Subfield Coordinator: Kinch Hoekstra
Berkeley’s department offers a broad range of courses in political theory, spanning the history of thought and contemporary theory, and spanning European and American thinkers.
In the history of political thought, faculty have particular strengths in ancient, medieval, renaissance, early modern, Enlightenment, and nineteenth-century European thought, and in eighteenth-twentieth century American (including African-American) political thought. In contemporary political theory, faculty areas of expertise include liberal and democratic (including radical democratic) thought, problems of epistemology and historiography, postfoundationalism and its critics, and specific political issues ranging from political identity and subjectivity to sovereignty and political economy.
The core curriculum for graduate study in the department involves courses in the history of political thought (PS212a-c, 213, and 214) and contemporary political theory (PS215a-b and 216). The political theory exam queries students across these domains while also permitting latitude for students' specific foci and interests.
The research, writing, and pedagogical interests of faculty within political theory are impressively varied. Greater details about the work and interests of each faculty member may be found on their faculty web pages. Faculty outside the department who have scholarly interests in political theory have also proven valuable for students concentrating in this area.