Alan Wolfe

Distinguished Senior Fellow

Expertise: Religion and Politics, Immigration

Experience: Alan Wolfe is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College. He is the author and editor of more than 20 books, including, most recently, Political Evil (2011), The Future of Liberalism (2009), Gambling: Mapping the American Moral Landscape, (co-edited with Erik Owens, 2009), Does American Democracy Still Work? (2006), and Return to Greatness: How America Lost Its Sense of Purpose and What it Needs to Do to Recover It (2005), The Transformation of American Religion: How We actually Live our Faith (2003), and An Intellectual in Public (2003), School Choice: The Moral Debate (editor, 2002), Moral Freedom: The Search for Virtue in a World of Choice (2001), One Nation, After All (1998), and Marginalized in the Middle (1997), Both One Nation, After All and Moral Freedom were selected as New York Times Notable Books of the Year. 

Professor Wolfe attended Temple University as an undergraduate and received his doctorate in political science from the University of Pennsylvania in 1967. He has honorary degrees from Loyola College in Maryland and St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.

A contributing editor of The New Republic, The Wilson Quarterly, Commonwealth Magazine, and In Character, Professor Wolfe writes often for those publications as well as for Commonweal, The New York Times, Harper's, The Atlantic Monthly, The Washington Post, and other magazines and newspapers. He served as an advisor to President Clinton in preparation for his 1995 State of the Union address and has lectured widely at American and European universities.

Professor Wolfe has been the recipient of grants from the Russell Sage Foundation, the Templeton Foundation, the Smith Richardson Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, National Endowment for the Humanities and the Lilly Endowment. He has twice conducted programs under the auspices of the U.S. State Department that bring Muslim scholars to the United States to learn about separation of church and state. He is listed in Who's Who in the World, Who's Who in America and Contemporary Authors.


Temple University, B.S.

Vanderbilt University, Graduate work in Political Science.

University of Pennsylvania, Ph.D. in Political Science.

Languages: English, Danish, and some French.

Honorary Degree: Doctorate, Humane Letters, St. Joseph’s University of Philadelphia, PA, May 13, 2006.
George Herbert Walker Bush Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, Fall 2004.
Honorary Degree: Doctorate, Humane Letters, Loyola University of Maryland, March 22, 2002
The New York Times Notable Book of the Year, Moral Freedom, 2001.
Award for Public Understanding of Sociology, American Sociological Association, 2001.
  The Future of Liberalism (Knopf, Feb. 2009)
 Does American Democracy Still Work? (Yale University Press, 2006)
Is There a Culture War?
 Is there a Culture War? A Dialogue on Values and American Public Life, co-authored with James Davidson Hunter. (Brookings Institution Press, 2006).
Italian translation:  Ritorno alla grandezza Come l’America ha perso la consapevolezza dei propri fini e come può ritrovarla. (UTET SpA, 2007).
An Intellectual in Public (The University of Michigan Press, 2003)
School Choice: The Moral Debate (editor) (Princeton University Press, 2003).
Marginalized in the Middle (University of Chicago Press, June 6 1998)
The Human Difference: Animals, Computers, and the Necessity of Social Science, Berkeley: (University of California Press, 1993).
America at Century's End (editor), Berkeley: (University of California Press, 1991).
Whose Keeper?: Social Science and Moral Obligation, Berkeley: (University of California Press, 1989). 
The Rise And Fall Of The ‘Soviet Threat,’ Washington: (Institute for Policy Studies, 1979).
The Limits Of Legitimacy: Political Contradictions of Contemporary Capitalism, New York: (Free Press, 1977).                                       
Spanish Translation: Los Limites de la Legitimidad. Mexico City: Siglo XXI, 1980.  Second printing: 1988.
The Politics And Society Reader, with Ira Katznelson et al. New York: (McKay, 1974).
Political Analysis:  An Unorthodox Approach, with Charles A. McCoy, New York: (Crowell, 1972). 
An End To Political Science: The Caucus Papers, with Marvin Surkin, New York: (Basic Books, 1970). 

"One-Party Country," The New Republic, September 1, 2009.

"The Future of Kennedy Liberalism," Boston Globe, August 27, 2009.

"A God for All Seasons," National Interest Online, August 25, 2009.
Hedonic Man: The New Economics and the Pursuit of Happiness,” Review of Happiness: A Revolution in Economics by Bruno S. Frey and Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely, The New Republic, July 9, 2008.
"How Revolt Ricocheted to the Right,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, June 20, 2008.
The Race’s Real Winner,” The Washington Post, May 11, 2008.
The Forgotten Philosopher,” Review of John Stuart Mill: Victorian Firebrand by Richard Reeves, The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 9, 2008.
And the Winner Is….,” The Atlantic Monthly, March 2008.
Faith and Tolerance,” The Boston Globe, February 29, 2008.
The TNR Primary: Part Eight,” The New Republic, February 13, 2008
True Secularist,” Newsweek International (Web Exclusive). Lily Huang (Interviewer) (8 February 2008) 10 February 2008.  
Academia (Kind of) Goes to War: Chomsky and His Children,” World Affairs: A Journal of Ideas and Debate, Winter 2008.
Peace and Power,” Review of The Great Experiment: The Story of Ancient Empires, Modern States, and the Quest for a Global Nation by Strobe Talbott, The Boston Globe, January 13, 2008.
Mormons and Money,” The New Republic, December 31, 2007:
Our Dishonest Politics of Faith,” The Daily News, December 10, 2007.
The Future of the American Idea,” The Atlantic Monthly, November 2007.
Mobilizing the Religious Left,” The New York Times, October 21, 2007.
Dangerous Waters,” The Guardian, October 15, 2007.
What We Don’t Know about Gambling, but Should,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, October 12, 2007.
Divided We Stand,” The Guardian, September 11, 2007.
The Borders of Liberalism,” The Guardian, July 10, 2007.
Politische Philosophie in den USA: Rechte and Linke.” Die Gazette, Nummer 13/ Frühjahr 2007.
In Charge but out of Touch,” The Guardian, January 12, 2007.
¿Teocracia Americana?", Foreign Policy Edición Española, Diciembre/Enero 2007.
"Myths and Realities of Religion in Politics," in Red and Blue Nation? Volume One, edited by Pietro S. Nivola and David W. Brady, 206-213. Brookings Institution Press: Baltimore, Maryland, 2006.
“The Calling of the Public Intellectual,” in Public Intellectuals: An Endangered Species?, edited by Amitai Etzioni and Alyssa Bowditch, 91-94. Rowan and Littlefield Publishers, Inc: Lanham, Maryland, 2006.
“Religion in America,” in The Rise of Anti-Americanism, edited by Brendon O’Connor and Martin Griffiths, 195-202.  Routledge: New York, New York, 2006.
“Education and Character in an Age of Moral Freedom,” in To Restore American Democracy: Political Education and the Modern University, edited by Robert E. Calvert, 137-153. Rowan and Littlefield Publishers, Inc: Lanham, Maryland, 2006. 
“Religious Diversity: The American Experiment that works” in Americanism:  New Perspectives on the History of an Ideal, edited by Michael Kazin and Joseph A. McCartin, 153-166.  The University of North Carolina Press: Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 2006.
“Religion as Unifier and Divider,” in Uniting America: Restoring the Vital Center to American Democracy, edited by Norton Garfinkle and Daniel Yankelovich, 93-108.  Yale University Press: New Haven, Connecticut, 2005.  Reprinted in Dieu et le droit à la difference, 397-411.  Centre d’Édition et de Diffusion du Livre, Université Saint-Esprit de Kaslik, Liban, (December 2005) No 21, Volume 2.
The Limits of the Purpose Driven Life: Can 20 Million Readers be Wrong?”  in character: A Journal of Everyday Virtues, 1:2 (Winter 2005). 
“Der Traum von einer freien Welt” Internationale Politik, January 2005.
Attended “The Future of Religion & Spirituality” Christus Futures Task Force II meeting in Boston, MA on May 13, 2008.
Attended conference at the Harvard-Yenching Institute, Nature of Liberal Arts on May 9, 2008.
Spoke on “In Praise of Artifice,” at University of California, San Diego on April 23, 2008.
Attended Featherman Humanities Lecture, “Who’s Afraid of American Religion?”, on April 4, 2008, at The University of New England, Biddeford, ME
Addressed Boston College, "Voice of the Faithful: Impact and Prospects", on February 27, 2008.
Appeared on NPRs OnPoint at WBUR: "Religious War, Religious Peace" on February 19, 2008.
Spoke on "Assessing the 2008 Super Primary", on February 11, 2008 at Boston College,
Spoke on "Practicing Religion", for WGBH Greater Boston on February 5, 2008.

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