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Political Theory Related Centers and Programs

In addition to what's offered within our department, there is an active theory community across campus that brings together scholars from a range of disciplines. Here are some examples that we think might be of particular interest to prospective and current theory students:

Speaker Series:

The Social and Political Thought workshop brings together scholars across fields on a regular basis to read and discuss cutting-edge work in our field. Vanderbilt faculty present work in progress, and we invite scholars from other institutions to share their research with our community. The workshop draws faculty and students from political science, philosophy, law, economics, and divinity. For additional information, please contact: or

2014-2015 schedule

  • January 16 Roxanne Euben (Political Science, Wellesley College) “Islamism, Humiliation, and the Mobilization of Masculinity”; Commentator: James Booth (Political Science & Phil., Vanderbilt). Held in Commons Center room 349.
  • February 6 Christopher Kutz (Law and Philosophy, UC Berkeley) “Surveillance and the Right to Crime”; Commentator: TBA
  • February 13 Elizabeth Edenberg (Philosophy, Vanderbilt) “Political Liberalism and its Feminist Potential”; Commentator: TBA
  • March 27 Adam Burgos (Philosophy, Vanderbilt) Topic: Ideal Theory and Political Realism”; Commentator: TBA
  • April 10 Susan Brison (Philosophy, Dartmouth College), Topic and Commentator TBA

2013-2014 schedule

  • January 17 Brooke Ackerly (Political Sci. & Philosophy, Vanderbilt) “Getting Global Responsibility on the “Rights” Track”; Commentator – Andrea Pitts (Philosophy, Vanderbilt). Held at noon in Commons Center room 363.
  • January 31 Chris Slobogin (Law, Vanderbilt) “Panvasive Surveillance, Political Process Theory, and the Nondelegation Doctrine”; Commentator – Eric Ritter (Philosophy, Vanderbilt). Held at noon in Commons Center room 363
  • February 7 Susan Brison (Philosophy, Dartmouth); Commentator – Vanessa Beazley (Communications, Vanderbilt)
  • February 21 Andrew Forcehimes (Philosophy, Vanderbilt) “Reasons Fundamentalism and the Appropriation Problem”; Commentator – Luke Semrau (Philosophy, Vanderbilt)
  • March 14 Tommie Shelby (African/African Amer. Stud. & Philosophy, Harvard) “Punishment, Condemnation, and Social Injustice”; Commentator - Geoffrey Adelsberg (Philosophy, Vanderbilt)
  • April 4 Claire Finkelstein (Law and Philosophy, U. of Pennsylvania) Topic: National Security; Commentator – Shannon Fyfe (Philosophy, Vanderbilt)
  • April 11 David Dyzenhaus (Law and Philosophy, U. of Toronto) “Wicked Law in Legal Theory [iniusta lex non est lex]”; Commentator – Paul Morrow (Philosophy, Vanderbilt)
  • April 25 Howard McGary (Philosophy, Rutgers) Topic: Public Education and Equality of Opportunity; Commentator – Gary Jaeger (Writer’s Studio & Philosophy, Vanderbilt)
  • August 23 Japa Pallikkathayil (Philosophy, University of Pittsburgh) "Exploitation"; Commentator – Paul Morrow (Philosophy, Vanderbilt University)
  • September 6 Charles Mills (Philosophy, Northwestern University) "Rawls and Race"; Commentator – Brooke Ackerly (Political Science & Philosophy, Vanderbilt University)
  • September 13 Larry May (Philosophy/Law/Political Science, Vanderbilt University) "Innocence and Complicity"; Commentator – James Booth (Political Science & Philosophy, Vanderbilt University)
  • September 20John Weymark (Economics, Vanderbilt University) "Must One be an Ogre to Rationally Prefer Aiding the Nearby to the Distant Needy?"; Commentator – Robert Talisse (Philosophy & Political Science, Vanderbilt University)
  • October 4 Ken Binmore (Economics, University College, London) "An Economic Defense of Epicurus on Life and Death"; Commentator – John Lachs (Philosophy, Vanderbilt University)
  • October 18 Sarah Song (Law and Political Science, University of California Berkeley) "Why Does the State have the Right to Control Immigration?"; Commentator – Emily McGill (Philosophy, Vanderbilt University)     
  • December 6 Helene Landemore (Political Science, Yale University) "Proudhon and Economic Democracy"; Commentator – Emily Nacol (Political Science, Vanderbilt University)

2010-2011 schedule

  • August 27 Roger Conner (Law, Vanderbilt) ''Attitudes, Advocacy and Polarization: The New Iron Triangle of Amer. Politics''; Commentator: Martin Rapisarda (Associate Dean A&S/Philosophy, Vanderbilt)
  • September 10 Kyla Ebels Duggan (Philosophy, Northwestern); Commentator: Stacy Clifford (Political Science, Vanderbilt)
  • September 24 Brooke Ackerly (Political Science, Vanderbilt) ''Patterns of Injustice''; Commentator: Gary Jaeger (Writing Studio/Philosophy, Vanderbilt)
  • October 8 'Steve Ross (Philosophy, CUNY) ''Criticizing Cohen's Criticisms of Rawls''; Commentator: Elizabeth Edenberg (Philosophy, Vanderbilt)
  • October 15 James Booth (Political Science, Vanderbilt) "From This Far Place: On Historic Injustice"; Commentator: Larry May (Philosophy/Law, Vanderbilt)
  • November 12 L. Wayne Sumner (Philosophy, Toronto) "Death by Request"; Commentator: Ellen Clayton (Pediatrics/Law, Vanderbilt)
  • December 3 Melissa Yates (Philosophy, St. John's, NY); Commentator: Steve Hetcher (Law, Vanderbilt)
  • January 14 Scott Aikin (Philosophy, Vanderbilt) "Poe's Law in Religious and Political Discourse"; Commentator: Vanessa Beasley (Communication Studies, Vanderbilt)
  • January 28 Melissa Snarr (Divinity, Vanderbilt); Commentator: Marilyn Friedman (Philosophy, Vanderbilt)
  • February 11 Emily Nacol (Political Science, Vanderbilt) "David Hume's Epistemology in his Politics and Economics"; Commentator: Jeffrey Tlumak (Philosophy, Vanderbilt)
  • February 25 John Maynor (Philosophy, Middle Tennessee State) "Republicanism and Globalization: Fighting Back Against Domination"; Commentator: Robert Talisse (Philosophy, Vanderbilt)
  • March 18 Anna Stilz (Politics, Princeton) "Why Do States Claim Rights to Particular Territories?"; Commentator: Matt Witt (Philosophy, Vanderbilt)
  • April 1 Sharon Street (Philosophy, NYU) "The Nature of Constructivism in Ethics"; Commentator: John Weymark (Economics, Vanderbilt)
  • April 15 Sally Haslanger (Philosophy, MIT); Commentator: Lisa Guenther (Philosophy, Vanderbilt)
  • April 22 James Sterba (Philosophy, Notre Dame) "From Rationality to Equality: A Developing Argument"; Commentator: Paul Morrow (Philosophy, Vanderbilt)

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