Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Jean Bethke Elshtain  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction


-- Website --
-- Jean Bethke Elshtain on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

The author is professor at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago and teaches Political Science and ethics.

Biographical and Professional Information

Elshtain is an American political philosopher. She is the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics at the University of Chicago Divinity School, and is a contributing editor for ''The New Republic''. The focus of Elshtain's work is an exploration of the relationship between politics and ethics. She has published over five hundred essays and authored and/or edited over twenty books, including ''Democracy on Trial'', ''Just War Against Terror: The Burden of American Power in a Violent World'', ''Jane Addams and the Dream of American Democracy'', ''Augustine and the Limits of Politics'', and " ''Sovereignty: God, State, Self''.

Published Works

    Sovreignty: God, State, Self, Basic Books, 2008Just War Against Terror: The Burdens of American Power in a Violent World, Basic Books, 2003Jame Addams and the Dream of American Democracy, Basic books, 2002Who Are We? Critical Reflections and Hopeful Possibilities:..., Wm.B. Erdmans, 2000New WIne In Old Bottles: International Politics and Ethical Discourse, University of Notre Dame, 1998Real Politics: Political Theory and Everyday Life, John Hopkins University Press, 2000Augustine and the Limits of Politics, University of Notre Dame, 1998Democracy On Trial, Basic Books, 1994Just War Theory, NYU Press 1991, 1991Power Trips and Other Journeys, University of Wisconsin, 1990

Selected Titles At Your Library

Sovereignty :
ISBN: 0465037593. OCLC Number:

Basic Books,. New York :. ©2008.

Throughout the history of human intellectual endeavor, sovereignty has cut across the diverse realms of theology, political thought, and psychology. From earliest Christian worship to the revolutionary ideas of Thomas Jefferson and Karl Marx, the debates about sovereignty--complete independence and self-government--have dominated our history. In this seminal work of political history and political theory, leading scholar and public intellectual Jean Bethke Elshtain examines the origins and meanings of "sovereignty" as it relates to all the ways we attempt to explain our world: God, state, and self. Examining the early modern ideas of God which formed the basis for the modern sovereign state, Elshtain carries her research from theology and philosophy into psychology, showing that political theories of state sovereignty fuel contemporary understandings of sovereignty of the self. As the basis of sovereign power shifts from God, to the state, to the self, Elshtain uncovers startling realities often hidden from view. Her thesis consists in nothing less than a thorough-going rethinking of our intellectual history through its keystone concept. The culmination of over thirty years of critically applauded work in feminism, international relations, political thought, and religion, "Sovereignty" opens new ground for our understanding of our own culture, its past, present, and future.

Just war against terror :
ISBN: 0465019110. OCLC Number:

Basic Books,. New York :. ©2003.

Elshtain (social and political ethics, U. of Chicago) makes a case for the use of military force to combat terrorism. Aimed at political scientists and the interested general reader, the text begins with an analysis of the meanings embedded in the different ways in which the terrorist attacks of September 11 have been described. Other topics include the requirements for a "just war," the responses of academics and clerics to terrorism, and the responsibility of the United States to defend its ideals.

Jane Addams and the dream of American democracy :
ISBN: 0465019137. OCLC Number:

Basic Books,. New York :. ©2002.

In this ... interpretation of the life and work of quintessential "public intellectual" Jane Addams (1860-1935), [the author] explores Addams's legacy thematically and chronologically, recounting Addams's embrace of "social feminism," her challenge to the usual cleavage between "conservative" and "liberal," and the growth of Chicago's famed Hull House into a thriving cultural and intellectual center.-Back cover.

Who are we? critical reflections and hopeful possibilities /
ISBN: 0802847250. OCLC Number:

. .

Augustine and the limits of politics /
ISBN: 0268020019. OCLC Number:

University of Notre Dame Press,. Notre Dame, Ind. :. 1998, ©1995.

"What is our business "within this common mortal life?" Augustine asks and bids us to ask ourselves. What can Augustine possibly have to say about the conditions that characterize our contemporary society and appear to put democracy in crisis? Who is Augustine for us now and what do his words have to do with political theory? These are the underlying questions that animate Jean Bethke Elshtain's fascinating engagement with the thought and work of Augustine, the ancient thinker who gave no political theory per se and refused to offer up a positive utopia. In exploring the questions, Why Augustine? Why now? Elshtain brings Augustine's thought into the contemporary political arena and presents an Augustine who created a complex moral map that offers space for loyalty, love, and care, as well as a chastened form of civic virtue. The result is a controversial book about one of the world's greatest and more complex thinkers, one whose thought continues to haunt all of Western political philosophy"--Jacket.

Democracy on trial /
ISBN: 0465016162. OCLC Number:

BasicBooks, a division of Harper Collins,. New York :. ©1995.

Even as Russia and the other former Soviet republics struggle to redefine themselves in democratic terms, our own democracy is faltering, not flourishing. We confront one another as aggrieved groups rather than as free citizens. Cynicism, boredom, apathy, despair, violence - these have become coin of the civic realm. They are dark signs of the times and a warning that democracy may not be up to the task of satisfying the yearnings it unleashes - yearnings for freedom, fairness, and equality. In this timely, thought-provoking book, one of America's leading political philosophers and public intellectuals questions whether democracy will prove sufficiently robust and resilient to survive the century. Beginning with a catalogue of our discontents, Jean Bethke Elshtain asks what has gone wrong and why. She draws on examples from America and other parts of the world as she explores the politics of race, ethnicity, and gender identity - controversial, and essential, political issues of our day. Insisting that there is much to cherish in our democratic traditions, she concludes that democracy involves a permanent clash between conservatism and progressive change. Elshtain distinguishes her own position from those of both the Left and the Right, demonstrating why she has been called one of our most interesting and independent civic thinkers. Responding to critics of democracy, ancient and modern, Elshtain urges us to have the courage of our most authentic democratic convictions. We need, she insists, both hope and a sense of reality. Writing her book for citizens, not experts, Elshtain aims to open up a dialogue and to move us beyond sterile sectarian disputes. Democracy on Trial is a book of and for these times, but one that both links us to the past and looks forward to a brave democratic future, for ourselves and our posterity. Written in what one critic has called "Elshtain's bold, idiosyncratic style," this book cannot be pigeonholed ideologically. Democracy on Trial will generate wide debate and controversy.

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)