Jacob Roundtree

Postdoctoral Fellow

Jacob Roundtree is a postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Economy and Society.A political theorist by training, he writes on political epistemology and modern intellectual history. Hereceived his PhD in political theory from Harvard in 2023, and a BA in philosophy, politics, and economics from Colby College in 2010.His dissertationisa critical genealogy of the social theories of Hegel and Marx thatraises the question of whether freedom is possible in the modern world given the complexity of capitalism and the modern nation-state. He is working on revising his dissertation into a book, “The Politics of Absolute Freedom,” that will examine the political theoretic implications of the cognitive complexity of modern society. In addition to his primary research on the history of social theorys encounter with the problem of social complexity, Roundtree is especially concerned with the contemporary problems of public ignorance, ideology, propaganda, elite dogmatism, and political polarization. He views these phenomena as the great obstacles to achieving a rational democratic society. Roundtree’s pedagogical approach is designed to help students combat the epistemic pathologies of presentday politics. He has deployed this approach in a range of courses, including ones on democracy, the politics of truth, Marxism, German Idealism, Conservatism, race and politics, and the politics of technology. Roundtree also serves as an assistant editor at the interdisciplinary journalCritical Review,where he has helped organize special issues on themes in the field of intellectual history.