Alan Patten

Alan Patten is Howard Harrison and Gabrielle Snyder Beck Professor of Politics and Director of Princeton's University Center for Human Values.

A citizen of Canada and the United States, he has a B.A. from McGill, an M.A. from Toronto and an M. Phil. and D. Phil. (1996) from Oxford. He previously taught at McGill University and the University of Exeter, and has visited at the State Islamic University of Indonesia in Jakarta

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His book, Equal Recognition: The Moral Foundations of Minority Rights, appeared in 2014 with Princeton University Press.

He is also the author of Hegel’s Idea of Freedom (Oxford, 1999), which won the APSA First Book Prize in Political Theory and the C.B. Macpherson Prize awarded by the Canadian Political Science Association. He is the co-editor, with Will Kymlicka, of Language Rights and Political Theory (Oxford, 2003). His articles have appeared in Political Theory, Ethics, Philosophy & Public Affairs, Journal of Political Philosophy, History of Political Thought, and the American Political Science Review.

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Patten is currently working on a book manuscript tentatively entitled A Liberal Theory of Religious Freedom. Some of his preliminary work on this topic is published in "The Normative Logic of Religious Liberty," Journal of Political Philosophy (2017). Patten also has longstanding research interests in the history of nationalist thought, and has published several papers on this topic. His most recent article, “What's Wrong with Neo-Colonialism: The Case of Unequal Trade in Cultural Goods” (with Shuk Ying Chan) appeared in the American Political Science Review in 2023.

Patten's recent undergraduate courses include "The Just Society" and "The Ideal of Democracy." In both courses, students read a mix of historical and contemporary authors. At the graduate level, recent courses include "From Kant to Hegel," "Self-Determination," “Hegel and Marx” and "Race, Nation, and Culture." Patten has served on numerous PhD committees in the past decade on a range of different topics in both contemporary political philosophy and the history of political thought.

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Professor Patten was the editor of Philosophy & Public Affairs from 2010 to 2017. He was chair of Princeton's Department of Politics from 2018 to 2024.