My research focuses on German and American political thought, with emphasis on Kant, Hegel, Western Marxism, and American Pragmatism. I’m especially interested in notions of progress, the nature of hope, and how post-Enlightenment (and some self-consciously “post-metaphysical”) thinkers wrestle with the philosophy of history. I’m currently completing a book entitled Working Hope, and have published pieces on John Dewey, Richard Rorty, Immanuel Kant, Ernst Bloch, William James, the appearance/reality distinction, ontological materialism, and Mad Men, among other topics, in venues including Political Theory, Theory & Event, Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society, Analyse & Kritik, The Journal of the Philosophy of History, Praktyka Teoretyczna, The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Political Thought, The Cambridge Habermas Lexicon, and William James Studies, an open-access journal of which I was also book review editor from 2013-2018. I recently co-translated, annotated, and introduced the first English edition of Ernst Bloch’s Avicenna and the Aristotelian Left (Columbia University Press, 2019).
At Penn, I lecture on modern and American political thought, and have offered seminars on the philosophy of history, German political thought, utopia and its critics, and American Pragmatism, along with one on Hegel, Marx, & Beyond in the Spring of 2021. I received the Pi Sigma Alpha Society's Henry Teune Award for excellence in undergraduate teaching in 2018, a year when, according to a rigorously scientific online poll in The Daily Pennsylvanian, my American Political Thought lecture (PSCI 183) was the most popular class on campus.
I coordinate Penn's political theory workshop, and was a visiting fellow in the Philosophy Department at the Humboldt University of Berlin in the Fall of 2019. Previously, I was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science at Ohio University (2013-2016) and held postdoctoral fellowships in UC Berkeley’s Department of Rhetoric (2011-2013) and at Rutgers' Center for Cultural Analysis (2010-2011).
In my spare time I try to redeem our great vinyl past, usually in my basement, but occasionally in public, around conference time, in Philly.
Ph.D., MA, Political Science, University of Chicago (2010, 2005)
M.Phil., Politics, University of Oxford (2003)
DAAD Jahresstipendiat, Philosophy, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt (2000-2001)
BA, Political Science, Yale University (2000)
Undergraduate: American Political Thought; Modern Political Thought; Utopia and Its Critics
Graduate: German Political Thought; Philosophies of History; American Pragmatism; Hegel, Marx & Beyond
“William James, Energy, and the Pluralist Ethic of Receptivity,” Theory & Event 23:3 (July 2020), 706-33.
“The Matter of Bloch’s Philosophy of Nature in Idealism’s Shadow,” in The Idea of Materialism: Ernst Bloch between Hegel and Marx, ed. Cat Moir and Henk de Berg (Brill, forthcoming).
“Left Hegelian Variations: on the Matter of Revolution in Marx, Bloch, and Althusser,” Praktyka Teoretyczna 35:1 (Apr 2020), 51-74.
“Richard Rorty, Homo Academicus Politicus,” Analyse & Kritik 41:1 (May 2019), 31-70.
“Introduction” to Ernst Bloch, Avicenna and the Aristotelian Left (Columbia, 2019).
Translation (with Peter Thompson) of Ernst Bloch, Avicenna and the Aristotelian Left (Columbia, 2019).
“Revisiting the Social Value of the College-Bred,” in Pragmatism Applied: William James and the Challenges of Contemporary Life, ed. Michael Levine and Cliff Stagoll (SUNY, 2019).
“Utopia” and “Ernst Bloch,” in The Cambridge Habermas Lexicon, ed. Amy Allen and Eduardo Mendieta (Cambridge, 2019).
“Learning and its Contexts,” in Dewey’s Democracy and Education: A Centennial Handbook, ed. Len Waks and Andrea English (Cambridge, 2017).
“Richard Rorty’s ‘Post-Kantian’ Philosophy of History,” The Journal of the Philosophy of History 9:3 (Nov 2015), 410-443.
“Appearance and Reality” and “Pragmatism,” in The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Political Thought (2015).
“The Power Elite and Semi-Sovereign Selfhood in Post-War America,” in Mad Men and Politics, ed. Lilly Goren and Linda Beail (Bloomsbury, 2015).
“Getting Beyond International Relations Theory: John Dewey’s Pragmatic Method and Global Politics,” in Philosophical Pragmatism and International Relations, ed. Shane Ralston (Lexington, 2013).
“In Defense of Blinders: On Kant, Political Hope, and the Need for Practical Belief,” Political Theory 40:4 (May 2012), 497-523.
“John Dewey’s Pragmatism from an Anthropological Point of View,” Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 48:1 (Winter 2012), 1-30.
“Another Side of William James: Radical Appropriations of a ‘Liberal’ Philosopher,” William James Studies 8 (2012), 34-64.