Clarissa Rile Hayward

Clarissa Rile Hayward

Dean’s Fellow for Policies
Professor of Political Science, Philosophy (By Courtesy), and Urban Studies (Affiliate)
PHD, Yale University

contact info:

office hours:

  • By Appointment

mailing address:

  • Washington University
    MSC 1063-228-207
    One Brookings Drive
    St. Louis, MO 63130-4899

Professor Hayward is a contemporary political theorist whose research and teaching focus on theories of power, democratic theory, theories of identity, and American urban politics.


Hayward's research and teaching focus on questions central to understanding and evaluating political life: “What is social power, and how does it shape human freedom?” “What does democratic government entail, and what are its practical and institutional implications?” “How do social actors create and maintain identities?”

Her most recent book, How Americans Make Race: Stories, Institutions, Spaces (Cambridge University Press, 2013), was co-winner of the American Political Science Association's prize for the Best Book in Urban Politics in 2014. Hayward is also author of De-Facing Power (Cambridge University Press, 2000) and co-editor (with Todd Swanstrom) of Justice and the American Metropolis (University of Minnesota Press, 2011). In addition, she has published many articles in edited volumes and in journals, such as the American Political Science Review, Constellations, Contemporary Political Theory, the Journal of PoliticsPolity, and Political Theory. Her research has been supported by the National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard, and Harvard Kennedy School's Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation.

Selected Publications

How Americans Make Race. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2013.

"What Can Political Freedom Mean in a Multicultural Democracy?" Political Theory 39:4 (August 2011), 468-97.

De-facing Power. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000.


Introduction to Political Theory

Foundations of American Democracy (American political thought)

History of Political Thought II (social contract theory)

History of Political Thought III (19th century political thought)

Power, Justice, and the City

Democracy: Theory and Practice

Graduate Proseminar in Political Theory

How Americans Make Race

How Americans Make Race

How do people produce and reproduce identities? In How Americans Make Race, Clarissa Rile Hayward challenges what is sometimes called the “narrative identity thesis”: the idea that people produce and reproduce identities as stories. Identities have greater staying power than one would expect them to have if they were purely and simply narrative constructions, she argues, because people institutionalize identity-stories, building them into laws, rules, and other institutions that give social actors incentives to perform their identities well, and because they objectify identity-stories, building them into material forms that actors experience with their bodies. Drawing on in-depth historical analyses of the development of racialized identities and spaces in the twentieth-century United States, and also on life-narratives collected from people who live in racialized urban and suburban spaces, Hayward shows how the institutionalization and objectification of racial identity-stories enables their practical reproduction, lending them resilience in the face of challenge and critique.