Social Sciences, Human Services and Criminal Justice
Phone: +1 (212) 220-1245
I have taught at BMCC since 2007. Influenced by the study of political theory and by experiences of political participation, I try to make each of my courses an occasion for students (and for me) to become more thoughtful observers of our society’s common life, in hopes that by doing so we can better understand ourselves and the larger wholes to which we belong. My classes use history, literature, and classic works of political thought as approaches to studying politics.
Political theory, with emphasis on American political thought
- B.A. New College of Florida (Sarasota, FL), Political Science, 1996
- Ph.D. Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ), Political Science, 2007
- The history, development, and intellectual origin of American government are studied and analyzed. Special consideration is given to the structure and operation of the executive, legislative and judiciary branches, and the role of government and politics in a modern industrial society.
- This class involves students in observation and critical analysis of political affairs. Topics and themes will include both American and global perspectives and both contemporary and historical cases. The class introduces a range of approaches to the study of politics, such as empirical research, quantitative analysis, theoretical questioning, and the examination of literary or artistic works. Central concepts will include politics, power, government, conflict, and justice.
- This course examines political ideas and their relationship to the practice of politics. Various theories will be explored, including liberalism, conservatism, socialism, and contemporary political thought. The course will address questions such as: What is human nature? What are rights, liberty and justice? How might they be achieved? What is the proper role of government? Political theorists approach these questions differently and provide different answers. The relevance of theories to current political issues is discussed.
Prerequisites: Any Social Science course
Research and Projects
I am currently studying the American social democratic tradition, looking at its place in the history of American thinking about democracy and community. My writings on Irving Howe, Michael Walzer, and realignment socialism (see below) are pieces of that project. My other recent preoccupations have included medieval thought and culture, the emergence of modern paradigms of secularism and individualism, and the political consequences of those paradigms.
Essays, scholarly articles, and book chapters
- “American Socialism and American Political Culture: Irving Howe’s Conciliation with (and Dissent from) Individualism.” American Political Thought 10.1 (Winter 2021)
- “Between Socialism and Socialists,” in An Inheritance for Our Times: Principles and Politics of Democratic Socialism, ed. Gregory Smulewicz-Zucker and Michael J. Thompson (OR Books, 2020)
- “Keeping the Left Alive: Michael Walzer’s Political Action Reissued,” Public Seminar
- “What Religious Socialists Have Brought to Socialism,” Syndicate (adapted from a panel presentation at “Democratic Socialism: Then and There, Here and Now”)
- “Can There Be Dignity in a Vast Majority?” Public Seminar
- “From Protest to Organizing,” Public Seminar
- “After Bernie,” Contrivers’ Review
- “On Organizing, Solidarity, and the Enlightenment,” in Rational Radicalism and Political Theory, ed. Michael J. Thompson
- “An Apprenticeship for Life in Common: Jean Jaurès on Social Democracy and the Modern Republic,” New Political Science (35:1)
- “Obama and the Organizing Tradition,” Logos: A Journal of Modern Society & Culture (7.2) (discussed in a radio interview: “The President as Community Organizer,” KBOO)
- “Jean Jaurès: A Portrait” Logos 5.2, Spring/Summer 2006.
Book reviews and review essays (since 2007)
- Review essay on J. Toby Reiner, Michael Walzer, and Michael Walzer and Astrid von Busekist, Justice is Steady Work: A Conversation on Political Theory, Logos: A Journal of Modern Society and Culture (20.1)
- Review of Tim Rogan, The Moral Economists: R.H. Tawney, Karl Polanyi, E.P. Thompson, and the Critique of Capitalism, New Political Science (41.1)
- Review of Andy Blunden, The Origins of Collective Decision Making, Logos: A Journal of Modern Society & Culture (16:1-2)
- Review of Gareth Dale, Karl Polanyi: A Life on the Left, New Political Science (39.2)
- “Socialism as an Ethos,” a review of A Socialist History of the French Revolution by Jean Jaurès, trans. Mitchell Abidor, Contrivers’ Review
- Review of Gilles Candar and Vincent Duclert, Jean Jaurès, H-France Review
- “Social Democracy, Here and Now,” Logos: A Journal of Modern Society & Culture (13.3-4)
- Review of George Scialabba, What are Intellectuals Good For?, Logos: A Journal of Modern Society & Culture (10.2)
- “From Liberalism to Social Democracy,” a review of Andreas Kalyvas and Ira Katznelson, Liberal Beginnings, Dissent
- “Democracy and Accountability,” a review of The Colonial American Origins of Modern Democratic Thought by J.S. Maloy, The Review of Politics 72.2, Spring 2010.
- “Needed: A Politics of Solidarity,” a review of The Future of Democratic Equality: Rebuilding Social Solidarity in a Fragmented America by Joseph M. Schwartz, Democratic Left 37.1, Summer 2009.
- Review of The Specter of Democracy by Dick Howard, Rethinking Marxism 21.1, January 2009.
- “The Production of Solidarity: Pierre Rosanvallon on Civil Society and Democracy,” New Political Science (30.4)
Academic conference presentations (since 2007)
- “The Intellectual History of Realignment Socialism, and Why It Matters.” New York Political Science Association Annual Meeting, April 2022.
- “Maybe Even Souls: Michael Walzer on the Moral Basis of Socialism.” New York Political Science Association Annual Meeting, April 2021; revised version at Association for Political Theory Annual Conference, November 2021.
- “Michael Walzer’s Political Pluralism, Or, When is a Social Democrat Not a Communitarian?” Association for Political Theory Annual Conference, October 2018.
- “Social Democracy in Lockean America: Michael Walzer’s Dilemma.” New York State Political Science Association Annual Meeting, April 2018.
- “An Apprenticeship for Life in Common: Jean Jaurès on the Modern Republic.” New York State Political Science Association Annual Meeting, April 2012.
- “Organizing in the Age of Experiments: Benjamin Franklin’s Public Spirit.” Northeastern Political Science Association Annual Meeting, November 2009.
- “Assembling the Public: Benjamin Franklin on the Practice of Organizing and the Modern Republic.” New England Political Science Association Annual Meeting, May 2009.
- “Organizer in Chief? Barack Obama, Saul Alinsky, and the Organizing Tradition in American Democratic Thought.” Northeastern Political Science Association Annual Meeting, November 2007.
Honors, Awards and Affiliations
- Phi Theta Kappa Award for Excellence in Education (2008)