Alan Wolfe
Alan Wolfe is a political scientist
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

 and a sociologist and is currently on the faculty of Boston College
Boston College
Boston College is a private Jesuit research university located in the village of Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, USA. The main campus is bisected by the border between the cities of Boston and Newton. It has 9,200 full-time undergraduates and 4,000 graduate students. Its name reflects its early...

 and serves as director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life
Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life
The Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life is a research center at Boston College. The goal of the Boisi Center is to create opportunities where a community of scholars, policy makers, media and religious leaders in the Boston area and nationally can connect in conversations and...

. He is also a member of the Advisory Board of the Future of American Democracy Foundation
Future of American Democracy Foundation
The Future of American Democracy Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy foundation dedicated to research and education, working in partnership with the Yale University Press to clarify and analyze contemporary domestic and foreign policy. Board members include distinguished scholars...

, a nonprofit, nonpartisan foundation in partnership with Yale University Press
Yale University Press
Yale University Press is a book publisher founded in 1908 by George Parmly Day. It became an official department of Yale University in 1961, but remains financially and operationally autonomous....

 and the Yale Center for International and Area Studies, "dedicated to research and education aimed at renewing and sustaining the historic vision of American democracy".


A graduate of Central High School (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), he received a B.S.
Bachelor of Science
A Bachelor of Science is an undergraduate academic degree awarded for completed courses that generally last three to five years .-Australia:In Australia, the BSc is a 3 year degree, offered from 1st year on...

 from Temple University
Temple University
Temple University is a comprehensive public research university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Originally founded in 1884 by Dr. Russell Conwell, Temple University is among the nation's largest providers of professional education and prepares the largest body of professional...

 in 1963 and a Ph.D.
Doctor of Philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy, abbreviated as Ph.D., PhD, D.Phil., or DPhil , in English-speaking countries, is a postgraduate academic degree awarded by universities...

 in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania is a private, Ivy League university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Penn is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States,Penn is the fourth-oldest using the founding dates claimed by each institution...

 in 1967. He has honorary degree
Honorary degree
An honorary degree or a degree honoris causa is an academic degree for which a university has waived the usual requirements, such as matriculation, residence, study, and the passing of examinations...

s from Loyola College in Maryland
Loyola College in Maryland
Loyola University Maryland is a Roman Catholic, Jesuit private university in Baltimore, Maryland, United States. Established as Loyola College in Maryland by John Early and eight other members of the Society of Jesus in 1852, it is one of 28 member institutions of the Association of Jesuit Colleges...

 and St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia.


Earlier in his career, Wolfe was a member of the collective that put out the Marxist-oriented journal, Kapitalistate, whose pages featured articles by such writers as Poulantzas, Claus Offe
Claus Offe
Professor Claus Offe is a political sociologist of Marxist orientation. Once a student of Jürgen Habermas, the left-leaning German academic is counted among the second generation Frankfurt School...

, Ralph Miliband
Ralph Miliband
Ralph Miliband , born Adolphe Miliband, was a Belgian-born British sociologist known as a prominent Marxist thinker...

, and Bob Jessop
Bob Jessop
Bob Jessop is a British academic and writer who has published extensively on state theory and political economy. He is currently Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the University of Lancaster.-Work:...

. By the early 1980s, Wolfe's politics had become more centrist
In politics, centrism is the ideal or the practice of promoting policies that lie different from the standard political left and political right. Most commonly, this is visualized as part of the one-dimensional political spectrum of left-right politics, with centrism landing in the middle between...


A contributing editor of The New Republic
The New Republic
The magazine has also published two articles concerning income inequality, largely criticizing conservative economists for their attempts to deny the existence or negative effect increasing income inequality is having on the United States...

, The Wilson Quarterly, Commonwealth Magazine, and In Character, Wolfe writes often for those publications as well as for Commonweal
Commonweal is a American journal of opinion edited and managed by lay Catholics. It is headquartered in The Interchurch Center in New York City.-History:...

, The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

, Harper's, The Atlantic Monthly
The Atlantic Monthly
The Atlantic is an American magazine founded in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1857. It was created as a literary and cultural commentary magazine. It quickly achieved a national reputation, which it held for more than a century. It was important for recognizing and publishing new writers and poets,...

, The Washington Post
The Washington Post
The Washington Post is Washington, D.C.'s largest newspaper and its oldest still-existing paper, founded in 1877. Located in the capital of the United States, The Post has a particular emphasis on national politics. D.C., Maryland, and Virginia editions are printed for daily circulation...

, World Affairs
World Affairs (journal)
World Affairs is a bimonthly magazine covering international relations. It is the official journal of the American Peace Society. The magazine has been published since 1837 and was re-launched in January 2008 as a new publication. Each issue contains articles offering diverse perspectives on global...

 and other magazines and newspapers. He served as an advisor to President Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

 in preparation for his 1995 State of the Union Address
State of the Union Address
The State of the Union is an annual address presented by the President of the United States to the United States Congress. The address not only reports on the condition of the nation but also allows the president to outline his legislative agenda and his national priorities.The practice arises...

 and has lectured widely at American and European universities. He was ranked #98 in the list of the 500 most cited intellectuals in the 2001 book by Richard Posner
Richard Posner
Richard Allen Posner is an American jurist, legal theorist, and economist who is currently a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago and a Senior Lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School...

 titled Public Intellectuals.

Wolfe currently chairs a task force of the American Political Science Association
American Political Science Association
The American Political Science Association is a professional association of political science students and scholars in the United States. Founded in 1903, it publishes three academic journals...

 on "Religion and Democracy in the United States." He serves on the advisory boards of Humanity in Action and the Future of American Democracy Foundation and on the president's advisory board of the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities. He is also a Senior Fellow with the World Policy Institute
World Policy Institute
The World Policy Institute, a non-partisan policy institute which claims to develop policies that require a progressive ideology. WPI focuses on cooperative policies in order to achieve : an inclusive and sustainable global market economy, engaged global civic participation and effective...

 at the New School University in New York. In the fall of 2004, Professor Wolfe was the George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
George Herbert Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States . He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States , a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to...

 Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin
American Academy in Berlin
The American Academy in Berlin is a research and cultural institution in Berlin whose stated mission is to foster a greater understanding and dialogue between the people of the United States and the people of Germany.The American Academy was founded in September 1994 by a group of prominent...


"Wolfe, a self-proclaimed atheist, said he recognizes the importance of being open to religious ideas," a 2008 report about an “Ethics
Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime, etc.Major branches of ethics include:...

 of Atheism” debate put it.

Wolfe has been the recipient of grants from the Russell Sage Foundation
Russell Sage Foundation
The Russell Sage Foundation is the principal American foundation devoted exclusively to research in the social sciences. Founded in 1907 and headquartered in New York City, the foundation is a research center, a funding source for studies by scholars at other institutions, and a key member of the...

, the Templeton Foundation, the Smith Richardson Foundation
Smith Richardson Foundation
The Smith Richardson Foundation is a private foundation based in Westport, Connecticut, that supports policy research in the realms of foreign and domestic public policy....

, the Carnegie Corporation of New York
Carnegie Corporation of New York
Carnegie Corporation of New York, which was established by Andrew Carnegie in 1911 "to promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding," is one of the oldest, largest and most influential of American foundations...

, and the Lilly Endowment
Lilly Endowment
Lilly Endowment Inc., headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana is one of the world's largest private philanthropic foundations and is among the ten largest such endowments in the United States....

. He has twice conducted programs under the auspices of the U.S. State Department that bring Muslim scholars
Muslim scholars
This article is a ist of modern-day scholars of Islam who are themselves Muslim.Geographical categories have been created based on commonalities in culture and language across the Muslim World. Non-Scholars This article is a ist of modern-day (20th to 21st century) scholars of Islam who are...

 to the United States to learn about separation of church and state
Separation of church and state
The concept of the separation of church and state refers to the distance in the relationship between organized religion and the nation state....

. He is listed in Who's Who in the World, Who's Who in America, and Contemporary Authors.


  • An End To Political Science: The Caucus Papers With Marvin Surkin (Basic Books
    Basic Books
    Basic Books is a book publisher founded in 1952 and located in New York. It publishes books in the fields of psychology, philosophy, economics, science, politics, sociology, current affairs, and history.-History:...

    , 1970)
  • Political Analysis: An Unorthodox Approach With Charles A. McCoy (Crowell
    -Surname:* A. Elmer Crowell, Decoy Carver* Andrew Crowell, Australian rules footballer* Angelo Crowell, American football player* Benedict Crowell, general* Benjamin Crowell, author and open-source/free textbook advocate...

    , 1972)
  • The Seamy Side Of Democracy: Repression In America (McKay
    -A:* Adam McKay* Æneas Mackay , Prime Minister of the Netherlands, member and president of the Dutch House of Representatives* Al McKay* Alexander McKay * Alfred Edwin McKay* Allen McKay* Ami McKay* Andrew McKay...

    , 1973)
  • The Politics And Society Reader With Ira Katznelson et al. (1974)
  • The Limits Of Legitimacy: Political Contradictions of Contemporary Capitalism (Free Press
    Free Press (publisher)
    Free Press is a book publishing imprint of Simon and Schuster. It was founded by Jeremiah Kaplan and Charles Liebman in 1947 and was devoted to sociology and religion titles. It was headquartered in Glencoe, Illinois, where it was known as The Free Press of Glencoe...

    , 1977)
  • The Rise And Fall Of The `Soviet Threat (Institute for Policy Studies
    Institute for Policy Studies
    Institute for Policy Studies is a left-wing think tank based in Washington, D.C..It has been directed by John Cavanagh since 1998- History :...

    , 1979)
  • Whose Keeper? Social Science and Moral Obligation (University of California Press
    University of California Press
    University of California Press, also known as UC Press, is a publishing house associated with the University of California that engages in academic publishing. It was founded in 1893 to publish books and papers for the faculty of the University of California, established 25 years earlier in 1868...

    , 1991)
  • One Nation, After All (1998)
  • Moral Freedom: The Search for Virtue in a World of Choice (2001),
  • The Transformation of American Religion: How We Actually Practice our Faith (2003).
  • Return to Greatness: How America Lost Its Sense of Purpose and What it Needs to Do to Recover It (Princeton University Press
    Princeton University Press
    -Further reading:* "". Artforum International, 2005.-External links:* * * * *...

    , 2005)
  • Does American Democracy Still Work? (Yale University Press
    Yale University Press
    Yale University Press is a book publisher founded in 1908 by George Parmly Day. It became an official department of Yale University in 1961, but remains financially and operationally autonomous....

    , 2006)
  • The Future of Liberalism, Knopf, 2009
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