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 work at the nexus of ancient political theory, political ecology, and critical animal studies, and also (sometimes) address the fields of environmental political theory, posthumanism, and bioethics. Most of my research addresses two basic questions: 1) why do we think that humans are, in general, the only beings to whom moral 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. I am fascinated by how obvious it is to the canonical theorists that humans can basically treat nonhumans however “we” like, and it’s my goal as a scholar and teacher to make the obviousness of this exclusively human “we” a little less obvious. To this end 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.
“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.
“I’d Rather Just Devolve, Thank You: The Epic of Gilgamesh and the Ambiguous State of Nature.” In Comparative States of Nature, ed. Russell Arben Fox and Jon Carlson, Lexington Books (forthcoming 2012).
“Species of Disability: Response to Arneil.” Political Theory 38:6 (2010), 859-865.