Alex Keyssar

Matthew W. Stirling, Jr., Professor of History and Social Policy
Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy
Office Address
Mailing Address
John F. Kennedy School of Government
Mailbox 103
79 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone: 617-495-1042
Fax: 617-496-9053
Scott Stackpole (617-495-9965)
Alex Keyssar


Alexander Keyssar is the Matthew W. Stirling Jr. Professor of History and Social Policy. An historian by training, he has specialized in the explanation of issues that have contemporary policy implications. His book, The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States (2000), was named the best book in U.S. history by both the American Historical Association and the Historical Society; it was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Award. A significantly revised and updated edition of The Right to Vote was published in 2009. His 1986 book, Out of Work: The First Century of Unemployment in Massachusetts, was awarded three scholarly prizes. Keyssar is coauthor of The Way of the Ship: America's Maritime History Reenvisioned, 1600-2000 (2008), and of Inventing America, a text integrating the history of technology and science into the mainstream of American history. In addition, he is coeditor of a series on Comparative and International Working-Class History. In 2004/5, Keyssar chaired the Social Science Research Council's National Research Commission on Voting and Elections, and writes frequently for the popular press about American politics and history. Keyssar's current research interests include election reform, the history of democracies, and the history of poverty.



  • DPI-305 Challenges Facing Democracy in the United States


  • SUP-922 Proseminar on Inequality and Social Policy II

Media Expertise

Alex Keyssar welcomes media inquiries on the following subjects:

Additional experts may be found by clicking on each subject listed. You may contact faculty directly or if you need assistance contact the Communications Office at 617-495-1115.


For a complete list of faculty citations from 2001 - present, please visit the HKS Faculty Research Connection.

Selected Publication Citations:

  • Academic Journal/Scholarly Articles
    • Keyssar, Alexander. "How Americans Vote." Election Law Journal: Rules, Politics, and Policy 10.4 (December 2011): 471-473.
  • Commentary
    • Keyssar, Alexander. "The Strange Career of Voter Suppression." New York Times, February 12, 2012.
    • Keyssar, Alexander. "The Real Grand Bargain, Coming Undone." Washington Post, August 19, 2011.
  • Magazine and Newspaper Articles
    • Keyssar, Alexander. "The Balancing Act of Barack Obama." Estudos e AnĂ¡lises de Conjuntura. January 2011, 1-10.

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