Prof. Koganzon Publishes New Book on Liberalism, Authority, and Childhood

June 19, 2021
Liberal States, Authoritarian Families: Childhood and Education in Early Modern Thought

Oxford University Press has released a new book by Assistant Professor Rita Koganzon, who serves as Associate Director of the Program on Constitutionalism and Democracy and a Lecturer in the Department of Politics. Dr. Koganzon's book, Liberal States, Authoritarian Families, takes up the historical debate among liberal and republican thinkers over how children should be reared in liberal regimes. In the book, "Koganzon shows that not only did early liberals emphatically deny the possibility of congruence between pedagogical and political authority, but they counterintuitively demanded that parents and teachers exercise extensive personal authority over children, while denying the legitimacy of such authority over adults in politics." Arguing against the idea that families should be organized as microcosms of the liberal, democratic state, Koganzon concludes that certain forms of authority are "necessary prerequisites" for liberty. The book is available from OUP here.

This spring, Dr. Koganzon has also published articles drawing upon the themes and findings of her book in The Constitutionalist and National Affairs. These pieces bring this historical argument into the present, examining the conflicting ideologies that shape contemporary debates over childhood education in the US. Focusing in particular on the increasingly partisan issue of "school choice," Koganzon takes up the dangers of eliminating alternatives to neighborhood public schools, and considers the implications of COVID-related school closures for this debate.