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Department of Political Science Launches Political Theory Search

August 6, 2018

The Department of Political Science in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities invites applications for two full-time, tenure-track faculty positions in Political Theory beginning fall semester 2019 (08/26/19).  We seek outstanding colleagues committed to scholarly research and teaching at the highest level, and we especially welcome applications from underrepresented groups.

We seek candidates who are deeply conversant in the history of Western political theory, and can teach courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels that draw upon this canon. 

Further, we seek candidates who will advance the substantive commitment of the department’s strategic plan, to investigate “democracy under threat” across its multiple dimensions:

In the U.S. and abroad, democracy is facing a wave of challenges, not merely to its democratic institutions, but even more fundamentally to the very idea of democracy.  This has led to a global crisis that operates on two levels.  In the first order problem, we observe a series of interrelated pressures to democratic governance as we have known it: environmental degradation, mass expulsions and migrations, deepening material inequalities, and the rise of authoritarian militarism. These are empirical questions that demand an analysis of political dynamics in comparative contexts.  However, as citizens try to make sense of these crises, they are increasingly turning away from liberal-democracy as their primary language of articulation.  Instead, they are reaching for new languages and belief systems, including fascism and authoritarian populism. This has generated a second-order problem.  For many people, liberal-democracy is understood as the cause of, rather than solution to, the first order crises.  This demands normative analysis.

To understand these issues on both levels of analysis, we require scholarship that can link research into the first-order empirical causes of these issues with their broader, second-order significance.  Grappling with “Democracy under Threat” is therefore both an exercise in explaining contemporary threats to democratic institutions while simultaneously exploring how people search for normative meaning as the ground shifts beneath their feet. Comparative Politics is strongest at grappling with these empirical phenomena; understanding their emergence and development is inherently a comparative exercise.  As a subfield, Political Theory is conceptually agile, and so able to get in front of unprecedented, structural shifts in how we think and act in a new world.  Together, we can innovate exciting ways to use normative questions to open up new fields of empirical inquiry.  By drawing on the intellectual strengths of both fields, we hope to place the department at the forefront of graduate programs in the country.

We are most interested in work that, in a sustained manner, draws upon global historical knowledge to understand contemporary threats to democracy (such as resurgent authoritarianism, legitimation crises of contemporary liberal democratic institutions, crises of political economy and/or late capitalism, racialized politics and inequalities, etc.).  Such candidates will also be committed to addressing issues of political theory as they present themselves as problems that arise in contemporary global settings.  Scholars using approaches such as feminist theory, queer theory, critical race theory, and/or who focus on such issues as justice and injustice, inequality, or global migration are of special interest.

We also seek candidates who share the department’s ongoing commitment to study the intersection of power, equity, and diversity and its effect on social science inquiry.  Finally, we value candidates who actively place their research in dialogue with other subfields in political science, the social sciences and humanities, and with the broader university community and public. 

Appointments will be 100% time over the nine-month academic year (late-August to late-May), and will be made at the rank of tenure-track assistant professor, consistent with collegiate and university policy.  Salary is competitive, and dependent on qualifications and experience. 

Apply online through the University of Minnesota’s Job Center:

  • Job Opening ID: 325614
  • Job Posting Title: Assistant Professor (Political Science: Political Theory)
  • Job Code: 9403
  • Jobs Posted Within: Last Three Months (or greater)
  • Keyword(s): Political Science

Applications must be submitted online.  To be considered for this position, please click the APPLY button and follow the instructions.  You will have the opportunity to complete an online application for the position, and attach a cover letter and C.V.  Additional documents must be attached to your “My Activities” page, and can be attached after submission of the application by exiting and re-entering the Job Center, accessing your "My Activities" page (in the top list of hyperlinks), and uploading documents there.

Applications will be reviewed beginning October 1st, 2018.  However, applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

For questions about the position, please contact the Department of Political Science, at (612) 624-4144.

For questions about the application process, or to request an accommodation during the application process, please e-mail employ@umn.edu or call (612) 624-UOHR (8647).

Complete information about the position is available with the job posting, including required materials for the application.