About Melissa Lane

Class of 1943 Professor of Politics
Director of the University Center for Human Values
Princeton University

I am the Class of 1943 Professor of Politics at Princeton University, and director of the University Center for Human Values. From 1 August 2023, I have also been appointed to a three-year term to deliver an extended series of free public lectures as the Professor of Rhetoric at Gresham College, a non-degree-granting institution in London. 

At Princeton I am an Associated Faculty member of the Department of Classics and the Department of Philosophy. I am also co-convenor of the Climate Futures Initiative, supported over time by the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, the Princeton Environmental Institute, and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, and serve on the executive committee of Princeton’s Program in Classical Philosophy.

I have served as a trustee of Princeton University Press, chairing its editorial board in 2018-19, and on the Climate Change Working Group of the Social Sciences Research Council. I was awarded a 2015 Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Prize at Princeton University, and a 2012 Fellowship of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in the field of classics, which I held as a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Research in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. Looking ahead, I will be the Isaiah Berlin Visiting Professor at Oxford University in 2024-25, delivering a set of Berlin Lectures in Michaelmas Term 2024, for which term I have been elected to a Visiting Fellowship at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. I was previously the Carlyle Lecturer at Oxford University in 2017-18, delivering a set of Carlyle Lectures in Hilary Term 2018.

Recent events and honors (selected)

  •  Publication in June 2023 by Princeton University: Of Rule and Office: Plato’s Ideas of the Political.
  • Named the 50th Professor of Rhetoric at Gresham College, a non-degree-granting educational institution that is London’s oldest (founded in 1597), effective 1 August 2023. 
  • Honored with Princeton’s 2023 annual Faculty Community Engagement Award by the John H. Pace, Jr. ‘39 Center for Civic Engagement.
  • Made tenth appearance as panelist on the flagship BBC Radio 4 program “In Our Time,” this time discussing Solon the Lawgiver.
  • Spoke as one of twenty-six philosophers worldwide in online conference, “What Good Is Philosophy? – A Benefit Conference for Ukraine.
  • Professeure invitée, Philosophie, École Normale Supérieure
  • Publication in September 2021 of Plato’s Statesman: A Philosophical Discussion, co-edited by Panos Dimas, Melissa Lane, and Susan Sauvé Meyer, Oxford University Press, 2021.

(all events conducted virtually)

  • Virtual lecture on the topic of her book Eco-Republic, recorded for the Festival del Classico, il Circolo dei lettori, Torino (Turin), accompanied by an interview in La Stampa
  • Extended interview on “Solitude and Social Distancing” as an episode of the podcast “The Human Context” of the Denver Center for Humanistic Inquiry 
  • Old Dominion talk in the form of a public lecture at Princeton University
  • Seminar, class lecture, and student group meeting as part of a virtual visit to Duke University
  • Langford Lecture as Langford Family Visiting Scholar, Department of Classics, Florida State University
  • Keynote Lecture, Duke Graduate Conference on Political Theory
  • UC Berkeley Kadish Center Workshop in Law, Philosophy, and Political Theory
  • Stanford History of Political Thought Workshop
  • Bergen Ancient Philosophy Symposium
  • British Academy Conference on Quentin Skinner’s ‘Meaning and Understanding’ after 50 Years’
  • University of Pennsylvania Classics Seminar
  • Northwestern Political Theory Workshop. 

Events canceled, declined, or postponed due to COVID and other reasons:

  • H.L.A. Hart Lecture, UK-IVR Society
  • Summer Seminar co-leader, ‘Religious Diversity and the Secular University’, Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities, Cambridge
  • Co-convening the conference ‘Legislation and lawgiving: philosophical perspectives on antiquity,’ École Normale Supérieure
  • Invited speaker, May Week seminar of the B Caucus of the Faculty of Classics, Cambridge
  • Futures Lecture at the Edinburgh Futures Institute
  • Keynote Lecture, Symposium Platonicum Pragense
  • Professeur invité, Philosophy Department, École Normale Supérieure.
  • Carlyle Lectures (University of Oxford)
  • Sir Malcolm Knox Memorial Lecture (University of St Andrews, Scotland)
  • Fifth Annual Joint Lecture of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Royal Institute of Philosophy (Edinburgh, Scotland)
  • Philip Hallie Lecture, Wesleyan University
  • Gerald F. Else Lecture in the Humanities, University of Michigan
  • Charles McCracken Distinguished Guest Lecture, Michigan State University.
  • Lucy Shoe Merritt Scholar in Residence (American Academy in Rome).
Melissa Lane portrait

Director, University Center for Human Values
304 Laura Wooten Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544

302 Laura Wooten Hall
T 609-258-4860
F 609-258-2729

Academic home department
Department of Politics
001 Fisher Hall
Princeton NJ 08544-1012

Contact to make appointments

Princeton undergraduates: please email ddisette[at]princeton.edu for the link to book office hours

All others: please email Melissa Lane as above

Lane CV 08/2023