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Isaac Ariail Reed

Sorensen Professor of Political & Social Thought, and Professor of Sociology

Isaac Reed currently serves as the director of the Program in Political and Social Thought. He
earned his B.A. in Mathematics and Sociology & Anthropology from Swarthmore College in
2000, followed by a Ph.D. in Sociology from Yale University in 2007. Prior to his tenure in
Charlottesville, he spent nine years teaching at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Professor Reed's scholarship concerns modernity and the human sciences, exploring themes such
as culture and state-formation, agency theory, performance and the subject, and historical shifts
in power and authority dynamics. His research focuses on the political cultures of the Atlantic
world, spanning from the seventeenth century to contemporary times. Notable among his works
are studies on the Salem Witch Trials, the Whiskey Rebellion, Bacon’s Rebellion, the French
Revolution, and the intellectual history of political and social theory. He is also the author of two
books in political and social theory, Interpretation and Social Knowledge: On the Use of Theory
in the Human Sciences and Power in Modernity: Agency Relations and the Creative Destruction
of the King’s Two Bodies.

Department Profile