About

I am a political scientist and theorist, having received my PhD from Purdue University. I have taught at Purdue University, Lesley University, Northeastern University, and Wheelock College at the undergraduate and graduate level, in traditional and English as a Second Language (ESL) programs, and in face-to-face and online formats. This has allowed me to teach across a variety of subjects, including international relations, globalization, American government, American identities, philosophy, intercultural communication, and research and writing methods.

My research and writing focuses on a cluster of problems pertaining to political obedience and obligation, freedom, and mechanisms of social control. I want to understand why people obey perceived authorities, how power relationships and forms of conduct become normalized and acquire a sense of legitimacy, and what possibilities exist for exercising some manner of freedom amidst complex, violent, and inequitable systems. I am particularly interested in the ways in which different perceptions of time can facilitate and structure or disrupt and transform different constellations of sociopolitical organization and our understanding of them. Our experiences with time are deeply political, even if we don’t often explicitly consider them as such: mobilizing personal or shared memories of trauma or triumph to give meaning to the present; fearing or exalting continuity of the same or the emergence of change and newness; dreaming of alternative futures; interpreting the world in terms of future progress, endless repetition, decline, or deferred salvation; finding purpose and expectations of security in a world where neither are guaranteed. These shapes we give to temporality are the scaffolding for empires and revolutions alike, as well as shelters (however limited) against the precarity of our lives.

My first book is The Temporality of Political Obligation (Routledge 2016). This work addresses the primary ways in which obedience to authority (especially that of the state) and adherence to social demands have been rationalized and morally justified, such as through appeals to justice, fairness, consent, or social contract. In so doing, I develop a critique of both apologists and philosophical anarchist critics of these theories of political obligation. Analyzing how these varied approaches both fashion and depend upon certain ways of structuring time in order to establish their coherence and sense of moral force, I argue that theories of political obligation function as “time-binding” disciplinary constructs that rationalize and compel compliance toward political authorities. Distinguishing between “formal” and “emergent” obligations, I offer a tentative (and necessarily tenuous) means of salvaging obligations as valued elements of our social lives, without surrendering them to the service of the state. Finally, after demonstrating how time can be conscripted to reinforce predominant structures of rule in a “chronarchic” fashion and discussing the limits of existing conceptualizations of freedom, I introduce a new theory of critical freedom. This critical freedom manifests itself through the creation of “anachronarchy,” wherein the ossifying, disciplinary, ordering functions of time-binding can be loosened, disrupted, and undermined through both the negation of those time-binding projections, and the creation of alternative temporal projects.

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