Judith Shklar was a critic and historian of social and political theory.
Her work examined the ways people have thought about their political experiences and how they have perceived the political changes that have occurred during their lives. To understand the explanations and judgments that European and American political figures and philosophers have offered in the past, Shklar placed them in their intellectual milieu. Her books include After Utopia (1957), Legalism (1964), Men and Citizens (1969), Freedom and Independence (1976), Ordinary Vices (1984), The Faces of Injustice (1989), and American Citizenship: The Quest for Inclusion (1991). Two additional collections of her essays, Redeeming American Political Thought (1998) and Political Thought and Political Thinkers (1998), were published posthumously.
Shklar was the John Cowles Professor of Government at Harvard University and served 35 years. She was the Pitt Professor of American History and Institutions at the University of Cambridge (1983), a fellow of King’s College, the University of Cambridge (1983), and a Carlyle Lecturer and visiting fellow at All Souls College, the University of Oxford (1983, 1986). She was the first female to be elected president of the American Political Science Association (1990).
Shklar received a B.A. (1949) and an M.A. (1950) from McGill University, and a Ph.D. (1955) from Harvard University.
Last updated January 1, 2005.