Political Theory

Major political problems such as the nature of power or justice raise questions not just about political institutions and organization but also questions of political values and ideals. What principles and standards are embodied in political institutions and practices? Oriented towards these kinds of normative questions, political theory is the study of political concepts, discourses, and ideas. Drawing on a variety of philosophical, historical, and interdisciplinary approaches, political theorists explain, interpret, and evaluate those assumptions that undergird political life but are not immediately discernible. At the University of Minnesota, we understand political theory to be a critical practice, grounded in the history and traditions of political thought but with a view and commitment to an understanding of the political present. Among the research interests shared by our faculty are questions of power, violence, citizenship, care, ethics, gender, race, and colonialism. More detailed research narratives can be found on the webpages of individual faculty members. In addition, the Political Theory Colloquium at Minnesota offers a lively, interdisciplinary forum for the presentation of work by outside speakers, Minnesota faculty, and graduate students.