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CIEPLEYDavid Ciepley, associate professor of political science, has been named a Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellow by the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS). The fellowship is granted to recently tenured scholars in the humanities and social sciences in the years immediately following the granting of tenure, and provides potential leaders in their fields with the resources to pursue long-term, unusually ambitious projects.

Ciepley’s award will allow him to pursue research on his book manuscript, Our Corporate Civilization and its Neoliberal Crisis, at Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study during the 2015-2016 academic year.

“The immediate post-tenure years are a time for emerging leaders in their field to break new ground and develop new approaches that will have lasting impact,” said ACLS Director of Fellowship Programs Matthew Goldfeder. “For fellows to spend an academic year in residence at a national residential research center provides them the opportunity to reach more broadly across disciplines and expand the significance of their research for the humanities and social sciences.”

Ciepley’s research revises received understandings of governance in the West by recovering its corporate roots and structure.

“The first half of my book details the borrowings of the liberal democratic state from corporate practice, including elected executives, representative assemblies, legal personhood, written constitutions and judicial review. Constitutional states and corporations embody a common institutional technology,” said Ciepley. “The second half leverages this to challenge the reclassification of business corporations over the past two centuries, from 'bodies politic' to private institutions. Corporations are really a hybrid, combining state privileges with private financing and staffing. Misconstruing them as strictly private exempts them from any duty to the public, accountability to the public, or even publicity to the public, while earning them legal protections and rights of political participation that they ought not have."

Ciepley has a PhD from the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. He joined the University of Denver in 2007 and became tenured in 2013.

“Dr. Ciepley is an extraordinary scholar. This award not only recognizes his accomplishment but also will allow him to further advance his field and our understanding of corporations in our society,” said Dean Daniel McIntosh. “We are proud of this recognition and thrilled he will get this opportunity.”

During the 2011-2012 academic year, Ciepley was a Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and during the 2013-2014 academic year, he was a Laurence S. Rockefeller Visiting Faculty Fellow in the Center for Human Values at Princeton University. 

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