John Zumbrunnen

headshot 02 19.png

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.


John Zumbrunnen has wide-ranging interests in the history of political thought, democratic theory, and American political thought. Much of Zumbrunnen’s published scholarship works at the intersection of Greek political thought and contemporary democratic theory, seeking in particular to recover ancient texts as resources for our thinking about the place and potential of ordinary citizens in mass democracy.  He is currently at work on a book-length project on Benjamin Franklin and the politics of humility.  Zumbrunnen’s first book, Silence and Democracy: Athenian Politics in Thucydides’ History, was published by Penn State University Press in May 2008. His second book, Aristophanic Comedy and the Challenge of Democratic Citizenship was published by the University of Rochester Press/Boydell & Brewer in 2012. His work has appeared in The American Political Science Review, Political Theory, Polity, History of Political Thought and Political Behavior as well as in various edited volumes.

Zumbrunnen also directs the American Democracy Forum, a program that aims to encourage conversations about the founding principles of American political thought and the place of those principles in the ongoing practice of American democracy.  The ADF sponsors an undergraduate fellows program, a high school educators program, a postdoctoral fellowship, and other activities.  The ADF’s three-year Benjamin Franklin Initiative explores links between science, political thought, and law in the Atlantic Enlightenment and the American founding.  Zumbrunnen has recently been active in UW’s Educational Innovationinitiative and is a fellow of the UW Teaching Academy and a recipient of the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award, the Phi Beta Kappa Excellence in Teaching Award and the Alliant Energy Underkofler Excellence in Teaching Award .  He currently serves as faculty director of Chadbourne Residential College.


PS 400: CRC Local Spring 2018-2019
PS 400 CRC Common Read Spring 2018-2019
PS 400 CRC Global: Dilemmas of Global Citizenship Spring 2018-2019
PS 160 Introduction to Political Theory Summer 2018
PS 160 Introduction to Political Theory Summer
PS 400 Topics In political Science: CRC Common Read Spring 2017-2018
PS 160 Introduction to Political Theory Fall 2017-2018
PS 209 Introduction to Political Theory Summer 2016-2017
PS 601 Political Theory of the American Revolution Spring 2016-2017
PS 201 Democratic Ideas Spring 2016-2017
PS 100 Freshman Seminar in Political Science: Political Equality Fall 2016-2017
PS 566 Contemporary American Political Thought 2015-2016
PS 209 Introduction to Political Theory Fall 2015-2016



 University Housing Honored Instructor.


Educational Innovation Senior Fellow


Recived the Phi Beta Kappa Teaching award.

Honored Instructors Award

Underkofler Distinguished Teaching Award


Phi Beta Kappa Teaching award, UW-Madison

UW-Madison’s nomination for the UW-System 2015 Alliant Energy Underkofler Excellence in Teaching Award


Educational Innovation Grant, “Flipping and Blending PS 566: Contemporary American olitical Thought,” UW-Madison Office of the Provost


Honored Instructor Award, UW University Housing

Meiklejohn-Powell Fellowship, Integrated Liberal Studies Program, UW-Madison


UW-Madison Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award