Government Star Benhabib To Take Post at Yale

Committee on Social Studies chair criticizes Harvard

Professor of Government Seyla Benhabib, one of Harvard's top political philosophers, said yesterday that Harvard's government department is "no longer an intellectual home" for her and that she will leave her post for one at Yale.

Benhabib, who is currently on sabbatical, said she will join the Yale faculty as a senior professor in the philosophy and political science departments and might teach at Yale's law school in the future. But she said a return to Harvard is possible before she moves to Yale.

Benhabib said she was leaving as a result of a confluence of problems with Harvard and new opportunities at Yale.


She described the Committee on Social Studies, which she chairs, as "a great program," but said she was frustrated by its non-departmental status at Harvard. Social Studies has no faculty of its own; its professors are appointed from other departments. It also has no graduate component.

"I want to take to the graduate and degree-granting level work in social studies," Benhabib said.

She said the structural changes to the social studies or government programs that might have encouraged her to stay probably would have met "a lot of resistance."

Although she said there had been talk of appointing senior faculty in social studies alone on a provisional five-year basis, she said doing so would "require an enormous amount of work."

"We are coming up against very entrenched institutional issues," she said.

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