I joined Wheaton College in 2015, after completing my doctoral work at Northwestern University. My research is diverse in scope, but is guided by an overarching interest in the political consequences of the social sciences as an intellectual and professional practice. I have published on topics including the politics of popular culture, public intellectualism and democracy, and the development of Critical Theory in the American academy in outlets such as Polity, Constellations, and The History of the Human Sciences.
I am also passionate about my teaching, and have developed courses at Wheaton that span the fields of international relations, political theory, and women’s and gender studies. In each of my classes, I seek to trace the origins of our political present in order to encourage my students to think deeply about who we are, how we got here, and where we can go – both as individuals and as members of larger political communities.
You can find my Curriculum Vitae (pdf) here.
Political Theory: contemporary political theory; democratic theory; politics of popular culture; Foucaultian genealogy; Deweyan pragmatism; feminist theory; Critical Theory; history and philosophy of American political science.
International Relations: IR theory; power; popular culture and world politics; extra-statist conflict and protest; American international identity.
Ph.D., M.A., Political Science, Northwestern University
B.A., Political Science, Clark Honors College, University of Oregon
At Wheaton College
POLS 109 – Introduction to International Politics
POLS 207 – Classical and Medieval Political Theory
WGS 228 – Transnational Feminism
POLS 229 – US Foreign Policy
POLS 259 – Contemporary Conflicts in World Politics
POLS 269 – Popular Culture and World Politics
WGS 312 – Feminist Theory
POLS 329 – Power in International Politics
POLS 398 – American Empire: Past, Present, and Future
IR 402 – International Relations Senior Seminar
At Northwestern University
CFS 388 – Field Studies in Business Culture (online course)
CFS 395 – Modern Business Culture and Ethics
CFS 393 – Modern Work: A Political History
Following John Dewey, William Ayers, and several of my own personal mentors, I understand teaching to be a democratic enterprise. Therefore in each of my courses, I attempt to situate specific learning objectives within a set of larger questions that are, like students themselves, dynamic and open-ended: Who am I? What am I doing here and where am I going? What are my options and opportunities? What is my responsibility to others? The ultimate goals of this approach are to help all course participants – including the instructor – develop initiative and imagination, understand our shared social environment, and confront obstacles to our learning and fulfillment.
“Democracy’s Disappointments: Insights from Dewey and Foucault on World War I and the Iranian
Revolution,” Constellations 24.1 (2017): 40-50
“Popular Culture in (and out of) American Political Science: A Concise Critical History, 1858-1950”
History of the Human Sciences 30.1 (2017): 138-159
“Watching War Movies in Baghdad: Popular Culture and the Construction of Military Policy in
the Iraq War,” co-authored with Gerard Huiskamp and Eli Lovely, Polity 48.4 (2016): 496-
“Frankfurt Meets Chicago: Collaborations between the Institute for Social Research and Harold
Lasswell, 1933-1941,” Polity 47.3 (2015): 352-375
“What Kain Colter Really Learned at Northwestern,” Deadspin.com (August 21, 2015):
My scholarship focuses on the political consequences of the social sciences and their relationship to everyday life. As such, I see my work as contributing to two distinct but complementary conversations ongoing in contemporary political science. The first concerns the study of how and why the Western social sciences developed around certain problems, themes, and objects of study, but excluded others that may have proven equally fruitful for political investigation. The second involves the search for avenues of practical yet meaningful political engagement in a society in which such avenues seem increasingly hard to find. Located at the intersection of these two conversations, my research suggests that by better understanding the contingent origins and evolution of the social sciences, we may also unearth creative new ways to theorize the political possibilities of our present.