Mansfield May Be Leaving

Interviewed at University of Chicago, Source Says

Thomson Professor of Government Harvey C. Mansfield Jr. '53 may leave Harvard to accept the Nef chair in the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago, sources said yesterday.

Reached at his home last night, Mansfield had no comment on the possibility he might leave the University.

His departure would come as a major blow to the Government department, already suffering from the death last year of Cowles Professor of Government Judith N. Shklar, who like Mansfield specialized in historical political theory.

"He is certainly a leading political theorist who brings great distinction to the department," said Susan J. Pharr, Reischauer Professor of Japanese Politics and chair of the Government department. "It would be a major loss to Harvard if he were to leave."

Pharr declined to comment further on the possibility of Mansfield's departure.


Mansfield interviewed for the Chicago position within the last few months, a source close to Mansfield said, though it was not clear last night if the university has made him an offer.

A key factor influencing Mansfield's decision could be whether or not his wife, Delba S. Winthrop, is also offered a faculty position, a source said. Winthrop is now an instructor in the Extension School.

Mansfield, an outspoken conservative on many political issues, may also prefer the political atmosphere at the University of Chicago to that at Harvard, one source said. The Nef chair was formerly held by conservative theorist Allan Bloom, author of The Closing of the American Mind, who died last year.

Still, the current controversy surrounding comments Mansfield made linking grade inflation to affirmative action would likely not be a factor in his decision, the source said.

One concern which might influence Mansfield's decision is the death of tenured historical political theorists at Harvard since Shklar's death, one source in the government department said.

"No one does historical theory the way Shklar and Mansfield did," the source said. "Shklar's death may be the death of the methodology Mansfield employs."

Mansfield's decision could hinge in part on who replaces Shklar, the source said. One name under consideration by the Government department is Charles Taylor, a professor at McGill Uni- versity in Montreal and a leading political theorist, the source said.

Pharr declined to comment on Taylor's possible candidacy for a Harvard post.

Mansfield has several strong reasons to stay at Harvard. The professor, an expert on the work of Niccolo Machiavelli, has built his career at Harvard and has built strong ties in the University community, according to one source.

A spokesperson for the University of Chicago yesterday said the Nef chair is still vacant but refused to confirm that a search is underway.

Chicago's Committee on Social Thought combines scholarship in social theory, political theory and other social sciences