A Prodigy's West Side Story. (Language, Literature & Politics)

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Danielle Allen

* Associate Professor, joint appointment in Classical Languages and Literatures and Politics, University of Chicago

* Education: M.Phil. and Ph.D., Classics, University of Cambridge; M.A. and Ph.D., Government, Harvard University; B.A., Classics, Princeton University

* Age: 29

Holder of two doctoral degrees. Associate professor. Winner of a $500,000 MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant. Author of two scholarly works that span the gap from ancient Athens to Ralph Ellison. And all before the age of 30.

By any measure, the University of Chicago's Dr. Danielle Allen is a rising star. Joining the faculty in 1997, Allen is a young scholar whose intellectual scope spans the fields of classics, philosophy, political theory and literature. The MacArthur Foundation describes Allen as someone who "combines the classicist's careful attention to texts and language with the political theorist's sophisticated and informed engagement."

Her recent book, The World of Prometheus, examines the theory and practice of punishment in classical Athens, demonstrating the centrality of the concept for both elite and ordinary citizens. …