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Joshua Foa Dienstag

Joshua Foa Dienstag

Dienstag JoshuaJoshua Foa Dienstag
Professor of Political Science and Professor of Law


Office: 3339 Bunche Hall
Phone: (310) 267-5410
Fax: (310) 825-0778

Mailing Address:
UCLA Department of Political Science
4289 Bunche Hall
Box 951472
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1472

Curriculum Vitae

Class Websites


Political Theory

Research Interests:

Joshua Foa Dienstag's work focuses on the intersection of politics with time, history, memory and narrative. Originally from New York City, he received his doctorate from Princeton University and taught at the University of Virginia for 13 years before moving to UCLA. His research focuses largely on European political theory between the 17th and 19th centuries but he has also written about the American Founding, Don Quixote and Wittgenstein. His articles have appeared in American Political Science Review, Polity, Political Theory, Journal of Politics, History & Memory and New Literary History among other places. He has held fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies and the Center on Constitutional Government at Harvard University. His first book, Dancing in Chains: Narrative and Memory in Political Theory (Stanford U.P., 1997), pursued the narrative structures embedded in the major texts of political theory. His second book Pessimism: Philosophy, Ethic, Spirit (Princeton U.P., 2006) established the existence of a tradition of pessimistic political theory focused on the burdens that a time-bound existence imposes on life and politics. Professor Dienstag teaches classes in modern, continental and contemporary political theory as well as more specialized classes on individual thinkers or topics. In the near future, he hopes to offer classes on political theory and film as well as the nature of money.

Selected Publications:

Pessimism: Philosophy, Ethnic, Spirit (Princeton V.P., 2006) * Winner of the 2006 Book Award for Excellence in Philosophy from the American Associate of Publishers

Dancing in Chains: Narrative and Memory in Political Theory (Stanford V.P., 1997)

"What is Living and What is Dead in the Interpretation of Hejel?" Political Theory, 2001

"Nietzsche's Friends and Enemies", Review of Politics, 2000

"Wittgenstein Among the Savages", Polity, 1998

"Serving God and Mammon", American Political Science Review, 1996

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