Avshalom Schwartz

Postdoctoral Scholar, Political Science
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Graduation Year
Dissertation Title
Democratic Phantasies: Political Imagination and the Athenian Democracy
Avshalom Schwartz

Avshalom is a Postdoctoral Scholar at the Stanford Civics Initiative at Stanford University studying political theory. His research focuses on the role of imagination in politics, the conceptual history of the imagination, and questions of legitimacy and political stability in classical and early modern political thought.

His book manuscript, "Democratic Phantasies: Political Imagination and the Athenian Democracy," offers a new theoretical account of the “democratic imagination,” or the potential role of imagination in democratic politics. Focusing on one of the most creative and imaginative moments in human history—the ancient Athenian democracy—it shows, first, that we find in classical historiography, prose, drama, and philosophy important resources that can enrich our modern understanding of the political functions of the imagination. Second, it argues that democratic Athens provides us with a model of a democratic political imagination, one that can generate the civic sensibilities required for preserving a democratic society, promote fruitful association among citizens, and encourage the acceptance of diverse viewpoints and ways of living a good life. 

He is also interested in the role of imagination in the history of philosophy, especially in classical, medieval, Renaissance, and early modern scientific and political thought. His work in this area has focused on Hobbes’s theory of the imagination, its historical and intellectual context, and its relationship to his political thought.

His work has appeared in the American Journal of Political Science, History of Political Thought, and History of European Ideas, among others. 

He is a former Gerald J. Lieberman fellow, one of Stanford University’s highest distinctions for doctoral students. He was also a Ric Weiland Graduate Fellow and held graduate fellowships with Stanford’s Center for Ethics in Society and the Stanford Basic Income Lab. In 2020, He received an M.A. in classics from Stanford University. Before coming to Stanford, He received a B.A. in political science and economics and an M.A. in political science from Tel Aviv University, both Summa cum Laude.


Research Interests

Fields of Study
Political Theory
Comparative Politics