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 The Ends of Political Hope, and have published pieces on John Dewey, Richard Rorty, Immanuel Kant, Ernst Bloch, William James, the appearance/reality distinction, and Mad Men, among other matters, in venues including Political Theory, Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society, The Journal of the Philosophy of History, The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Political Thought, The Cambridge Habermas Lexicon, and William James Studies, a terrific open-access journal of which I was also book review editor from 2013-2018. Most recently, I have translated (with Peter Thompson), 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, with courses on the Frankfurt School and Anarchism planned in the future. In 2018 I received the (student-decided) Pi Sigma Alpha Society's Henry Teune Award for excellence in undergraduate teaching.
I studied at Yale, (B.A. 2000), Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt (2000-2001), Oxford (M.Phil. 2003), and the University of Chicago (M.A. 2005, Ph.D. 2010). Before coming to Penn, 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 University’s 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.
According to a rigorously scientific online poll in The Daily Pennsylvanian, my lecture "American Political Thought" was the most popular class on the Penn campus in 2018.
For the Fall semester 2019 I am a visiting scholar at Humboldt University of Berlin. I remain available via my Penn email address.
"Richard Rorty, Homo Academicus Politicus," Analyse + Kritik 41:1 (2019)
“Introduction” to 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.” Journal of The Philosophy of History (2015).
“Appearance and Reality” and “Pragmatism,” 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 (2012).
“John Dewey’s Pragmatism from an Anthropological Point of View,” Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society (2012).
“Another Side of William James: Radical Appropriations of a ‘Liberal’ Philosopher,” William James Studies (2012).