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2019 Conference Participants

Asli Bâli is Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law, Faculty Director of the UCLA Law Promise Institute for Human Rights, and Director of the UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies. Bâli is a graduate of Williams College, the University of Cambridge where she was a Herschel Smith Scholar, Yale Law School and Princeton University, where she earned her Ph.D. in Politics. Bâli’s principal scholarly interests lie in two areas: public international law—including human rights law and the law of the international security order—and comparative constitutional law, with a focus on the Middle East. Her current research examines questions of constitutional design in religiously-divided societies. She has previously written on the nuclear non-proliferation regime, international legal arguments concerning humanitarian intervention, and the role of judicial independence in constitutional transitions. Bâli’s recent scholarship has appeared in the American Journal of International Law UnboundInternational Journal of Constitutional LawUCLA Law ReviewYale Journal of International Law, Cornell Journal of International LawVirginia Journal of International Law, GeopoliticsStudies in LawPolitics and Society and edited volumes published by Cambridge University Press and Oxford University Press.


Richard Bourke is Professor of the History of Political Thought at the University of Cambridge. He was formerly Professor in the History of Political Thought at Queen Mary University of London, where he served as co-director of the Centre for the Study of the History of Political Thought. He has written widely on enlightenment political thought, ideas of democracy, nationalism and popular sovereignty, and modern Irish history. Among his numerous awards and accolades, in 2016 he was joint winner of the István Hont Memorial Book Prize in Intellectual History, for his Empire and Revolution: The Political Life of Edmund Burke (Oxford, 2015).


Michelle Clarke is Associate Professor of Government at Dartmouth College. Her research focuses on the history of republican political thought, and especially debates about the meaning of liberty in ancient Rome and Renaissance Italy. She has a particular interest in Machiavelli's contribution to these debates, as well as his enduring legacy in the modern political tradition. She is the author of Machiavelli’s Florentine Republic (Cambridge University Press, 2018). She is currently working on a new book called Machiavelli and the Nature of Things: An Epicurean Critique of Cicero.

Jean L. Cohen is the Nell and Herbert M. Singer Professor of Political Thought and Contemporary Civilization in the Department of Political Science  at Columbia University. She teaches contemporary political theory; continental political thought; populism; religion and constitutional democracy; contemporary civilization, critical theory, and international political theory. Professor Cohen's areas of interest are civil society, sovereignty, democratic theory, populism, religion and democratic constitutionalism, and gender and the law. She is the author of numerous books and articles including Class and Civil Society: The Limits of Marxian Critical Theory (University of Massachusetts Press, 1982); Civil Society and Political Theory (co-authored with Andrew Arato) (MIT Press, 1992); Regulating Intimacy: A New Legal Paradigm (Princeton University Press, 2002); and Globalization and Sovereignty: Rethinking Legality, Legitimacy and Constitutionalism (Cambridge University Press, 2012). She is the co-editor with Yoav Peled et al. of Democratic Citizenship and War (Routledge 2011) and with Cecile Laborde, Religion, Secularism and Constitutional Democracy (Columbia University Press, 2016). Her most recent co-edited volume (with Andrew Arato and Astrid von Busekist) is Forms of Pluralism and Democratic Constitutionalism (Columbia University Press, 2019). Her current work is focused on populism, civil society and democracy.  She is also the co-editor in chief of  Constellations: a Journal of Democratic Theory. 


Jodi Dean is Professor of Political Science at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Her scholarly interests include contemporary political theory, modern political theory, communism, theories of digital media, poststructuralism, psychoanalysis, feminist theory, and political theory and climate change. She is the author of Crowds and Party (Verso 2016), The Communist Horizon (Verso 2012) and Blog Theory (Polity 2010), among other books. She is co-editor of Digital Barricades (book series with Pluto Press) and co-director of the Radical Critical Theory Circle (international theory association).



Lisa Disch is Professor of Political Science and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan. She specializes in contemporary continental political thought, paying particular attention to feminist theory, political ecology, and theories of democracy in both the US and France. Framing this range of interests is a concern with the power of conventions that are regarded as necessary or natural, and a fascination with how they come to be looked upon that way. She is the author of The Tyranny of the Two Party System (Columbia University Press, 2002) and Hannah Arendt and the Limits of Philosophy (Cornell University Press, 1994). Her current research includes a project on political representation that seeks to reconcile the insight that acts of representation neither merely reflect constituencies nor originate with them but, rather, mobilize them with the expectation that representative democratic government must be government “by” the people. She is also at work on a project on the reciprocal influences of contemporary French and American political theory.



Jason Frank is Robert J. Katz Chair of Government at Cornell University. His research and teaching interests include democratic theory, American political thought, modern political theory, political aesthetics, populism, and the history of popular sovereignty.  He is the author of Constituent Moments: Enacting the People in Postrevolutionary America, and Publius and Political Imagination, and the editor of Vocations of Political Theory and A Political Companion to Herman Melville. His research has been published in such journals as Political Theory and Modern Intellectual History, and his commentary has appeared in the New York Times and the Boston Review.  He is currently completing a book  titled The Democratic Sublime: On Aesthetics and Popular Assembly.


Jill Frank is Professor of Government at Cornell University. Focused on the historians, poets, and philosophers of Ancient Greece, her research seeks resources in these past thinkers for contemporary democratic theory and practice. With completed projects exploring the topics of law, judgment, persuasion, justice, property, and nature, she is currently writing on the question of constitution, the relation between aesthetics and politics, and the practice of power in Plato and Aristotle, Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Thucydides.

Bryan Garsten is Professor of Political Science and the Humanities, and Chair of the Humanities Program. He is the author of Saving Persuasion: A Defense of Rhetoric and Judgment (Harvard University Press, 2006) as well as articles on political rhetoric and deliberation, the meaning of representative government, the relationship of politics and religion, and the place of emotions in political life. Garsten is now finishing a book called The Heart of a Heartless World that examines the ethical, political and religious core of early nineteenth century liberalism in the United States and France. He has also edited Rousseau, the Enlightenment, and Their Legacies, a collection of essays by the Rousseau scholar Robert Wokler (Princeton University Press, 2012). His writings have won various awards, including the First Book Prize of the Foundations of Political Theory section of the American Political Science Association. Garsten teaches “Introduction to Political Philosophy,” “Aristotle’s Political Thought,” “Political Representation,” “Tocqueville,” and “Directed Studies” among other courses. His work in the classroom earned him the 2008 Poorvu Family Prize for Interdisciplinary Teaching. He has served as Director of Undergraduate Studies for Yale’s major in Ethics, Politics and Economics and the Director of Graduate Studies for the Department of Political Science.


Alex Gourevitch is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Brown University. He has been an assistant professor at McMaster University, a Post-Doctoral Research Associate at Brown University's Political Theory Project, and a College Fellow at Harvard University. He received my Ph.D in Political Science from Columbia University in 2010. His research interests include the history of political and economic thought; theories of freedom; work and leisure; Marxism; rights theory; republicanism; and democratic theory. He also writes political commentary for publications like Jacobin, Dissent, and Salon, and runs a critical political economy blog called The Current Moment.



Carlo Invernizzi-Accetti is Assistant Professor of Political Theory at The City College of New York (CUNY) and Associate Researcher at the Center for European Studies of the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po). He holds a PhD in Political Science from Columbia University, a Master’s Degree in History and Theory of Politics from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po) and a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford University (Lincoln College). His research combines a historical approach to the study of political ideas with a concern for contemporary normative issues, focusing in particular on democratic theory and the question of the relation between politics and religion. His book entitled Relativism and Religion. Why Democratic Societies Do Not Need Moral Absolutes (Columbia University Press, 2015) traces the history of anti-relativism in the political thought of the Catholic Church, and then rescues a form of philosophical relativism for modern, pluralist societies, arguing that relativism provides the firmest foundation for an allegiance to democracy. Currently, he is working on two parallel research projects: one on the relationship between populism and technocracy as complementary critiques of party democracy, and the other on the intellectual tradition of Christian Democracy and its influence on the process of construction of the European Union. 



Turkuler Isiksel is James P. Shenton Associate Professor of the Core Curriculum at Columbia and works in contemporary political theory. Isiksel is particularly interested in how descriptive and normative categories tailored to the nation-state apply to political institutions beyond that context, and combines the perspectives of normative theory, legal analysis, and institutionalist political science in her work. Her substantive research interests include constitutional theory, the law and politics of the European Union and other international economic institutions, Enlightenment political philosophy (especially the evolution of ideas about commerce and international politics in the eighteenth century), theories of corporate personhood, sovereignty, citizenship, and human rights. Isiksel is the author of Europe’s Functional Constitution. A Theory of Constitutionalism beyond the State (Oxford University Press Constitutional Theory Series, 2016). She is currently working on a book on the theory and practice of corporate personhood.

Jordan Jochim is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Government at Cornell University. He is interested in authority, domination, and resistance in ancient, modern, and contemporary political thought. His dissertation, Aristotle and the End of Tyranny, takes the tyrant’s defensive orientation to power as a point of departure for examining the relationship between injustice, repression, fear, and revolution in Aristotle’s account of tyranny. An article from this project, entitled “Aristotle, Tyranny, and the Small-Souled Subject,” is forthcoming in Political Theory. 

Demetra Kasimis is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago. Her research and teaching focus on democratic theory with emphasis on the thought and politics of classical Greece and its contemporary receptions. She is particularly interested in questions of membership, exclusion, and immigration. Kasimis’ research has been funded by the NEH, ACLS, and Mellon and Fulbright Foundations. She is a graduate of Columbia University where she majored in philosophy and concentrated in Hellenic Studies before receiving her PhD in political science from Northwestern University. Previously, Kasimis taught at Yale as a postdoctoral fellow before joining the faculty at California State University, Long Beach as an assistant professor of political science. At the University of Chicago, Kasimis is also an associated faculty member of the Department of Classics and a member of the affiliated faculty of the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality. She is the author of The Perpetual Immigrant and the Limits of Athenian Democracy (Cambridge University Press, August 2018), which will be out in paperback in May 2019.

Alex Kirshner is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Duke University. His research cuts across democratic theory, comparative politics and constitutional law. He is completing a book entitled, Legitimate Opposition (under contract-Yale University Press). The book offers a full-scale, genealogical reconsideration of opposition’s history and its value. Alex has just begun a new project on the political life, institutions and moral character of autocracy. That work is entitled: Undemocratic Theory. His first book, A Theory of Militant Democracy: The ethics of combatting political extremism (Yale University Press, 2014), explored the challenging dilemmas raised by antidemocratic opposition to democracy. Alex holds a BA and PhD from Yale University.


Alexander Livingston is Associate Professor in the Department of Government at Cornell University. His research examines race, religion, and dissent with a focus on American political thought. He teaches courses on civil disobedience, theories of democracy, contemporary political theory, and the history of political thought. His first book, Damn Great Empires! William James and the Politics of Pragmatism (Oxford University Press, 2016), examines William James’s role in debates about U.S. imperialism at the turn of the century to show how pragmatism developed as a political response to crises of authority and sovereignty driving the expansion of American global power. Livingston's work has appeared in American Political Science ReviewPolitical TheoryJournal of Politics, Contemporary Political Theory, Theory & Event, Humanity, William James Studies, Contemporary Pragmatism, and Philosophy and Rhetoric, as well as numerous edited volumes including most recently A Political Companion to W.E.B. Du Bois. He is currently writing a book on the genealogy of civil disobedience and the politics of nonviolence in the long civil rights movement. 


Harvey C. Mansfield, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Government, studies and teaches political philosophy. He has written on Edmund Burke and the nature of political parties, on Machiavelli and the invention of indirect government, in defense of a defensible liberalism and in favor of a Constitutional American political science. He has also written on the discovery and development of the theory of executive power, and has translated three books of Machiavelli’s and (with the aid of his wife) Tocqueville's Democracy in America. He is the author of Manliness (Yale University Press, 2006). He was Chairman of the Government Department from 1973-1977, has held Guggenheim and NEH Fellowships, and has been a Fellow at the National Humanities Center. He won the Joseph R. Levenson award for his teaching at Harvard, received the Sidney Hook Memorial award from the National Association of Scholars, and in 2004 accepted a National Humanities Medal from the President.  He has hardly left Harvard since his first arrival in 1949, and has been on the faculty since 1962.

Karuna Mantena is Associate Professor of Political Science. She holds a BSc(Econ) in International Relations from the London School of Economics (1995), an MA in Ideology and Discourse Analysis from the University of Essex (1996), and a PhD in Government from Harvard University (2004).  Her research interests include modern political thought, modern social theory, the theory and history of empire, and South Asian politics and history.  Her first book, Alibis of Empire: Henry Maine and the Ends of Liberal Imperialism (2010), analyzed the transformation of nineteenth-century British imperial ideology.  Her current work focuses on political realism, the politics of nonviolence, and the political thought of M.K. Gandhi. Since 2011, Professor Mantena has been serving as co-director of the International Conference for the Study of Political Thought.


Lori Marso is a feminist political theorist who holds the Doris Zemurray Stone Professor of Modern Historical and Literary Studies Chair, and is a Professor of Political Science at Union College in Schenectady NY. She is author, co-editor, or editor of several books, most recently Politics with Beauvoir: Freedom in the Encounter (Duke 2017), Politics, Theory, and Film: Critical Encounters with Lars von Trier (co-edited with Bonnie Honig, Oxford 2016), and Fifty-One Key Feminist Thinkers (editor, Routledge, 2016). Politics with Beauvoir received the Pamela Jensen Award for the Best Book in Politics, Literature, and Film from the American Political Science Association in 2018, and her articles have received the Wilson Carey McWilliams Award for Politics, Literature, and Film; the Iris Marion Young and Susan Okin Award for Feminist Political Theory; the Contemporary Political Theory Award; the Marion Iris Prize; and the Betty Nesvold Women and Politics Award. Marso was a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow and she received Union College’s campus-wide teaching award in 2011.  She is currently a consulting editor for Political Theory, and a member of the APSA Council.  

A. James McAdams is the William M. Scholl Professor of International Affairs at the University of Notre Dame. His primary fields of research and teaching are in comparative and international politics, and political history. He also has a longstanding interest in political philosophy. Between 2002 and 2018, he was Director of the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, an interdisciplinary institute dedicated to the study of contemporary European affairs. He is also a fellow of the Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies and the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. His publications include Germany Divided: From the Wall to Reunification (Princeton University Press, 1992), Judging the Past in Unified Germany (Cambridge University Press, 2001) and, most recently, Vanguard of the Revolution: the Global Idea of the Communist Party (Princeton University Press, 2017), which was named one of the best books of 2018 by Foreign Affairs.  He is currently working on a project on “New Right Thinkers” in Europe, Russia, and the US.


Alison McQueen is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Stanford University. Her research focuses on early modern political theory and the history of International Relations thought. Alison’s book, Political Realism in Apocalyptic Times (2018), traces the responses of three canonical political realists—Niccolò Machiavelli, Thomas Hobbes, and Hans Morgenthau—to hopes and fears about the end of the world. Her second book project, Absolving God: Hobbes’s Scriptural Politics, tracks and explains changes in Thomas Hobbes’s strategies of Scriptural argument over time. Her other ongoing research projects explore methods of textual interpretation and the ethics and politics of catastrophe.


Pratap Bhanu Mehta is Vice-Chancellor of Ashoka University. He was earlier president of the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, one of India’s top think tanks. He has taught at Harvard University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, and the New York University School of Law. His areas of research include political theory, constitutional law, society and politics in India, governance and political economy, and international affairs. He has written extensively on intellectual history, history, political theory, law, India’s social transformation and world affairs. Dr Mehta holds a BA (first class) in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from Oxford and a PhD in politics from Princeton. He received the 2010 Malcom S. Adishehshiah Award and the 2011 Infosys Prize for Social Sciences - Political Science. He is the recipient of the Infosys Prize, the Adisheshiah Prize and the Amartya Sen Prize.


Russell Muirhead is Robert Clements Associate Professor of Democracy and Politics at Dartmouth College. The author of Just Work (Harvard University Press, 2004) and The Promise of Party in a Polarized Age (Harvard University Press, 2014) Previously, Muirhead taught political theory at the University of Texas at Austin, Harvard University, and Williams College. He was a Radcliffe Institute Fellow (2005-6) and a winner of the Roselyn Abramson Teacher Award at Harvard College. He holds a PhD and AB from Harvard University and a BA from Balliol College at Oxford University.


Giulia Oskian is Assistant Professor of Political Science. She specializes in political theory and her research interests include early modern and modern political thought, constitutionalism, democratic theory, the history of ideologies, and political psychology. Her book Tocqueville and the Legal Basis of Democracy was published in Italian and is now being translated into English. Currently, she is working on a new project, which explores the role of emotions in political life, studying how emotions inform political judgement and internally curb rationality. She holds a Ph.D. from the Scuola Normale Superiore and, before coming to Yale, was a postdoctoral fellow at Science Po Paris and at Queen Mary University of London, and a Fulbright scholar at Columbia University.

Thea Riofrancos is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Providence College. Her research focuses on resource extraction, radical democracy, social movements, and the left in Latin America. These themes are explored in her book, Resource Radicals: From Petro-Nationalism to Post-Extractivism in Ecuador (under contract from Duke University Press), as well as in peer-reviewed articles in Perspectives on Politics, Cultural Studies, and World Politics, and essays that have appeared in n+1, Dissent, Jacobin, In These Times, and NACLA. Previously, she was a Visiting Fellow at the Kellogg Institute for International Studies (University of Notre Dame), and held a one-year appointment as a visiting scholar at the Facultad de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO) in Quito. She received her Ph.D. in political science at the University of Pennsylvania in 2014, and her B.A. from Reed College in 2006.



Kenneth M. Roberts is Richard J. Schwartz Professor of Government at Cornell University, where he teaches comparative and Latin American politics, with an emphasis on social movements, the political economy of development, party systems, and political representation. His research is devoted to the study of political parties, populism, and labor and social movements. He obtained his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1992, then taught at the University of New Mexico before joining the faculty at Cornell. His publications include The Resurgence of the Latin American Left (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011) and Changing Course in Latin America: Party Systems in Latin America's Neoliberal Era (Cambridge University Press, 2014).


María Paula Saffon is Professor of Legal Sociology and Comparative Constitutional Law at the University of the Andes and the National University in Colombia. She earned her law degree (Magna cum Laude) and Master’s Degree in Law from the Universidad de los Andes. Until 2008, she was a full-time researcher at Dejusticia and was in charge of strategic lawsuits. Her research is about armed conflict; the rights of victims of atrocious crimes; the Inter-American Human Rights System; incorporation of international human rights standards in the national system and social, economic and cultural rights.



Melissa Schwartzberg is Silver Professor of Politics at New York University, specializing in political theory. Her primary research interests are in the historical origins and normative logic of democratic institutions, with special focus on ancient Greek institutions and on the history of ideas about democracy, both ancient and modern. Her publications include Counting the Many: The Origins and Limits of Supermajority Rule (Cambridge University Press, 2014) and Democracy and Legal Change (Cambridge University Press, 2007). Her current book project, Judging Democracy: Voters, Jurors, and the Construction of Equal Citizens, addresses the historical and conceptual links between the right to vote and the right to serve on a jury. She is the editor of NOMOS, the annual volume of the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy.

Will Selinger is Lecturer in European History, 1700-1850, at University College London. He is a historian of political thought and has a particular interest in modern theories of democracy and representative government. His first book is entitled Parliamentarism: From Burke to Weber. It will be published by Cambridge University Press in 2019, in the Ideas in Context series. He is currently beginning work on a comprehensive intellectual biography of Montesquieu, tentatively entitled Montesquieu: The Birth of Social Theory.

Anurag Sinha is a College Fellow in Social Studies at Harvard University. He studies modern political thought, with interests in empire and colonization, the history of political economy, postcolonial and comparative political theory, and the politics and history of modern South Asia. His current research focuses on the intellectual legacies of eighteenth-century British state-building in India. He received his Ph.D. from Yale University.

Max Skjönsberg teaches early modern and modern intellectual history, the history of political thought, and political history at the University of St. Andrews. His publications include “Adam Ferguson on Partisanship, Party Conflict, and Popular Participation” (Modern Intellectual History, 2017) and “Adam Ferguson on the Perils of Popular Factions and Demagogues in a Roman Mirror” (History of European Ideas, forthcoming). He holds a PhD in International History from the London School of Economics, an MA in the History of Political Thought from University College London and Queen Mary University London (2013) and a BA in Contemporary History from Queen Mary and City University (2012).


Nadia Urbinati is Kyriakos Tsakopoulos Professor of Political Science at Columbia University. She specializes in modern and contemporary political thought and the democratic and anti-democratic traditions. She is the winner of the 2008-9 Lenfest/Columbia Distinguished Faculty Award. In 2008 the President of the Italian Republic awarded Professor Urbinati the Commendatore della Repubblica (Commander of the Italian Republic) "for her contribution to the study of democracy and the diffusion of Italian liberal and democratic thought abroad." In 2004 her book Mill on Democracy (cited below) received the David and Elaine Spitz Prize as the best book in liberal and democratic theory published in 2002. Professor Urbinati is the author of How Populism Transforms Democracy (forthcoming), Democracy Disfigured: Opinion, Truth and the People, The Tyranny of the ModernsRepresentative Democracy: Principles and Genealogy, and of Mill on Democracy: From the Athenian Polis to Representative Government. She is currently completing a monograph on the ideology of the anti-political and the critics of democracy.

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