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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 2014-15

100 - Freshman Topics Seminar: Law & Disorder in E. Europe & former Sov Union

Faculty: Kathryn Hendley      Field: Political Theory, Political Theory

201 - Topics in Political Science: Western Culture: Hist of Polit, Econ & Soc Thought

Faculty: Richard Avramenko      Field: Political Theory

209 - Introduction to Political Theory

Faculty: Howard Schweber      Field: Political Theory

400 - Topics: Representation in Modern Political Thought

Instructors: Michelle Schwarze      Field: Political Theory

501 - Ancient & Medieval Western Thought

Instructors: Thomas Bunting      Field: Political Theory

506 - Topics in Political Philosophy

Instructors: Jonathan Schwartz      Field: Political Theory

519 - African American Political Theory

Faculty: Keisha Lindsay      Field: Political Theory

565 - History of American Political Thought

Instructors: Joshua Bandoch      Field: Political Theory

839 - Methods of Political Theory

Faculty: Richard Avramenko      Field: Political Theory

933 - Feminist Political Theory

Faculty: Helen Kinsella      Field: Political Theory