Melissa S. Lane
- Political Theory
Melissa Lane is the Class of 1943 Professor of Politics and Associate Chair of the Department of Politics. Her work is in political theory, with her principal expertise being ancient Greek political thought and its modern reception. She also works on a broad range of topics in the history of political thought and in normative theory and public ethics. She is a 2012 Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.
Professor Lane’s books include The Birth of Politics: Eight Greek and Roman Political Ideas and Why They Matter (Princeton University Press, 2015; published in UK and Commonwealth countries by Penguin in 2014 as Greek and Roman Political Ideas); Eco-Republic (Princeton, University Press, 2012); Plato's Progeny: How Plato and Socrates still captivate the modern mind (Duckworth, 2001) ; Method and Politics in Plato's Statesman (Cambridge University Press, 1998), and an 'Introduction' to the Penguin Classics volume of Plato ’ s Republic (2007 edition). She has edited, with Martin A. Ruehl, A Poet's Reich: Politics and Culture in the George Circle (Camden House), in which her own contribution builds on archival work on the Circle's reading of Plato, and, with Verity Harte, Politeia in Greek and Roman Philosophy for Cambridge University Press. She is a contributor to both The Cambridge History of Greek and Roman Political Thought (of which she was also an Associate Editor) and The Cambridge History of Twentieth Century Political Thought. Her article on 'ancient political philosophy' was published in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy in 2010 (updated 2014). Current projects include knowledge, rule, and office in Platonic and other fourth-century Greek thought and work on the ethics and politics of sustainability. She co-convenes the Princeton Climate Futures Initiative.
Before coming to Princeton, Professor Lane taught political thought in the Faculty of History at the University of Cambridge, where she was a Fellow of King's College, Cambridge, and had studied as a Marshall Scholar, Truman Scholar, and Mary Isabel Sibley Fellow of Phi Beta Kappa. She is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA). Recent and current academic service includes chairing the Lippincott Prize (2015) for the American Political Science Association; serving on the Spitz Prize Committee for the Conference for the Study of Political Thought (2012); and serving on the Steering Committee of the Humanities Initiative for the Yad Hanadiv Foundation (2012-15). In 2012-13, she was on leave as a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University. Most recent named lectures delivered include the Hood Lecture and Chapman Lecture (University of Auckland, 2015). Her experience in communicating philosophical ideas and the value of ancient political thought to public audiences includes contributions to BBC Radio 4, BBC Two television channel, the podcast series Philosophy Bites, the San Francisco public radio series Philosophy Talk, and the New York Times.
A.B. summa cum laude, Harvard University; M.Phil. and PhD, University of Cambridge