HKS Authors

See citation below for complete author information.

Professor of Public Policy, HKS; James Bryant Conant University Professor, FAS


Reading this set of responses to my work left me feeling profoundly awed and humbled, ready to settle into a deep silence. I am awed to have been seen and understood so well. The acts of recognition performed by these five scholars are remarkable. Recall that I am someone whose intellectual life has been shaped in almost all dimensions by lessons from Ralph Ellison’s treatment of invisibility. For me, to feel visible in this way is a liberation, an affirmation that we human beings are in fact capable of seeing the other, that condition of “being at home in the world, which is called love, and which we term democracy.”1 But then to be seen, in the full, is also to feel exposed and therefore necessarily humbled, even chastened, with regard to the gap between aspiration and performance. Careful what you wish for! Still, to meet such extraordinary, generous acts of recognition without response would be rough ingratitude, and a violation of political and philosophical friendship. A response is called for.


Allen, Danielle. "Feeling Seen." Polity 55.4 (October 2023): 872-876.