Shapiro to step down after 15 years as director of Yale’s MacMillan Center

After 15 years of service, the theorist and Sterling Professor of Political Science Ian Shapiro will step down from his role on June 30.
Ian Shapiro
Ian Shapiro

After 15 years of service as the Henry R. Luce Director of the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale, Ian Shapiro has announced his intention to step down from the directorship when his current term concludes on June 30.

I am very grateful to Ian for his intellectual and organizational leadership in a crucial role for the university,” said President Peter Salovey, in an email to the Yale community on Jan. 17 announcing the news.

A renowned political scientist and theorist, Shapiro is Sterling Professor of Political Science, professor of management, and professor (adjunct) at the Yale Law School. While serving as director of the MacMillan Center, he has continued to write widely on democracy, justice, and the methods of social inquiry. His most recent books are “The Real World of Democratic Theory” (2012), “Politics Against Domination” (2016) and, with Frances Rosenbluth, “Responsible Parties: Saving Democracy from Itself” (2018).

A native of South Africa, Shapiro received his J.D. from the Yale Law School and his Ph.D. from Yale’s Department of Political Science. where he has taught since 1984 and served as chair from 1999 to 2004, when he became director of the MacMillan Center. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Under Shapiro’s leadership, the former Yale Center for International and Area Studies was renamed the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center in recognition of a transformative gift. During his tenure, the MacMillan Center has vastly expanded its support for faculty and graduate student research on international matters, most recently introducing the MacMillan International Dissertation Research Fellowship, which provides guaranteed funding for eligible doctoral students in the humanities and social sciences. Shapiro has also expanded the MacMillan Center’s support for humanities-based research. Today, more than 400 faculty and more than 750 students from across Yale annually receive support for their research, conferences, travel, and other scholarly activities.

Shapiro also helped design the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs and served as its acting director before the appointment of founding director James Levinsohn, the Charles W. Goodyear Professor in Global Affairs and professor of economics and management. Shapiro has continued to work closely with Levinsohn and the Jackson Institute faculty on the development of global affairs at Yale.

Under Shapiro’s leadership, the MacMillan Center expanded Yale’s expertise on South Asia and the Middle East. He also played a key role in the Yale Africa Initiative and in the founding of Yale Young African Scholars. Most recently, the MacMillan Center has created the Program on Refugees, Forced Displacement, and Humanitarian Responses; the Program in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies; and the Yale Research Initiative on Innovation and Scale (Y-RISE). In addition, the center has “helped burnish Yale’s historic strengths in development economics,” said Salovey. “As director, Ian has challenged the faculty to build the research and teaching enterprises around three broad sets of issues: identity, security, and conflict; democracy past, present, and future; and justice and distribution at local, national, regional, and global levels.”

Throughout his 35 years on the faculty and his 15 years as director of the MacMillan Center, Ian has been a consummate university citizen, looking for ways to strengthen research and teaching at Yale, particularly when we have dealt with challenging financial times,” added Salovey. “I know you will all join me in thanking Ian as he returns to full-time research and teaching.”

The president has asked Pericles Lewis, the Douglas Tracy Smith Professor of Comparative Literature and professor of English, vice president for global strategy, and deputy provost for international affairs, to chair a committee that will advise him on the selection of Shapiro’s successor as director of the MacMillan Center. The other members of the advisory committee are:

  • Julia Adams, professor of sociology and head of Grace Hopper College
  • Michelle Bell, the Mary E. Pinchot Professor of Environmental Health
  • Dirk Bergemann, the Douglass and Marion Campbell Professor and chair of Economics, and professor of computer science
  • Tamar Gendler, the Vincent J. Scully Professor of Philosophy, professor of psychology and cognitive science, and dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences
  • Ana de la O Torres, associate professor of political science and in the Institution for Social and Policy Studies
  • David Post, professor of ecology and environmental biology
  • Anders Winroth, the Birgit Baldwin Professor of History

Anyone who has thoughts about future directions for the center or who would like to nominate a Yale faculty member to serve as the next director can write to Pericles Lewis or fill out this form by Friday, Feb. 1.

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