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RUSSELL K. NIELI did his undergraduate work at Duke University during the tumultuous years of the late 1960s. After graduating from Duke, summa cum laude, Nieli studied for a while at Columbia University before entering Princeton University’s Politics Department, where he focused on the study of political theory, religion, and American government. He received his Ph.D. in 1979 and later spent a year of study in Yale’s Religion Department. Nieli is currently a Senior Preceptor in Princeton University’s James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, as well as a Lecturer in Princeton’s Politics Department. He wrote a path-breaking book on the Austrian-English philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, and has published numerous articles in learned journals on a variety of public policy issues. Much of his published work in recent years focuses on issues of race in America, which he approaches from the perspective of classical liberalism and a God-focused humanism.
Racial preference policies first came on the national scene as a response to black poverty and alienation in America as dramatically revealed in the destructive urban riots of the late 1960s.