradition. On the other hand, I am concerned with the Confucian conception of membership: Does territory matter? How are boundaries defined? Who counts as an insider and who counts as an outsider? Who occupies the lowest and highest statuses and why? I have received a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship and a Henry Luce Foundation/American Council for Learned Societies postdoctoral fellowship to work on this project from September 2017 to August 2018. During this year, I will be based first at the Institute for Advanced Study in Humanities and Social Sciences at Zhejiang University (Fall 2017) and then at Oxford University as a fellow at Nuffield College (Spring and Summer 2018).