Associate Professor, Political Science
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 (sometimes in dialogue with classical Chinese philosophy) 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.
- Brock Posthumanism Research Institute (Founding Member)
- PhD Program in Interdisciplinary Humanities (Member of the Program Committee)
- MA Program in Social Justice and Equity Studies
- MA Program in Studies in Comparative Literatures and Arts
- Social Justice Research Institute
Area of specialization:
- Political Theory
- “The Praise of Ressentiment: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Donald Trump.” New Political Science (forthcoming, September 2016).
- “Empire’s Walking Dead: The Zombie Apocalypse as Capitalist Theodicy.” Borderlands (2015).
- “Animal Republics: Plato, Representation, and the Politics of Nature.” Politics and Animals 1:1 (2015), 75-88.
- “Vegetarian Republic: Pythagorean Themes in Plato’s Republic.” Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy, (forthcoming 2016).
- “Listening in Order Not to Hear?: Darwin, Politics, and Sacrifice.” Theory & Event 18:1 (2015).
- “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.
- Interview with St. Catharines Standard, June 13, 2014
- Interview with CHCH News (Hamilton), March 18, 2014
- Op-ed, “The Modern Heirs of Odysseus.” The Globe and Mail, October 5, 2015
- Interview with Tim Denis, Newstalk 610 CTKB, April 20, 2016
- Interview with Larry Fedoruk, Newstalk 610 CTKB, April 20, 2016
- Interview with Bart Gazzola, “Niagara Voices and Views” on CFBU 103.7 FM, April 27, 2016
Book Reviews and Encyclopedia articles
- Review of Homer on the Gods & Human Virtue: Creating the Foundations of Classical Civilization, by Peter Ahrensdorf. Review of Politics 78:1 (2015), 163-165.
- “Aeschylus” and “Homer” entries, Encyclopedia of Political Thought, edited by Michael Gibbons, Wiley-Blackwell, (2014).
- Review of Governing Animals: Animal Welfare and the Liberal State, by Kimberly Smith. Perspectives on Politics 11:4 (2013), 1175-1177.
- “Practical Posthumanism: Toward Convening Bruno Latour’s ‘Parliament of Things’ at Brock University.” (Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, August, 2016).
- “For a Public Posthumanism.” (Invited presentation at Emory University, Oxford College, February 18, 2016).
- “Faith, Food, and Animals.” (Invited presentation in the Food + Faith Public Lecture Series, University of Toronto School of Theology and the Church of Epiphany and St. Mark, November 12, 2015).
- “When the Lion Sides with the Lambs: Achilles as Posthuman Hero.” (Invited presentation at Colorado State University, April 22, 2015).
- “When the Lion Lies Down with the Lambs: Achilles as Posthuman Hero.” (Invited presentation at the University of Colorado, Boulder, April 21, 2015).
- “The Revolutionary Power of Becoming-Animal: Achilles as Posthuman Hero.” (Thinking Through Deleuze, Brock University, February 6-8, 2015).
- “Dangerous Liaisons: Darwin, Sex, and Environmental Political Theory.” (Presented at the Philosophy & Global Affairs Colloquium, University of Catania, Sicily, December 4, 2014).
- “Interrupting ‘Socrates’: Reflections on Democratic Knowledge, Dissensus, and Association.” Co-authored with Joel Alden Schlosser. (Annual Meeting of the Association for Political Theory, October 2014).
- “Animal Republics: Plato, Representation, and the Politics of Nature.” (Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, August 2014).
- “Before Sunrise, After Midnight: Humanity’s Evanescence in Aristotle and the New Materialists.” (Annual Meeting of the Western Political Science Association, April 2014).
- “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