Jane Mansbridge is the Charles F. Adams Professor at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She holds an MA in history and a Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University and a BA from Wellesley College. Her research lies at the intersection between democratic theory and empirical social science, with a focus on political inequalities and the democratic processes that can counteract those inequalities. Her first book, Beyond Adversary Democracy, studied deliberation and inequality in two small direct democracies. Her second book, Why We Lost the ERA, co-recipient of the Kammerer award in 1987 and the Victoria Schuck Award in 1988, studied flawed deliberation within a social movement. She also edited Beyond Self-Interest, Feminism (Schools of Thought in Politics series) with Susan Moller Okin, and Oppositional Consciousness with Aldon Morris. Recent articles include "A 'Selection Model' of Political Representation," "Rethinking Representation," and "The Place of Self-Interest and the Role of Power in Democratic Deliberation" (a deliberative coauthorship with eight colleagues).
Mansbridge has been active in the Caucus for Women in Political Science, co-founded the Organization of Women Faculty at Northwestern, was a member of the Task Force on Women at Harvard, and was the founding faculty chair of the Women and Public Policy Program at the Harvard Kennedy School.
She has held fellowships from the National Science Foundation, the Rockefeller Humanities Program, and the Institute for Policy Studies, and has been a member of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, a fellow at the Russell Sage Foundation, a fellow of the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard, and twice a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford. Other awards include the Radcliffe Graduate Society Medal, the Outstanding Professional Achievement Award from the Midwest Women's Caucus for Political Science, the Jane Mansbridge Scholar-Activist Award established in her honor at Northwestern, and the Women and Public Policy Program's annual Jane Mansbridge Research Paper Award established at the Kennedy School. In 1994, she was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Mansbridge was Program Chair of the APSA in 1992-93 during the presidency of Judith Shklar and has also served as Vice-President and a member of the Council and Executive Committee. She has been Vice-President and President of the Caucus for Women in Political Science. She currently serves on the editorial boards of Political Theory, the Journal of Political Philosophy, and the Journal of Politics, among others.