Associate Professor of Political Science and International Relations
Los Angeles, CA, UNITED STATES
Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts
Ph.D., Political Science
M.A., Political Science
“Foundations” is a reading, writing, and discussion intensive course that will introduce students to the history of political thought. Through an engagement with “classic” texts spanning the ancient, medieval, modern, and contemporary periods in the “west,” we will ask hard questions about justice, truth, value, happiness and the good life, individual and common good, the foundations of political societies, the origins and work of inequality, the value of freedom, subjection, subjectivity and citizenship, violence and morality, and many others. Perhaps above all, we will ask what it means to make something “foundational” at all, and what we have “built” upon that foundation.view more
This course takes up the question of race and politics through the lens of critical theory, legal theory, and political philosophies of race and difference. To that end, it is an extended study of what the philosopher Charles Mills describes as “white supremacy as a political system” as it is exercised through the law, social norms, and ways of thinking and knowing. It will primarily focus on the specific academic and political movement of Critical Race Theory (CRT), an offshoot of the Critical Legal Studies tradition that developed in the last quarter of the 20th century and which has taken on renewed importance in the 21st century and its repeated yet unsubstantiated claims of being a “post-racial” social and political order. The course will pay special attention to intersections of race with, sexuality, gender, and disabilityview more
This is a survey course of late 20th and early 21st century political theory. We will cover a range of theoretical approaches in contemporary political theory, including: (1) social welfare liberalism, (2) libertarianism, (3) civic and humanist republicanism, (4) discourse ethics and deliberative democracy, (5) identitarian critiques, and (6) post-structuralism. Throughout the semester, we will pay special attention to two constellations of questions centered on the ideas of “freedom” and “critique.” What do we mean by freedom? Who is the “free agent” or “free subject” of political life? What is the relation between political freedom and freedom in social, economic, and moral spheres? Secondly, what is critique? What is the object of critique? What grounds critique? What role does critical analysis play in political theory? What does it mean to be a critical political thinker in our daily lives and in our multiplicity? What, in the end, is the relationship between freedom and critique?view more
This seminar course asks what punishment in the form of incarceration and detention means in a modern democratic state and what this particular form of punishment reveals about conceptions of personal responsibility and subjectivity in the Western tradition. To that end, the course offers an in-depth study of punishment theory, the history of the incarceration and detention as punitive forms, the social, economic, and political analysis of prisons, the lived experiences of prisoners, their families, and the workers employed by the United States prison system. The first part of the course will explore the dominant modern approaches to understanding punishment, covering Durkhiem, Marxist interpretations, modern Anglo-American legal traditions, expressive retributivism, and culminating with a close reading of Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish. The second part of the course focuses on incarceration and detention as they are practiced in the United States in light of these theoretical approaches. The third part of the course asks how such practices play out in terms of collateral consequences and the importance of racial, gender, and sexual identities in relation to punishment. In this course, we will confront our assumptions about incarceration and detention in the US, and critically examine the ways in which we are already connected to, invested in, and increasingly dependent upon a criminal justice system that relies on the mass warehousing of people of color and socio-economically disadvantaged people.view more
“Society and its Discontents” serves as an introduction to the cultural and ideological formations that have shaped our understanding of social, political, economic, and cultural questions in the contemporary period. In particular, we will focus our attention on the typically fraught relationship between the “self” and “society.” We will organize this discussion through the work of two quintessentially ‘modern’ theorists of society, Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud, and their reinterpretation in twentieth century social theory. By tracing Marx and Freud’s theories of the self and society through the work of W.E.B. DuBois, Herbert Marcuse, Simone de Beauvoir, Frantz Fanon, and Michel Foucault, we will ask how we should best think about society at the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century.view more
What does it mean for “morality” to have a history? What about freedom? Equality? The Self? The Psyche? The Soul? How are we to orient ourselves toward the task of living if we take seriously Nietzsche’s assertion that it is precisely “we knowers” who are “unknown to ourselves?” Beyond Good and Evil is a course in critical ethical and moral theory, studying the cultural and ideological formations that have shaped our understandings of ethical, social, political, and economic questions in our contemporary moment. In this small and reading-intensive seminar, we will focus on the fraught relationships between three definitive modern terms: the self, society, and freedom. We will ask hard questions about these terms which are meant to disorient ourselves from the certainty we have, so that we may be able to think more ethically, freer, and more honestly about our actions and reactions to the world in which we find ourselves. We will organize this discussion through the work of three quintessentially “modern” social theorists—Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Marx, and Sigmund Freud—and reinterpretations of their thought in twentieth century social theory. By tracing their theories of the self and society we will ask: how can we be free as individuals and collectively as a society in these first decades of the twenty-first century.
This course will explore the many theoretical and practical difficulties that arise in attempting to reconcile an effective and just system of social punishment with the virtue of mercy. The relationship between mercy and punishment is frequently viewed as mutually exclusive or contradictory. Can a system forego punishment (through mercy) for some and still have equality? Can a system punish offenders and still uphold the dignity of the individual? How does one mediate between impunity and vengeance? Utilizing the lenses of modern philosophical ethics (Hobbes, Locke, Bentham, Kant), contemporary political theory (Nietzsche, Durkheim, Foucault, Derrida), and theology (Scripture, Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, United States Catholic Bishops) as well as engaging contemporary case-studies, this course analyzes this relationship in terms of competing strategies of punishment, moral rules and boundaries, moral and premoral goods, and philosophical and theological visions of forgiveness and mercy. The purpose of the course is not to develop an overly simplistic solution but rather to challenge and transform students’ presuppositions regarding mercy and punishment.view more
Building Abolition: Decarceration and Social Justice, Edited by Chloë Taylor and Kelly Struthers Montford
Dilts, Andrew. “Carceral Enjoyments & Killjoying the Social Life of Social Death,” in Building Abolition: Decarceration and Social Justice, Edited by Chloë Taylor and Kelly Struthers Montford, 196-223. New York: Routledge, 2021.view more
A Time for Critique, edited by Didier Fassin and Bernard Harcourt
Dilts, Andrew. “Crisis, Critique, and Abolition,” in A Time for Critique, edited by Didier Fassin and Bernard Harcourt, 230-251. New York: Columbia University Press, 2019.
German Translation: “Krise, Kritik und Abolition” in Abolitionismus. Ein Reader, edited by Daniel Loick and Vanessa Thompson. Berlin: Suhrkamp, 2022. (Translation by Marvin Ester and Ann- Katrin Kastberg)
Theory & Event
Dilts, Andrew. “The Ugliness of Freedom’s Practices, Hypervisibility, and Enjoyment: A Response to Elisabeth Anker.” Theory & Event 23, no. 1 (2020): 215-226.
Southern Journal of Philosophy
“Toward Abolitionist Genealogy.” Southern Journal of Philosophy 55:Spindel Supplement (2017): 51-77.
Law, Culture and the Humanities
“Justice as Failure.” Law, Culture and the Humanities 13:2 (2017): 184-192.view more
“Active Intolerance: An Introduction,” (with Perry Zurn) in Active Intolerance: Michel Foucault, the Prisons Information Group, and the Future of Abolition, edited by Perry Zurn and Andrew Dilts. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.view more
Fordham University Press
“Death Penalty Abolition in Neoliberal Times: The SAFE California Act and the Nexus of Savings and Security,” in Death and Other Penalties, edited by Geoffrey Adelsberg, Lisa Guenther, and Scott Zeman, 106-129. New York: Fordham University Press, 2015.
Radical Philosophy Review
“Political Theory and Philosophy in a Time of Mass Incarceration: Introduction to Part II,” (with Natalie Cisneros). Radical Philosophy Review 18:2 (Fall 2015).
Cambridge University Press
“Law” in The Foucault Lexicon, edited by Leonard Lawlor and John Nale, 243-250. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014.
Radical Philosophy Review
“Political Theory and Philosophy in a Time of Mass Incarceration: Introduction to Part I,” (with Natalie Cisneros). Radical Philosophy Review 17:2 (Fall 2014).
Disability Studies Quarterly
“Incurable Blackness: Collateral Consequences to Incarceration and Mental Disability.” Disability Studies Quarterly 32:3 (July 2012).
PhiloSOPHIA: A Journal of Continental Feminism
“How I learned to keep worrying and love teaching the canon” in Symposium: Reflections on Continental and Feminist Pedagogy. PhiloSOPHIA: A Journal of Continental Feminism 2:1 (2012): 78-81.
New Political Science
“Revisiting Johan Galtung's Concept of Structural Violence: Introduction.” New Political Science 34:2 (May 2012): 191-194.
“To Kill A Thief: Punishment, Proportionality, and Criminal Subjectivity in Locke's Second Treatise.” Political Theory 40:1 (February 2012): 58-83.
Oxford University Press
“African American Women: Intersectionality in Politics,” (with Jamila Celestine and Cathy J. Cohen), in The Oxford Handbook of African American Citizenship, edited by Henry Louis Gates Jr., 492-515. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.
“From ‘Entrepreneur of the Self’ to ‘Care of the Self’: Neoliberal Governmentality and Foucault’s Ethics.” Foucault Studies 12 (October 2011): 130-146.
“Michel Foucault Meets Gary Becker: Criminality Beyond Discipline and Punish.” Carceral Notebooks 4 (2008): 77-100.
“Discipline, Security and Beyond: a Brief Introduction” (with Bernard Harcourt), in Carceral Notebooks 4, (2008): 1-6.