Political Science

Shannon Mariotti

Associate Professor of Political Science

Shannon Mariotti received her doctorate in Government, specializing in political theory, from Cornell University in 2006. Her research focuses on 19th century American Transcendentalism and American Political Thought, 20th century Critical Social Theory, and Democratic Theory. 

She has published articles on Adorno, Thoreau, Emerson, and Du Bois in journals such as Political Theory, TELOS, and volumes such as A Political Companion to Henry David Thoreau.

Her first book, Thoreau's Democratic Withdrawal: Alienation, Participation, and Modernity (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2010) reads Thoreau through the theoretical lens of the 20th century critical social theorist Theodor W. Adorno to articulate the political value of distancing oneself from the modern public sphere. This book was published as part of the "Studies in American Thought and Culture" series, edited by Paul Boyer. 

She is currently working on a second book, titled Another Adorno: Democracy in America. She received a Brown Junior Fellowship from Southwestern University for the 2010-2011 academic year as well as a Brown Junior Sabbatical in 2013, to complete this project. 

She is also co-editing A Political Companion to Marilynne Robinson, a volume that brings together political theorists to analyze a wide range of politically significant themes in the work of this important novelist-philosopher. This volume is under contract and forthcoming from the University Press of Kentucky, slated for publication in Fall of 2014. 


Education

Ph.D., Cornell University 2006
M.A., University of Texas, Austin 2001
B.A., American University 1999

Positions

Associate Professor of Political Science
Southwestern University
August 18, 2012 - present

Assistant Professor of Political Science
Southwestern University
August 01, 2008 - August 01, 2012

Assistant Professor of Political Science
Rollins College
August 01, 2006 - May 01, 2008

First-Year Writing Seminar Instructor
Cornell University
September 01, 2003 - May 01, 2005

Teaching Philosophy

Political theory relates to both the practice of critique and the promise of democracy: these are the two interconnected touchstones that orient my theory and practice as a teacher. Critique is a way of thinking that places value on unsettling naturalized conceptions and questioning traditional narratives: it works against the seeming necessity and inevitability -- and instead highlights the contingency -- of the institutions, practices, and ideas that we accept as given and take for granted. Critique helps us question the world we are given so we can imagine alternative possibilities. The practice of critique also works in fulfillment of the normative ideal of democracy: "democracy" promises that the demos has the power to govern, that the people can and should rule themselves. But meaningful and substantive democracy also requires that we actively practice these critical thinking skills in analyzing the world around us to fulfill the ideals of popular sovereignty in the most robust sense. In this way, political theory moves beyond being purely academic: political theory isn't just something we read, analyze, and study, but also something we do, a critical activity that helps us understand, question, and also work against, some of the powers that shape our lives.


Courses: Spring 2014

Gender and Politics
Intro to Political Theory
American Political Thought

Previous Courses

Introduction to Political Theory, American Political Thought, Modern Political Theory, Contemporary Democratic Theory, Gender Politics, Liberalism and Its Discontents (Senior Capstone Seminar).


Research

 

American Political Thought, Critical Social Theory, Democratic Theory

 


Publications

Books

Another Adorno: Democracy in America. Book manuscript in progress. 

A Political Companion to Marilynne Robinson. Co-edited with Joseph Lane. (University Press of Kentucky, under contract and forthcoming). 

Thoreau's Democratic Withdrawal: Alienation, Participation, and Modernity (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2010) as part of the "Studies in American Thought and Culture" series, edited by Paul Boyer.

Articles

"Adorno on the Radio: Democratic Leadership as Democratic Pedagogy." Forthcoming in Political Theory: An International Journal of Political Philosophy. 

"The Housekeeper of Homelessness: The Democratic Ethos of Marilynne Robinson's Essays and Novels." Article in progress.

"Melville and the Cadaverous Triumphs of Transcendentalism," in A Political Companion to Melville. Jason Frank, ed. (Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 2014). 

"Emerson's Transcendental Gaze and the 'Disagreeable Particulars' of Slavery: Vision and the Costs of Idealism," in A Political Companion to Ralph Waldo Emerson. Alan M. Levine and Daniel S. Malachuk, eds.  (Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky Press, September 2011).  

"Damaged Life as Exuberant Vitality in America: Adorno, Alienation and the Psychic Economy," TELOS, Special Issue: Adorno in America (Winter 2009). You can also click here to read an interview with TELOS regarding this article.

"The Death of the First-born Son:  Emerson's Focal Distancing, Du Bois' Second Sight, and Disruptive Particularity," Political Theory, 37: 3 (June 2009).

"Thoreau, Adorno, and the Critical Potential of Particularity" in A Political Companion to Henry David Thoreau. Jack Turner, ed. (Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 2009). 

Reference Works

"Henry David Thoreau" in The Encyclopedia of Political Thought (Wiley-Blackwell, forthcoming).

"Ralph Waldo Emerson" in The Encyclopedia of Political Thought (Wiley-Blackwell, forthcoming).  

Book Reviews

"Communicating to the Demos," a review of Gerhard Schweppenhaüser's Theodor W. Adorno: an introduction, translated by James Rolleston (Duke University Press, 2009), in Review of Politics, 72:3 (September 2010).
 
"Critique from the Margins: Adorno and the Politics of Withdrawal" in Political Theory, June 2008, Volume 36, No. 3.


Seminars & Presentations

Invited Talks

Accepted an invitation to present my current research on Marilynne Robinson, at Rollins College, on April 16th, 2013. My talk was part of a conceptual lecture series called "The Heist: Community, Identity, and Meaning in the New Millenium," sponsored by the African and African-American Studies program.

 

Accepted an invitation to present a paper drawing from current book manuscript at the Fall Seminar of the Political Science Department at Johns Hopkins University. Presented an essay titled "Adorno on the Radio: Democratic Leadership as Democratic Pedagogy" on October 18th, 2012.

 

Accepted an invitation to chair a panel on Adorno at a graduate student conference, at the University of Chicago, titled "Exile on Main Street: Fascism, Emigration, and the European Imagination in America." Presented a paper titled "Adorno and Democracy in America: Countertendencies, Immanent Critique, and Democratic Pedagogy" at the University of Chicago's Social Theory Workshop. Both events took place on November 10-12, 2011.

 

Accepted an invitation to participate in the American Democracy Forum conference at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, on May 25, 2011. Presented a paper titled "Adorno and Democracy in America: Countertendencies and Democratic Pedagogy."

 

Conferences

 

Western Political Science Association Conference, March 2013, "The Housekeeper of Homelessness: The Democratic Ethos of Marilynne Robinson's Essays and Novels," for panel Othe Democratic Theorists

 

Western Political Science Association Conference, March 2012, "Adorno on Education: Democratic Leadership as Democratic Pedagogy," for panel Cultivating Democratic Citizens: Pedagogy, Policing, and Practice.

 

Western Political Science Association Conference, March 2012, chair and discussant for panel Promise and Loss: Democratic Moments on American Political Life

 

American Political Science Association Conference, September 2011, "Bartleby and Transcendentalism," for panel American Tragedy: The Political Thought of Herman Melville

 

Western Political Science Association, April 2011, "Adorno on the Radio: The Countertendencies of American Democracy," for panel on Adorno and Democracy: Complexity and Contradiction, Possibilities and Potential

 

Western Political Science Association, April 2011, discussant for panel Beyond Deliberation? Justification, Rhetoric, and Political Communication

 

American Political Science Association, September 2010, "Emerson and the Struggle of Transcendental Idealism," for panel on Political Reflection Through Extraordinary Experience.

 

American Political Science Association, September 2010, panel chair for The Problem of 'The People' in American Political Thought

 

American Political Science Association, September 2009, "Emerson's Transcendental America and the 'Disagreeable Particulars' of Slavery: Vision, Politics, and Idealism"

 

Western Political Science Association, March 2008, "Damaged Life as Exuberant Vitality: Adorno, America, and the Sickness of Health"

 

Western Political Science Association, March 2008, panel chair and discussant for Affect and the Sentiments of Politics

 

Western Political Science Association, March 2007, "Thoreau, Adorno, and the Critical Potential of Particularity"

 

New York State Political Science Association, April 2005, "Huckleberrying Toward Democracy: Henry David Thoreau's Alternative Political Space and Practices"

 

New York State Political Science Association, April 2005, panel chair for Political Theory: Challenges in the New Century

 

Cornell University Political Theory Workshop, May 2005, "Henry David Thoreau and the Problem of Alienation"


Honors & Awards

 

Fellowships and Awards

Competitive Faculty Development Grant, from Southwestern University, 2013

Brown Junior Sabbatical, from Southwestern University, Spring 2013

Competitive Faculty Development Grant, from Southwestern University, 2012

Brown Junior Fellowship, from Southwestern University, 2010-2011

Competitive Faculty Development Grant, from Southwestern University, 2011

Competitive Faculty Development Grant, from Southwestern University, 2010

Competitive Faculty Development Grant, from Southwestern University, 2009

Nominated for University Teaching Award, Southwestern University, 2009

Moses Coit Tyler Award 2005, from Cornell University for best essay by a graduate student 

Mellon Fellowship, from Cornell University, 2005-2006

Summer Funding Grant for archival study, Cornell University Government Department, 2005

Sage Fellowship, Cornell University, 2000-2001 

Outstanding Teaching Award, U.T. Austin Government Department, 1999-2000

Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honor Society, inducted May 1999.  

Phi Beta Kappa, inducted May 1999