Adam K. Webb

Adam K. Webb grew up in England, Spain, and the United States. After studying as an undergraduate at Harvard, he received a PhD in Politics in 2002 from Princeton. He has been a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and taught Social Studies at Harvard from 2004 to 2008. Presently he is Resident Associate Professor of Political Science at the Johns Hopkins Nanjing Centre in China. He is the author of Beyond the Global Culture War (2006) and most recently of A Path of Our Own: An Andean Village and Tomorrow's Economy of Values (2009). His interests range broadly across world politics and social thought, and focus on efforts to bring traditionalists across the world into closer dialogue and collaboration with one another.

Recent Essays

Palmyra, Centurions, and Fighting ISIS from the Bottom Up

The fact that the chattering classes outraged by ISIS’s atrocities would unleash the latter-day centurions of the air so eagerly, while leashing ordinary people so cavalierly, should give pause to those of us suspicious of the modern state and jealous of society’s spaces.

Liberty and Circuits of the Sacred

A few days ago was the first time I heard Chinese being spoken with a heavy Indian accent.  Given the tenor of our times,...

Memory and the Damming State

The family’s life in this village had come to an end when the lake was dammed in 1958. One wonders who would consider such things worth it.

A Sheeshah Pipe for the Porch?

I came to Cairo to get a better sense of the prospects for such a global conversation. If the battle over values is likely to play out globally in this century, how open are we to our natural allies?

Driving Around the Panopticon

Plenty of space, I concluded with a glance at the approaching headlights in my left mirror.  I let the clutch out smoothly and started...

Mafia Among the Mountain Folk, Part II

“I don’t care if you bring the president of Peru and a thousand police—we’ll be carried out dead before you dig here!”  Thus was...

Mafia Among the Mountain Folk

What ironies of fate converged that morning, such that a mob was about to come out on a march against us?

Untaxing the Virtues

What the political mainstream ignores, unsurprisingly, is that any change in how we raise revenue cannot be only about balancing the numbers. It also involves judgements about the texture of society and the virtues that habits of livelihood can inculcate or destroy.

Of Dragons and Crescents

A revised foreign policy true to the principles of the Porch should turn the present one upside down.

Class and Clerisy

Some ruling classes in history, more than others, deserve pitchforks.

The Ties that Stretch and Bind

Many a time, I have seen my friend doting on his little seven-year-old half brother, picking him up from school, cooking for him, and keeping his classmates’ junk food at bay. Staying abroad and settling into some sort of upwardly mobile immigrant comfort would go against the grain of years of habit.

Have We Forgotten the Women?

Tradition supposedly bears the thumbprints of Roman patricians with browbeaten wives or frustrated monks who shivered in mediæval abbeys.