Josiah Ober's research includes projects on self-governing organizations (ancient and modern), on the circulation of social and technical knowledge in democratic societies, and on the interplay between political philosophy and culture. Ober holds the Constantine Mitsotakis Chair in the School of Humanities and Sciences. He divides his time and academic appointment between the Departments of Classics and Political Science, and has a courtesy appointment in Philosophy. He writes and teaches courses on various topics conjoining Greek history, classical philosophy, and political theory and practice. His most recent books are Democratic Knowledge: Innovation and Learning in Classical Athens (Princeton University Press, 2008) and Athenian Legacies: Essays on the Politics of Going On Together (Princeton University Press, 2005). In addition to his ongoing work on the politics of knowledge and innovation, he is developing projects on rational cooperation in the Greek world on the relationship between democracy and diginity.
Ober has published a number of books and articles on various aspects of ancient Greek history; in recent years his interests have centered on Athenian democracy and Greek political thought. His book Mass and Elite in Democratic Athens won the Goodwin Award of Merit in 1989. His writing for popular audiences includes The Anatomy of Error: Ancient Military Disasters and Their Lessons for Modern Strategists (1990 with Barry Strauss) and A Company of Citizens: What the World's First Democracy Teaches Leaders about Building Great Organizations (2003 with Brook Manville). He has held residential fellowships at the National Humanities Center, Center for Hellenic Studies, University of New England (Australia), Clare Hall (Cambridge), Center for the Advanced Study of the Behavioral Sciences, and University of Sydney; research fellowships from the ACLS, NEH, and Guggenheim; and has been a visiting faculty at University of Michigan, Paris I-Sorbonne 2000, and University of California at Irvine. Before coming to Stanford he taught at Montana State University (1980-1990) and Princeton University (1990-2006).