AboutOur PeopleSigal Ben-Porath
Sigal Ben-Porath
Leadership Staff

Sigal R. Ben-Porath

Faculty Director
Professional Biography

Dr. Ben-Porath, who will assume the role on September 1, is the MRMJJ Presidential Professor of Education in the Graduate School of Education with secondary appointments in the Department of Philosophy and the Department of Political Science in the School of Arts & Sciences.

Dr. Ben-Porath studies schools and colleges as democratic institutions. She received her doctorate in political philosophy from Tel Aviv University in 2000. She was a postdoctoral research associate at the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University in 2001-2004.

Dr. Ben-Porath has been teaching at Penn GSE since 2004. She is an associate member of the political science department and the philosophy department at Penn. She served as a special assistant to the university president, and as chair of the faculty advisory board to Penn Press, and as executive committee member of the Andrea Mitchell Center for the Study of Democracy. In 2010 she was a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton, in 2012-2013 she was affiliated with the Safra Center for Ethics at Tel Aviv University, and in 2020-2021 she was a fellow in residence at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard.

Research Interests and Current Projects

Dr. Ben-Porath is interested in democratic theory and practice, and studies the ways institutions like schools and colleges can sustain and advance democracy. Her areas of expertise include philosophy of education and political philosophy. Her books include Cancel Wars(2022) Making Up Our Mind: What School Choice is Really About (2019), Free Speech on Campus  (2017), and Varieties of Sovereignty and Citizenship (2012), as well as Tough Choices: Structured Paternalism and the Landscape of Choice (2010) and Citizenship under Fire: Democratic Education in Times of Conflict (2006). She is currently researching civic dialogue in schools and colleges.