William Connolly

William Connolly

Professor Emeritus and Academy Professor

Contact Information

Research Interests: Political theory, planetary processes and eco-politics, political economy

Education: PhD, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

William E. Connolly is Krieger-Eisenhower Professor at Johns Hopkins, where he teaches political theory. His early book, The Terms of Political Discourse, was awarded the Benjamin Lippincott Award in 1999 as “a work of exceptional quality that is still considered significant at least 15 years after publication.” In a poll of American political theorists published in PS in 2010, he was ranked the fourth most influential political theorist in America over the last twenty years, after Rawls, Habermas, and Foucault. He has been a Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford, the Institute for Advanced Study, the Stanford Center for Behavioral Studies, and a Leverthulme scholar stationed in Exeter College. He is co-moderator of the Blog The Contemporary Condition, where he posts regularly on current issues, particularly on the dangers of fascism and the bumpy relations between capitalist greenhouse emissions in temperate zone states and impersonal planetary amplifiers that both boost the effects and tend to distribute them disproportionately to nontemperate regions.

His recent work focuses on intersections between capitalism, inequality, climate wreckage, and the dangers of fascism. It also focuses on how scholars can become intellectuals in today's world. The more recent books include Why I Am Not A Secularist (1999);  Neuropolitics (2002);  Pluralism (2005); Capitalism and Christianity, American Style (2008); A World of Becoming (2011); The Fragility of Things: Self-Organizing Systems, Neoliberal Fantasies and Democratic Activism (2013)Facing The Planetary: Entangled Humanism and the Politics of Swarming (2017);  Aspirational Fascism: The Struggle for Multifaceted Democracy Under Trumpism (2017), and Climate Machines, Fascist Drives, and Truth (2019).

In 2017 he was presented the Distinguished Scholar Award by the International Studies Association for his body of work on the new pluralism, secularism, global capitalism, and impersonal planetary processes. In 2020 the Western Political Science Association announced the William E. Connolly Award to be given yearly for the best paper in political theory. His 2022 book, entitled Resounding Events: Adventures of an Academic from the Working Class, was named co-winner of the David Easton Award in 2023, presented by the Foundations of Political Theory.  A new book is out for review. It is entitled Transifguring Western Cosmologies: Pagan Vitalities, Christian/Settler Legacies, and the Time of Climate Wreckage.


Duke University Press Books , 2005