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Jean Elshtain Named Kluge Chair in Modern Culture

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington has appointed Jean Bethke Elshtain, a professor at the University of Chicago, to the Kluge Chair in Modern Culture at the Library’s John W. Kluge Center.

Elshtain will spend five months at the Library of Congress to continue researching her forthcoming book, "The Age of Eisenhower: America and the World in the 1950s," which will be published by Simon and Schuster. Her tenure starts April 1.

Considered one of America’s foremost public intellectuals, Elshtain is the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics in the Divinity School at the University of Chicago, with appointments in Political Science and the Committee on International Relations. She has written and lectured extensively on issues of politics, human identity and connections between political and ethical convictions.

"Eisenhower was a dominant thinker and he had a remarkable strategic mind when it came to foreign policy and national security issues," Elshtain said. "I want to get at how he believed America should deploy its power in the word to secure its interests, and reveal something we didn’t know before about Eisenhower’s mind and his Presidency."

Elshtain said the Library offers extraordinary archival resources on Eisenhower’s presidency. "I’m eager to exploit the personal papers of members of his circle—friends, colleagues, congressmen, and important Republican Party officials. Many have papers at the Library of Congress," she said.

Elshtain has written and edited numerous books, including "Public Man, Private Woman: Women in Social and Political Thought," "Augustine and the Limits of Politics" and "Just War Against Terror: The Burden of American Power in a Violent World." She is the recipient of nine honorary degrees and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

"I grew up as the daughter of a Foreign Service officer, so I was pre-disposed to want to know more about the world and America’s place in it," Elshtain said. "I was always looking at the relationship between the United States and the rest of the world, and how different cultures and people interact."

The Kluge Chair in Modern Culture is a distinguished senior research position in residence at the Library appointed by the Librarian of Congress. Using research facilities and services at the Library, the scholar is expected to focus on modern arts and media and their impact on societal development, using the Library’s music, film, architecture, literature, multi-media and folklore collections.

Through a generous endowment from John W. Kluge, the Library of Congress established the Kluge Center in 2000 to bring together the world's best thinkers to stimulate and energize one another, to distill wisdom from the Library's rich resources, and to interact with policymakers in Washington. For more information about the Kluge Center, visit

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PR 13-064 04/01/13 ISSN 0731-3527

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