Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Danielle Allen  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: N/A

-- Website --
-- Danielle Allen on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Allen has lived and taught in Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Danielle Allen is a political theorist who has published broadly in democratic theory, political sociology, and the history of political thought. Along with the books she has written below, she has also edited, [ ''From Voice to Influence: Understanding Citizenship in a Digital Age''] in 2015.

Published Works

  • The World of Prometheus: The Politics of Punishing in Democratic Athens, Princeton University Press, 1999
  • Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of Citizenship since Brown v. Board of Education, University Of Chicago Press, 2006
  • Why Plato Wrote , Wiley-Blackwell, 2010
  • Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality, Liveright, 2015
  • Education and Equality, University of Chicago Press, 2016
  • Cuz, or the Life and Times of Michael A., W.W. Norton, forthcoming 2017

Selected Titles At Your Library

The World of Prometheus :
ISBN: 0691058695. OCLC Number:

Princeton University Press,. Princeton :. Jan. 2009.

For Danielle Allen, punishment is more a window onto democratic Athens' fundamental values than simply a set of official practices. From imprisonment to stoning to refusal of burial, instances of punishment in ancient Athens fueled conversations among ordinary citizens and political and literary figures about the nature of justice. Re-creating in vivid detail the cultural context of this conversation, Allen shows that punishment gave the community an opportunity to establish a shining myth of harmony and cleanliness: that the city could be purified of anger and social struggle, and perfect order achieved. Each member of the city--including notably women and slaves--had a specific role to play in restoring equilibrium among punisher, punished, and society. The common view is that democratic legal processes moved away from the "emotional and personal" to the "rational and civic," but Allen shows that anger, honor, reciprocity, spectacle, and social memory constantly prevailed in Athenian law and politics. Allen draws upon oratory, tragedy, and philosophy to present the lively intellectual climate in which punishment was incurred, debated, and inflicted by Athenians. Broad in scope, this book is one of the first to offer both a full account of punishment in antiquity and an examination of the political stakes of democratic punishment. It will engage classicists, political theorists, legal historians, and anyone wishing to learn more about the relations between institutions and culture, normative ideas and daily events, punishment and democracy.

Talking to strangers :
ISBN: 0226014673. OCLC Number:

University of Chicago Press ;. Chicago, Ill. :. 2006.

"'Don't talk to strangers' is the advice parents of all classes and races give to their children. Today that advice has evolved into a fundamental precept of civic education, reflecting interracial distrust, personal and political alienation, and a profound distrust of others. Danielle S. Allen takes this maxim back to Little Rock, rooting out the seeds of distrust to replace them with "a citizenship of political friendship." Returning to the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, Allen argues that we have yet to complete the transition to political friendship that this moment offered. By combining brief readings of philosophers and political theorists with personal reflections on race politics in Chicago, Allen proposes strikingly practical techniques of citizenship--tools that can help us become more trustworthy to others and overcome the fossilized distrust among us. According to Allen, the key concept that bridges citizenship and trust is sacrifice. She uncovers the ordinary, daily sacrifices citizens make to keep democracy working--and offers methods for recognizing and reciprocating those sacrifices."--Page 4 of cover.

Why Plato wrote /
ISBN: 1444334484. OCLC Number:

Wiley-Blackwell,. Malden, MA :. 2010.

"Why Plato Wrote is the first book to be published in the prestigious Blackwell Bristol Lecture Series in Greece, Rome and the Classical Tradition. In this thought-provoking text Danielle Allen eloquently argues that Plato wrote to change Athenian culture and thereby transform Athenian politics. She makes the case that Plato was not only the world's first systematic political philosopher, but also the western world's first think-tank activist and message man. Allen contends that the roles of philosopher and message man were not mutually exclusive, and that Plato's pursuit of language as a vehicle for affecting cultural norms was grounded in his philosophy of language. Why Plato Wrote is a lucid and engaging commentary on Plato's philosophy of language and its relation to his political theory"--

Our Declaration :
ISBN: 1631490443. OCLC Number:

. .

Allen makes the case that we cannot have freedom as individuals without equality among us as a people. Evoking the colonial world between 1774 and 1777, Allen describes the challenges faced by John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert Livingston--the "Committee of Five" who had to write a document that reflected the aspirations of a restive population and forge an unprecedented social contract. Although the focus is usually on Jefferson, Allen restores credit not only to John Adams and Richard Henry Lee but also to clerk Timothy Matlack and printer Mary Katherine Goddard. Allen also restores the text of the Declaration itself. Its list of self-evident truths does not end with our individual right to the "pursuit of happiness" but with the collective right of the people to reform government so that it will "effect their Safety and Happiness." The sentence laying out the self-evident truths leads us from the individual to the community--from our individual rights to what we can achieve only together, as a community constituted by bonds of equality.

Education and equality /
ISBN: 022637310X. OCLC Number:

. .

"American education as we know it today - guaranteed by the state to serve every child in the country - is still less than a hundred years old. It's no wonder we haven't yet agreed exactly what role education should play in our society. In these Tanner Lectures, Danielle Allen brings us much closer, examining the ideological impasse between vocational and humanistic approaches that has plagued educational discourse and offering a compelling proposal to finally resolve the dispute"--


Our Declaration

  • Francis Parkman Prize, 2015
  • Chicago Tribune Heartland Award for nonfiction, 2015

    Speaking Engagements

    Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

    Please contact her assistant, Emily.