Joshua L. Cherniss


Assistant Professor


Department of Government
General profile


+1 202-687-6130


681 ICC

Office hours

On leave AY 2016-17


Joshua Cherniss is a political theorist working in both the history of political thought and contemporary political theory. His research interests range over the history of political ideas from the 16th century to the present, with particular focus on twentieth century political thought; the history of liberal thought and its critics; and questions of political ethics. He has published articles on Max Weber and Reinhold Niebuhr, and several book chapters, articles, and a book (Oxford University Press, 2013) on Isaiah Berlin, and is currently co-editing the Cambridge Companion to Isaiah Berlin.
He is currently working on his second book, which examines the interplay between thinking about political ethics, and the defense of liberalism against its radical critics in twentieth century political thought, and traces the articulation and defense of liberalism as a distinctive political "ethos", defined by a particular sensibility, temperament, and set of dispositions and values applied to political conduct. He is also in the early stages of a third book project, which will trace this concern with liberalism and political ethics, and conception of liberalism as an ethos, in the work of Eastern European dissidents under Communism.
His teaching reflects all of these preoccupations, as well as his interest in connecting political theory to the study of historical and contemporary political practice, philosophy, and literature. In Fall 2018 he will be teaching Phil 099: Political and Social Theory (in the Edmund A Walsh School of Foreign Service) and a graduate seminar on Political Theory in the Twentieth Century.


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  • PhD (2014) Harvard University, Political Science/Government
  • DPhil (2009) Oxford University, History
  • B.A. (2002) Yale University, Political Science