Political Theory

All social-scientific inquiry appeals to concepts and values that are contestable in principle, and often contested in fact. The intelligent conduct of social science therefore requires sustained reflection about the concepts and values that guide our inquiries. This is the role that political theory serves within the discipline of political science. The political theory field encourages disciplinary and methodological pluralism and is open to a wide range of theoretical approaches, including analytical, critical, historical, and interpretive.

The field sponsors the OSU Political Theory Workshop, a forum for scholars from Ohio State and other universities to present and discuss their research in progress. Recent visitors have included Arash Abizadeh, Cristina Beltrán, Seyla Benhabib, Joshua Cohen, Simone Chambers, Mary Dietz, Archon Fung, Robert Gooding-Williams, James Johnson, Philip Pettit, William Scheuerman, Dennis Thompson, Jeremy Waldron, and Mark Warren.

The political theory faculty are also active participants in the OSU Center for Ethics and Human Values.

Faculty: Eric MacGilvray, Benjamin McKean, Michael Neblo, Emma Saunders-Hastings and Inés Valdez. 

Courses include:

Ancient and Medieval Political Thought
Early Modern Political Thought
19th Century Political Thought
20th Century Political Thought
Fundamental Concepts in Political Theory
Democratic Theory
Interpretation of Texts in Political Theory
Selected Topics in Political Theory

Toward a Radical Cosmopolitanism

The faculty encourages graduate students majoring in Political Theory to engage the empirical fields in the discipline, for example by choosing American Politics, Comparative Politics, or International Relations as a second focus or minor field.