Political Theory

Our large theory faculty enables us to offer courses in the entire history of political thought: ancient, medieval, early modern, late modern, and contemporary. Faculty also have a strong interest in literature and political philosophy, religion and politics, constitutional law and design, liberalism and its critics, citizenship, human rights, critical theory, and feminist theory, among other topics.

In addition to taking a wide range of courses in political theory and the history of political thought, doctoral students in Political Theory do coursework in a second field of Political Science (such as International Relations or Constitutional Studies). We encourage Political Theory students to take courses in other disciplines, including Philosophy, Theology, History, Law, English, Peace Studies, Gender Studies, Africana Studies, and Film Studies, to enhance the development of their research specialties and dissertation projects. Political Theory students also have access to advising from the faculty and fellows associated with special centers located on campus including the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study, the Center for the Study of Philosophy of Religion, the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture, the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, the Medieval Institute, the Nanovic Center for European Studies, and the Klau Institute for Civil and Human Rights in the Keough School of Global Affairs.

Our students pursue dissertations on a diverse range of cutting-edge topics in political theory (such as Indigenous conceptions of sovereignty, feminist conceptions of peacebuilding in Manipur, neo-Aristotelian conceptions of nature and virtue) combined with the rigorous historical and textual study of canonical political thinkers (such as Thucydides, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Machiavelli, More, Spinoza, Hobbes, Rousseau, Smith, Burke, Wollstonecraft, Austen, Shelley, Hegel, Marx, Mill, Nietzsche, Arendt). 


Susan D. Collins

Associate Professor

Fred R. Dallmayr

Emeritus Faculty

Bernard Forjwuor

Assistant Professor

Vittorio G. Hösle

Paul Kimball Professor of Arts and Letters

Eileen M. Hunt


Joshua B. Kaplan

Emeritus Faculty

Mary M. Keys


Vincent Phillip Muñoz

Tocqueville Professor of Political Science

Walter Nicgorski

Emeritus Faculty

James Otteson

John T. Ryan Jr. Professor of Business Ethics

Daniel Philpott


Emma Planinc

Assistant Professor

J. Samuel Valenzuela

Kellogg Professor

Ernesto Verdeja

Associate Professor of Political Science and Peace Studies

Dana Villa

Packey J. Dee Professor of Political Science

Catherine Zuckert

Emeritus Faculty

Michael Zuckert

Emeritus Faculty