HDS Welcomes Journalist and Author E.J. Dionne for 2017–18 Academic Year

June 22, 2017
E.J. Dionne
Journalist and author E. J. Dionne / Photo: Paul Morigi

Harvard Divinity School is pleased to announce that E.J. Dionne, the distinguished journalist and author, political commentator, and longtime op-ed columnist, will join the School for the 2017–18 academic year as a William H. Bloomberg Visiting Professor.

This is a joint appointment with Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the Harvard Kennedy School and made possible by the Office of the President and the Office of the Provost. Dionne will teach at HDS and in Social Studies at FAS, and be an affiliate at HKS.

Commenting on the appointment, Dionne said: “The Divinity School has been dear to me from my time as an undergraduate, when I took Harvey Cox's extraordinary course, 'Eschatology and Politics'. It fed an interest—you might call it a passion—that has been with me all my life: Religion will always play a powerful role in shaping the public sphere, and for believers, faith will always be intimately connected to their way of engaging in politics. How do we understand this connection? What does it mean in a pluralistic society that values religious freedom and freedom of thought?”

“I’m delighted that E.J. Dionne will join us to teach next year,” said HDS Dean David N. Hempton. “E.J.’s deep knowledge of public affairs, his long record of distinguished reporting and commentary, and his keen insight into the intersections of religion and public life make his a vital voice in our national dialogue. HDS and the wider Harvard community look forward to benefitting from his insight at a time of tremendous change in both the religious and public spheres.”

Dionne holds an AB summa cum laude in social studies from Harvard University (1973), where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and was affiliated with Adams House. He also earned a DPhil in sociology from Balliol College, Oxford (1982), where he was a Rhodes Scholar.

James Kloppenberg, Charles Warren Professor of American History and the chair of Social Studies, commented that “we are delighted our distinguished graduate E.J. Dionne will be returning to Social Studies to offer a course next year. These days, when shouting drowns out reasoned argument and the latest outrage distracts us from the big picture, his thoughtful commentary is indispensable. Everyone at Harvard will benefit from his presence.”

Dionne's published works include the influential 1991 bestseller Why Americans Hate Politics, which argued that several decades of political polarization was alienating a silent centrist majority. Later books include They Only Look Dead: Why Progressives Will Dominate the Next Political Era (1996), Stand up Fight Back: Republican Toughs, Democratic Wimps, and Politics of Revenge (2004), Souled Out: Reclaiming Faith and Politics After the Religious Right (2008), Our Divided Political Heart: The Battle for the American Idea in an Age of Discontent (2012), and Why the Right Went Wrong: Conservatism-From Goldwater to the Tea Party and Beyond (2016). He is currently working on a book with Norman Ornstein and Tom Mann, “One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate and the Not-Yet-Deported,” which will be published in September.

In addition to his journalism work, Dionne is a senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution, >a government professor at Georgetown University, and a commentator on politics for National Public Radio, ABC’s “This Week,” and MSNBC. During his time at Harvard, he plans to continue his work at Georgetown, Brookings, and his op-ed column.

Media inquiries may be directed to Michael Naughton, media relations coordinator at HDS.