Skip to main content
Indiana University Bloomington

Woodburn Hall facilities

Russell L. Hanson - - - December 31,2017

Russ HansonAfter 37 years in the Department of Political Science at Indiana University Bloomington, Russ Hanson retired on December 31, 2017. His friends, colleagues, and students salute his distinguished contributions to research and teaching and his important service to the College of Arts and Sciences, the university, and the field of political science.

Russ earned a B.S. in political science at St. Johns College in 1975 and proceeded to graduate study in political science at the University of Minnesota, where he earned an M.A. in 1978 and a Ph.D. in 1982. In 1991, Russ was awarded the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Minnesota's Department of Political Science.

Although Russ served as a teaching assistant at Minnesota and has held a variety of visiting professorships, he has spent his entire career as a political science professor at Indiana University Bloomington. He started as a lecturer in 1980 and was promoted to assistant professor in 1982, associate professor with tenure in 1987 (after being named the department's first winner of IU Bloomington's Outstanding Young Faculty Award in 1985), and full professor in 1995.

Russ has been an extraordinary member of the IU Bloomington community. He is exceptionally well known and widely respected across the campus and beyond. He has served in a wide array of top-level positions, including: associate dean in the School of Global and International Studies from 2014 to 2015, chair of the Department of Political Science from 2009 to 2015, acting dean in the College of Arts and Sciences from 1999 to 2000, executive associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences from 1997 to 1999, and associate dean of undergraduate education in the College of Arts and Sciences from 1992 to 1995. Russ has excelled in thesejobs because he combines a mastery of administrative detail and institutional procedure with a broad and deep commitment to core intellectual values, along with an even­ keeled, respectful, and collegial way of dealing with all issues and all colleagues.

Russ is one of a small number of colleagues who have reached across the campus and who have been able to bring people together in the pursuit of shared purposes. He has been a go-to guy at many important moments in IU Bloomington's recent history. His chairmanship of important task forces and high-level search committees is one sign of this; another is his indispensable role as associate dean of the School of Global and International Studies during the 2014-15 academic
year, when he helped the new school get off the ground.

Russ is a top scholar of democratic theory, American political thought, and American political development. His first book, The Democratic Imagination in America : Conversations with Our Past (Princeton University Press, 1985), is a landmark study of the evolution of democratic ideas in U.S. political history that continues to be cited by scholars working in this area. Russ has published other important work on the history of political thought, on the evolution of the U.S. welfare state, and on contemporary welfare policy. He is currently working on a major social and intellectual history of the transnational diffusion of ideas about civil disobedience centered on one of his intellectual heroes, Henry David Thoreau.

Russ's scholarship and service both further a broad value-the pedagogical and civic importance of public education. Both are inextricably linked to Russ's deep commitment to teaching. Russ is a master teacher. He has taught thousands of undergraduate and graduate students, and for well over 30 years he has been one of the political science department's best and most recognized teachers. He is the co-author of an award-winning textbook, Politics in theAmerican States, 7th-11th editions by Virginia Gray, Russell L. Hanson, and Thad Kousser (Congressional Quarterly Press, 2017). Russ has done extensive outreach in the public schools; he has played a major role in many rounds of curricular revision at the department, College, and university levels; and he has been a role model for both students and colleagues.

Russ has been a major contributor to the Indiana University intellectual community for a very long time. He will be greatly missed as a full-time member of the faculty, even as he will no doubt continue to be a valued colleague, friend, mentor, and teacher to many of us.

Jeffrey C. Isaac