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Alan Wolfe is a political scientist and a sociologist and is on the faculty of Boston College and serves as director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life. He is also a member of the Advisory Board of the Future of American Democracy Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan foundation in partnership with Yale University Press and the Yale Center for International and Area Studies, "dedicated to research and education aimed at renewing and sustaining the historic vision of American democracy".
A graduate of Central High School (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), he received a B.S. from Temple University in 1963 and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania in 1967. He has honorary degrees from Loyola College in Maryland and St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia.
Earlier in his career, Wolfe was a member of the collective that put out the Marxist-oriented journal, Kapitalistate, whose pages featured articles by such writers as Poulantzas, Claus Offe, Ralph Miliband, and Bob Jessop. By the early 1980s, Wolfe's politics had become more centrist. In 2004, one author characterized him as a radical centrist thinker.
A contributing editor of The New Republic, The Wilson Quarterly, Commonwealth Magazine, and In Character, Wolfe writes often for those publications as well as for Commonweal, The New York Times, Harper's, The Atlantic Monthly, The Washington Post, World Affairs and other magazines and newspapers. He served as an advisor to President Bill Clinton in preparation for his 1995 State of the Union Address and has lectured widely at American and European universities. He was ranked #98 in the list of the 500 most cited intellectuals in the 2001 book by Richard Posner titled Public Intellectuals.
Wolfe chairs a task force of the American Political Science Association on "Religion and Democracy in the United States." He serves on the advisory boards of Humanity in Action and the Future of American Democracy Foundation and on the president's advisory board of the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities. He is also a Senior Fellow with the World Policy Institute at the New School University in New York. In the fall of 2004, Professor Wolfe was the George H. W. Bush Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin.
Wolfe has been the recipient of grants from the Russell Sage Foundation, the Templeton Foundation, the Smith Richardson Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the Lilly Endowment. He has twice conducted programs under the auspices of the U.S. State Department that bring Muslim scholars to the United States to learn about separation of church and state. He is listed in Who's Who in the World, Who's Who in America, and Contemporary Authors.
- An End To Political Science: The Caucus Papers With Marvin Surkin (Basic Books, 1970)
- Political Analysis: An Unorthodox Approach With Charles A. McCoy (Crowell, 1972)
- The Seamy Side Of Democracy: Repression In America (McKay, 1973)
- The Politics And Society Reader With Ira Katznelson et al. (1974)
- The Limits Of Legitimacy: Political Contradictions of Contemporary Capitalism (Free Press, 1977)
- The Rise And Fall Of The `Soviet Threat (Institute for Policy Studies, 1979)
- Whose Keeper? Social Science and Moral Obligation (University of California Press, 1991)
- One Nation, After All (1998)
- Moral Freedom: The Search for Virtue in a World of Choice (2001),
- The Transformation of American Religion: How We Actually Practice our Faith (2003).
- Return to Greatness: How America Lost Its Sense of Purpose and What it Needs to Do to Recover It (Princeton University Press, 2005)
- Does American Democracy Still Work? (Yale University Press, 2006)
- The Future of Liberalism, Knopf, 2009
- Political Evil: What It Is and How to Combat It Knopf, 2011
- The Future Of American Democracy Foundation
- Yale Press
- Satin, Mark (2004). Radical Middle: The Politics We Need Now. Westview Press and Basic Books, pp. 12-13. ISBN 978-0-8133-4190-3.
- Sara Esquilin, "Celebrated atheists debate the ethics of non-believers", The Daily Free Press, 29 April 2008 (accessed 30 April 2008).