Josiah Ober is an American historian and classical political theorist. He holds the ‚ÄúTsakopoulos-Kounalakis Professorship in honor of Constantine Mitsotakis Chair‚ÄĚ of Classics and Political Science at Stanford University. His teaching and research links ancient Greek history and philosophy with modern political theory and practice.
Ober was educated at the University of Minnesota (B.A., Major in History, 1975) and the University of Michigan (Ph.D., Department of History, 1980).
He was a Professor of Ancient History at Montana State University (1980‚Äď1990), and then at Princeton University (1990‚Äď2006).
He has received fellowships from numerous institutions, including the American Council of Learned Societies (1989‚Äď90) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (1997). He delivered the 2002-2003 Sigmund H. Danziger, Jr. Memorial Lecture in the Humanities at the University of Chicago.
Ober was a student of the distinguished American ancient historian Chester Starr, and has been the teacher of many scholars, such as the classicist John Ma and the political theorist Ryan Balot.
His early work has been criticized by scholars such as Mogens Herman Hansen for over-emphasizing the ideological aspect of Athenian democracy against its institutional dimension, and his more recent writing has been accused by P.J. Rhodes of abandoning scholarly impartiality in favour of democratic advocacy.
On the whole, however, Ober's work has been well received. For example, Paul Cartledge has called Mass and Elite in Democratic Athens 'a seminal work', and Jennifer Roberts has called Political Dissent in Democratic Athens 'a major contribution to a dialogue of enormous import'.Continue Reading »