The University of Texas at Dallas

Endowed Chairs and Professorships

Dr. Edward J. Harpham


An anonymous contribution created this chair. Harpham was appointed in 2018.

Harpham’s research explores how economic ideas shape our understanding of politics and public policy. His work is cited in numerous academic publications in the fields of political theory, Texas government and public policy. He helped build the University’s honors education offerings, including the Collegium V Honors Program and the Eugene McDermott Scholars Program.

I am proud to be the first holder of the Mary McDermott Cook Chair in the Hobson Wildenthal Honors College. The chair symbolizes the close relationship between the McDermott Family, Mary McDermott Cook and honors education at UT Dallas. I plan to use the chair to promote academic excellence in the Honors College and to cultivate the life of the mind here at UT Dallas.

Associate Provost and Dean of the Hobson Wildenthal Honors College
Mary McDermott Cook Chair in the Hobson Wildenthal Honors College

Dr. Edward J. Harpham has long been intrigued with the relationship between economics and politics. His earlier work focused on how modern economic ideas helped shape our understanding of politics and public policy in the West. He also has studied the relationship between technological transformations and political change in American political history.

More recently, Harpham has investigated the theories of the passions found in modern liberal thought, and how they influenced the work of such individuals as René Descartes, John Locke, David Hume, Francis Hutcheson and Adam Smith.

Harpham teaches undergraduate honors courses in political theory, American government and Texas politics, as well as an honors reading tutorial on medicine, politics and philosophy for pre-med students.

In addition to his research and teaching activities as a professor of political science, Harpham is dean of the Hobson Wildenthal Honors College and associate provost. He oversees the Collegium V Program and works closely with the Terry Scholars, McDermott Scholars and National Merit Scholars programs.

Harpham received the 1996-97 Chancellor’s Council Outstanding Teaching Award. He was honored by the University to be an Andrew R. Cecil Lecturer In 1994 and the Polykarp Kusch Lecturer in 2006.

In 2009, he delivered the Will Man Richardson Lectures in Economic and Political Science at Austin College. He is past president of the Southwestern Political Science Association and serves on the board of directors for the Archer Center.

Harpham has a special interest in Texas politics and government, and is the author of three texts in the field with W.W. Norton Publishers. Governing Texas, with Dr. Anthony Champagne and Dr. Jason Casellas, is the leading textbook in Texas government.

He is the author or editor of 10 books — one that is now in its seventh edition and another that is in its fourth — and has published numerous professional articles or chapters in books.

Harpham graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi with a degree in political science from Pennsylvania State University. He earned both his master’s and PhD in government from Cornell University.