Joshua Foa Dienstag’s work focuses on the intersection of politics with time, history, memory and narrative. Professor Dienstag teaches classes on the political theory of the Founders and other topics at the intersection of law, politics and philosophy.
Originally from New York City, he received his doctorate from Princeton University and taught at the University of Virginia for 13 years before moving to UCLA. His research focuses largely on European political theory between the 17th and 19th centuries but he has also written about the American Founding, film and Wittgenstein. His articles have appeared in American Political Science Review, Polity, Political Theory, Journal of Politics, History & Memory and New Literary History among other places. He has held fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. His second book Pessimism: Philosophy, Ethic, Spirit (Princeton U.P., 2006) won the Award for Excellence in Philosophy from the American Association of Publishers. His most recent book Cinema Pessimism: A Political Theory of Representation and Reciprocity (Oxford U.P.) appears in the fall of 2019.