Skip to content Skip to navigation

Political Theory

Political Theory

Political Theory at Stanford approaches the study of justice, legitimacy, and power by conjoining normative theory (reflection on political values), positive theory (study of how values can be achieved by institutions), and the intellectual history of political thought (from Plato to Rawls). Among the topics with which our faculty and students are concered are democracy, equality, rule of law, global justice, international relations, realism and idealism, education, deliberation, institutional innovation, and the organization of knowledge.

Bruce E. Cain is a Professor of Political Science at Stanford University and The Spencer F. and Cleone P. Eccles Family Director of the Bill Lane Center for the American West. He received a BA from Bowdoin College (1970), a B Phil from Oxford University (1972) as a Rhodes Scholar, and a Ph D from Harvard University (1976). He taught at Caltech (1976-89) and UC Berkeley (1989-2012) before coming to Stanford. Professor Cain was Director of the Institute of Governmental Studies at UC Berkeley from 1990-2007 and Executive Director of the UC Washington Center from 2005-2012.

Emilee is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Stanford.  Her current research project examines the distinctive value of voting in contemporary democratic practice, and its significance for electoral reform and the ethics of participation.

James G. March is Professor Emeritus at Stanford University, where he has been on the faculty since 1970. He holds appointments in the Schools of Business and Education and in the Departments of Political Science and Sociology. Before that, he was on the faculty of the University of California, Irvine, and the Carnegie Institute of Technology. He received his B.A. degree from the University of Wisconsin and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Yale University. He is the father of four children and (depending on how you count them) somewhere between five and 16 grandchildren.

Michael McFaul is Professor of Political Science, Director and Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, and the Peter and Helen Bing Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. He joined the Stanford faculty in 1995. He is also an analyst for NBC News and a contributing columnist to The Washington Post. Dr. McFaul served for five years in the Obama administration, first as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Russian and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council at the White House (2009-2012), and then as U.S.

Alison McQueen is an Assistant Professor of Political Science.  Her research focuses on early modern political theory and the history of International Relations thought.  Alison’s book manuscript, Political Realism in Apocalyptic Times (under contract), traces the responses of three canonical political realists—Niccolò Machiavelli, Thomas Hobbes, and Hans Morgenthau—to hopes and fears about the end of the world. Her second book project, Absolving God: Hobbes’s Scriptural Politics, tracks and explains changes in Thomas Hobbes’s strategies of Scriptural argument over time.

Josiah Ober, Mitsotakis Professor in the School of Humanities and Science, works on historical institutionalism and political theory, focusing on the political thought and practice of the ancient Greek world and its contemporary relevance. He is the author of a number of books mostly published by Princeton University Press, including Mass and Elite in Democratic Athens (1989), Political Dissent in Democratic Athens (2008), and Democracy and Knowledge (2008).

Robert Packenham, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, taught in the Department from 1965 to 2006 in the fields of comparative and Latin American politics.  He has also been a research fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the Hoover Institution and a visiting professor at universities in Latin America, the UK, and the US.

Rob Reich is professor of political science and, by courtesy, professor of philosophy and at the Graduate School of Education, at Stanford University. He is the director of the Center for Ethics in Society and co-director of the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (publisher of the Stanford Social Innovation Review, both at Stanford University. His current research focuses on the relationship between philanthropy, democracy, and justice.

Subscribe to Political Theory