Zachary Goldsmith is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at Indiana University, Bloomington.

His main interests lie in political theory and intellectual history. More specifically, Zach is interested in politics in the extremes—when politics and political thinking turn dark, to violence, cruelty, and barbarity. To borrow a phrase from Zeev Sternhell, Zach believes that such perversions are “neither right nor left” but extreme, that they occur at the extremes of all political thinking.

In his dissertation, under the supervision of Aurelian Craiutu, Zach traces the evolution of the concept of “fanaticism,” with special attention to its treatment in modern political thought. Zach explains how the concept traveled from the confessional sphere in earlier religious disputes to become a political category following the events of the French Revolution and argues that contemporary political thinkers and actors should reject this form of political engagement.

Zach holds a BA from the University of Michigan (political science, 2011) with high distinction. After college he received a Fulbright Fellowship and traveled to the Republic of Armenia, where he lived between 2011-2012. He earned a MA in political science from Indiana University in 2016. Outside of academia, Zach has various hobbies; most of which are associated with collecting various odd and interesting objects, including (vintage) watches, fountain pens, and millefiori paperweights. He also enjoys listening to all kinds of music, from classical, especially German Lieder, to Leonard Cohen.