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Political Theory is an integral part of the Department of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin.  Our current Political Theory faculty continues our long tradition of intellectual openness and methodological diversity.  Faculty research and teaching cover a broad historical range and reflect the thematic diversity of political theory as a discipline.  From Ancient and Medieval political philosophy (Avramenko, Zumbrunnen, Kapust) and Early Modern political philosophy (Kapust), to modern (Avramenko, Zumbrunnen, Kapust) and post-modern political thought (Kinsella, Zumbrunnen), students interested in the history of political thought will find excellent courses and a welcome home in our department.  Students drawn to themes such as Citizenship and Democracy (Zumbrunnen, Schweber, Downs, Avramenko, Kapust), Constitutionalism and Legal Theory (Schweber, Downs, Kinsella), Imperialism (Kapust, Kinsella), Post-Colonialism and Race (Kinsella, Lindsay), Post-structuralism (Kinsella, Zumbrunnen), gender studies (Lindsay, Kinsella, Avramenko) will also find an intellectual home in the Department of Political Science.

Students interested in pursuing graduate studies at Wisconsin will find a rigorous and exciting intellectual environment. Through coursework, research, and active participation in our Political Theory Workshop, our students acquire a broad knowledge of the history of political thought, become conversant with the central issues and debates animating the field today, and learn to embrace political theory as a vocation. The program is very selective, admitting only a small number of students each year. Faculty thus mentor only a few graduate students, actively fostering the professional development and scholarly rigor necessary to continue our excellent placement record. Students interested in pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin should consult our Graduate Program.

Research Groups

Faculty in Political Theory

Richard Avramenko Keisha Lindsay
Donald Downs Howard Schweber
Daniel Kapust John Zumbrunnen
Helen Kinsella

Undergraduate Organization


Courses in Political Theory - Fall 2013-14

100 - Freshman Topics Seminar: Challenges of Democratic Citizenship

Faculty: John Zumbrunnen      Field: Political Theory
Section Number: 004

209 - Introduction to Political Theory

Faculty: Howard Schweber      Field: Political Theory
Section Number: 001

400 - Topics in Political Science: Liberty, Equality and Amer

Faculty: John Zumbrunnen      Field: Political Theory
Section Number: 002

501 - Ancient & Medieval West Thought

Instructors: LeMoine, Rebecca      Field: Political Theory
Section Number: 001

502 - Topics in Political Philos: Educating the Democratic Citizen

Faculty: John Zumbrunnen      Field: Political Theory
Section Number: 002

503 - Contemporary Political Thought

Faculty: Brian Gingerich      Field: Political Theory
Section Number: 001

506 - Topics in Political Philos: Hospitality & Hostility in Western Political Theory

Faculty: Jimmy Klausen      Field: Political Theory
Section Number: 001

565 - History of American Political Thought

Instructors: Gomez, Adam      Field: Political Theory
Section Number: 001

695 - Prosem: Topics in Poli Sci: Roman Political Thought

Faculty: Daniel Kapust      Field: Political Theory
Section Number: 004

931 - Seminar-Political Theory: Liberalism, Race and Multi

Faculty: Jimmy Klausen      Field: Political Theory
Section Number: 002

931 - Seminar-Political Theory: Tocqueville's Democracy

Faculty: Richard Avramenko      Field: Political Theory
Section Number: 001

986 - Political Theory Workshop

Faculty: Daniel Kapust      Field: Political Theory
Section Number: 001