Daniel Nichanian


Teaching Fellow in the Social Sciences

Lecturer in Political Science

University of Chicago

Daniel Nichanian is a Teaching Fellow in the Social Sciences Division and a Lecturer in Political Science at the University of Chicago. He completed his PhD in political theory in the Political Science Department of the University of Chicago in September 2016. His dissertation, Seizing a Seat at the Table: Participatory Politics in the Face of Disqualification, examines how people work to participate in the business of government in situations where they are not recognized as having the proper qualifications to do so. It reconstructs the misunderstood logic of social movements—like those of 1870s American suffragists or 1980s AIDS activists—that work to contribute their views to spaces and processes that present themselves as beyond popular involvement. He is currently working on his book manuscript, as well as conducting new research on antislavery political thought in the antebellum United States.

His research and teaching interests lie in democratic theory, political participation, critical theory, American and French political thought and history, the role of experts in democratic institutions, and the history of experiments in popular government. He has taught courses introducing undergraduates to the history of political thought from Plato to Hannah Arendt, as well as advanced courses on American political thought and contemporary democratic theory.

He holds a B.A. in political science and in philosophy from Yale University (summa cum laude, 2008) and an M.A. in political sociology and philosophy from Université Paris VII-Diderot (2010). He has also written for The Atlantic, FiveThirtyEight, Vox, and OpenDemocracy. From 2014 to 2016, he was the recipient of the Hanna Holborn Gray Fellowship.