The Review of Politics Celebrates 75 Years at the Heart of Political Thought

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The University of Notre Dame and Cambridge University Press celebrate the 75th anniversary of The Review of Politics.

The journal’s story is, to a large extent, the story of its dedicated and charismatic editors.

A great source of wide-ranging reflections on politics of the last seven decades celebrates its 75th birthday this year.

Since 1939, The Review of Politics (ROP) has provided professional political scholars, thinkers and writers, as well as a general interest audience, with a reliable, eclectic and always rigorously edited flow of the very latest thought in political science. Through the seismic events of the 20th and 21st centuries, from Pearl Harbor and the shooting of JFK to 9/11 and the war on terror, and through 13 Presidencies, the ROP has faithfully chronicled a changing world from its own unique perspective.

Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the University of Notre Dame, the journal boasts a large global readership and authorship from every influential voice in the arena of political study.

The journal’s story is, to a large extent, the story of its dedicated and charismatic editors. The character of its founder, legendary political scholar and writer, Waldemar Gurian, set the tone. A German émigré originally born in Russia, Gurian fled the growing political turmoil of 1930s Europe to settle in the US, taking up a post at Notre Dame, where he was to remain for the rest of his life. One of his first acts was to found the ROP, drawing on submissions from a huge roster of friends and colleagues from around the world. The first edition appeared at arguably the most critical moment in 20th century political history – January 1939, on the eve of the Second World War.

For the next 15 years until his death in 1954, Gurian led the journal according to the lights of his personal mission to tackle the Western world’s preoccupation with a mechanical, dehumanized understanding of politics. He had witnessed first-hand how this attitude had ravaged Europe and his primary motivation was to warn America and steer it from a similar course. In a special essay to mark the 75th milestone, Managing Editor Dennis Moran comments:

“Something unique began under the guidance of Waldemar Gurian. The journal came to symbolize a break with the atomizing culture of the modern West. Gurian committed himself to do battle against dehumanizing ideologies and politics. Whether it was Nazism or fascism or communism, he opposed the mindless inhumanity of dictators and political charlatans.”

The second pioneering editor, M.A. Fitzsimons, carried on Gurian’s work while bringing his own unique approach to the ROP. Fitzsimons served as Editor from 1955 until 1974, making him the longest serving editor to date. According to Moran, Fitzsimons brought to the journal “an uncompromising sense of right and an astounding skill at finding and promoting promising scholars.”

Subsequent editors put their stamp on the journal: Tom Stritch (1974 – 1977) brought a more contemporary feel, publishing essays on the events and public issues of the day. Frederick J. Crosson took over in 1977 and shifted the emphasis back to the more traditional while still retaining the contemporary strand. Donald P. Kommers was the first Political Scientist to edit the review, taking over in 1982 and introducing the first board of editorial advisors, codifying the Journal’s previously tacit commitment to peer review and setting up the first editorial internship for promising graduate students interested in political theory. Many members of Faculty in institutions around the world served a spell at the ROP. Walter Nicgorski, book review editor for ten years, succeeded Donald Kommers in 1994, breaking new ground and bringing the journal to a broader audience.

Current Editor, Catherine Zuckert, holder of Notre Dame’s Nancy Reeves Dreux Chair in Political Science, took over in 2005 and has steered the journal through the recent changes in the publishing industry. As part of her modernizing agenda, Zuckert brought on board a new publisher in Cambridge University Press. The partnership with Cambridge has increased the journals appeal and exposure to both readers and authors through excellence in online access via the Cambridge Journals Online platform.

Zuckert has also organized a number of special issues (next due in the fall edition with a special on Machiavelli) and initiated a series of books based on ROP’s classic publishings. The first was A. James McAdams’s The Crisis of Modern Times: Perspectives from the ROP, 1939-1962 and for the second, Keir A. Lieber edited War, Peace, and International Political Realism: Perspectives from the ROP.

Commenting on the journal’s longevity, Zuckert said: “Waldemar Gurian, attracted a stellar group of contributors, many distinguished immigrants from Europe, including Hannah Arendt, Eric Voegelin, Jacques Maritain, Leo Strauss, George Kennan, Hans Morgenthau, and Josef Pieper. Over the years, the journal has become more professional, employing double blind peer review; but we continue to publish the works of both young and distinguished scholars who take a philosophical and historical approach to the study of politics.”

The Review of Politics publishes primarily on political theory but also on historical and interpretive studies of public law, comparative politics, international relations and public policy. The journal has a particular interest in political readings of literary works. Some of the first essays advocating ‘realism’ were published in the ROP, as well as articles from its opponents in international relations – both perspectives are accepted parts of the journal's coverage.

The journal welcomes submissions, particularly pieces that break new ground, but also those that make significant contributions to on-going debates. Learn more at


Notes to Editors:
For further information or to arrange interviews, contact Michael Marvin, Senior Marketing Associate, Journals, Cambridge University Press, on (001) 212.337.5041 or at mmarvin(at)cambridge(dot)org.

About Cambridge Journals
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About Cambridge University Press
Cambridge University Press is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge. Dedicated to excellence, its purpose is to further the University's objective of advancing knowledge, education, learning, and research.

Its extensive peer-reviewed publishing lists comprise over 50,000 titles covering academic research, professional development, over 300 research journals, school-level education, English language teaching and bible publishing.

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