This book traveled an itinerant path to publication, with diﬀerent sec-
tions written in Baltimore, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Durham, Chi-
cago, Ithaca, and New York City. Along the way I beneﬁted from the
suggestions and criticisms of many friends and colleagues, whom I grate-
fully acknowledge here.
In a distant but important sense, the project was ﬁrst inspired in the
undergraduate classrooms of two remarkable teachers at the University
of California, Santa Cruz: Peter Euben and Jack Schaar. Their political
theory courses were life-changing in the most elevated and pedestrian
of senses. On the elevated side, Peter and Jack taught their students that
critical reflection could be called by a commitment to democracy’s un-
fulﬁlled promise. On the pedestrian side, they suggested something to
do after graduation: political theory as vocation and avocation. Peter re-
mains a close friend, and both of their examples are an inspiration.
The book took early shape as a doctoral dissertation at Johns Hopkins