Faculty of Social Sciences
Assistant Professor Specializing in Political Theory
Phone: 905-688-5550 ext. 3891
B.A., University of Southern California; Ph.D., Duke University
I am a democratic theorist who studies the nature of political inclusion and exclusion, both in the history of political thought as well as in the construction of our contemporary institutions. I am interested in such questions as: how do we decide the boundaries of the political community? Who gets to be counted in the “we,” how are exclusions from the political community justified, and what means do we possess to amend our institutions and practices to broaden our concept of who counts as a citizen? I am interested in how race, gender, class, disability, nationality, and species have been used to disqualify the speech of excluded groups, and how these legacies of silence continue to bedevil our contemporary polity.
I frequently teach ancient Greek political theory in both introductory and advanced courses, though I also commonly teach classes in democratic theory, American political thought, posthumanism, and modern political theory. I am interested in graduate MRP supervision over a wide range of fields, including democratic theory, ancient Greek political theory, the history of political thought, critical animal studies, political ecology, posthumanism, science and technology studies, social justice, bioethics, disability studies, critical race theory, postcolonialism, theories of international relations, feminist theory, and political theology
Most of my research specifically addresses two basic questions: 1) why do we think that humans are, in general, the only beings to whom political obligations are owed? 2) how might we re-imagine our political institutions and ethical education to include nonhuman animals as well as other forms of life? A third question that emerges from these two, and which is rather more pointed, is: can nonhumans be citizens? I would say ‘yes’ to this last query; the bulk of political theorists from 500 BCE to the present would say that I must have misunderstood the question. To address these questions I’m currently working on two large projects: the first assesses the entwinement of animals, sacrifice, and politics in Greek political thought, in order to answer the first basic question I mentioned above. The second project engages with the second question I mentioned above, on “re-imagining,” by exploring lost alternatives in Greek political thought, specifically the very rich tradition of non-anthropocentric philosophy in Greeks like Pythagoras, Plato, Plutarch, and Porphyry.
PhD Program in Interdisciplinary Humanities
MA Program in Social Justice and Equity Studies
Social Justice Research Institute
“I’d Rather Just Devolve, Thank You: The Epic of Gilgamesh and the Ambiguous State of Nature.” In The State of Nature in Comparative Political Thought: Western and Non-Western Perspectives, ed. Jon Carlson and Russell Arben Fox, Lexington Books (2014).
“Sacrificing Justice: Suffering Animals, the Oresteia, and the Masks of Consent.” Political Theory 40:3 (2012), 263-289.
“Thucydides, Amended: Religion, Narrative, and IR Theory in the Peloponnesian Crisis.” Review of International Studies 38:3 (2012), 661-682.
“Species of Disability: Response to Arneil.” Political Theory 38:6 (2010), 859-865.
Book Reviews and Encyclopedia articles:
“Aeschylus” and “Homer” entries, Encyclopedia of Political Thought, edited by Michael Gibbons, Wiley-Blackwell, forthcoming.
Review of Governing Animals: Animal Welfare and the Liberal State, by Kimberly Smith. Perspectives on Politics, forthcoming.
Recent Conference Presentations:
“Listening in Order Not to Hear: Darwin, Politics, and Sacrifice.” (Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, August 2013).
“Vegetarian Republic: Pythagorean Themes in Plato’s Republic.” (World Congress of Philosophy XXIII, Athens, Greece, August 2013).
“Rats, Colonies, Knowledge: The Temple of Karni Mata and the Challenge to the Animal Research Complex.” (Presented at the “Materialism and the Colony” conference, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, May 22-23, 2013).
“‘Fugitives from the Gods’: Empedoclean Reflections on War and Peace.” Brock University Humanities Research Institute Symposium, April 23, 2013.
“Empire’s Walking Dead: The Zombie Apocalypse as Capitalist Theodicy.” (Annual Meeting of the Western Political Science Association, March 2013).
Sample syllabi and presentations:
Twitter feed for Postmodern Political Theory (4P07):
Peter Hall’s production of the Oresteia:
2) Libation Bearers:
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
The Contemporary Condition (a political theory blog):
Arts & Letters Daily:
Being a Woman in Philosophy (philosophy blog):
Crooked Timber (political philosophy blog):
Project Perseus (digital archive of Greek and other texts, in translation):