J Russell Muirhead

Graduating class of 1984

One might say that Russ Muirhead brings a certain common sense to the academy, a common sense rooted in his upbringing in Manchester. At Central, Muirhead was keenly interested in political matters, was active in the Student Council, and served as Central’s representative on the Board of School Committee. In addition, he was Managing Editor of The Little Green, President of his class, and a member of the Varsity Tennis Team, bringing his sharp wit and engagingly optimistic personality to all of his endeavors. Muirhead received his BA in Government from Harvard University in 1988. He was appointed a Rhodes Scholar and continued his education at Oxford University receiving a second BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics in 1990. He returned to Harvard and completed a Ph.D in Government in 1997. He served as Assistant Professor of Political Science at Williams College from 1996 to 1998 before joining the faculty of Harvard University in 1998. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2002 and currently teaches courses in political theory, ethics and moral philosophy, and American Political Thought. As a junior faculty member at Harvard, he received the Rosalyn Abramson Award for excellence in teaching. Regarding his teaching, Muirhead writes: “I try to get across the optimism, the anger, the hope, and the despair these ideas contain, rather than just give a dry, sober account”. Muirhead's teaching and writing accentuates the connection between the history of political thought and everyday habits, sentiments, and opinions. This is amply evident in his book Just Work, which explains the profound moral meaning that the working life has – and must have — in democracies.