Papers

Published:

Making Liberal Use of Kant? Democratic Peace Theory and Perpetual Peace (Forthcoming in International Relations)
The work of Immanuel Kant has been foundational in modern democratic peace theory. His essay Toward Perpetual Peace gives three prescriptions for attaining peace between democracies: republican institutions, a pacific union between states, and an ethos of universal hospitality. Contemporary democratic peace theory, however, has warped the Kantian framework from which it draws inspiration: the third prescription has been gradually substituted for commerce and trade. I argue that this change in emphasis produces tensions between Perpetual Peace and the body of democratic peace theory literature it spawned. Moreover, I contend that a look back to Kant’s essay sheds light on why this transformation occurred. Finally, I use this new look back at Perpetual Peace to reformulate the relationship between peace, democracy, and commerce so as to offer a new perspective on the democratic peace theory/capitalist peace theory debate.
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The Gaya Scienza and the Aesthetic Ethos: Marcuse’s Appropriation of Nietzsche in An Essay on Liberation (Constellations; Vol. 24, No. 3, 2017: 356-371)
In his Essay on Liberation, Marcuse draws on Nietzsche explicitly in his formulation of the gaya scienza, or the aesthetic ethos of liberation. This paper argues that Marcuse’s Essay indeed harbors and utilizes myriad Nietzschean themes, among them the self-undermining logic of modernity, the repressive effects of entrance into society, and the Great Revolt (or Transvaluation of all Values) that may bring about a new mode of human life. Despite these deep continuities, Marcuse’s work also marks a radical break with Nietzsche, mediated by the historical changes between the two thinker’s lifetimes. Among these differences are their opposed attitudes towards suffering, conception of solidarity, articulation of ‘aestheticism’ and attitude on the status of social possibility. Given these overlapping continuities and differences, an Aufhebung of the two thinkers is offered: Marcuse’s socialism and Nietzsche’s individualism are brought together through a conception of self-fashioning that is inextricably bound up in one’s culture. Further, an alternative formulation of solidarity is offered that would both satisfy Marcuse’s socialism and maintain Nietzsche’s perspectivism. Finally, a middle way between Marcuse’s claim that an aesthetic ethos is inevitably political and Nietzsche’s general rejection of the state is articulated by offering a view of socialism and democracy that are qualitatively different from the type of democracy and socialism that Nietzsche critiqued. In the final analysis, this paper seeks to show that Marcuse’s project of aesthetically transcending the oppressive forms of domination embodied in the market is commensurable with Nietzsche’s critique of the middling tendencies of modernity.
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Under Review:

The One Thing Needful: Nietzsche as a Resource for Style in Dialectic of Enlightenment
Despite Adorno and Horkheimer’s conceptual kinship with Nietzsche, Dialectic of Enlightenment mentions Nietzsche only to the extent that it can dismiss his thought as ultimately dangerous, problematic and cruel. In this paper, I seek to demonstrate three things. First, I pay close attention to the characterization of Nietzsche’s work that appears in Dialectic and argue that it presents a reading of Nietzsche that is not only partial, but mistaken. Second, I discuss why such an interpretation is surprising. This includes appraising the conceptual continuities between the two projects as well as looking to the more favorable invocations of Nietzsche in other Frankfurt School texts, including other works by Adorno. Third, I attempt to unearth the shared hope for ‘style’ between the two works that has been obscured by Dialectic’s programmatic presentation of Nietzsche. Ultimately, I draw attention to a dimension of Nietzsche’s stylistic influence on Adorno that is undertheorized: I argue that Nietzsche’s discussion of ‘giving oneself style’ emphasizes a shift in locus of style from art to the individual-as-art that is taken up and exercised by Adorno himself, as well as is implicitly instantiated by the articulation of style in Dialectic’s discussion of the modern culture industry.

Kant’s Theory of ‘Negative’ Peace: an Analysis of the ‘Preliminary Articles’ of Toward Perpetual Peace (with Gary Goertz)
Immanuel Kant’s Toward Perpetual Peace is widely read, especially by liberal peace theory scholars, as well as political theorists in general, in terms of its “Definitive Articles for Perpetual Peace.” The three spheres of moral right articulated by the Definitive Articles are often cited as the basis for a “positive” or “quality” peace amongst nations. However, the Definitive Articles are but a small portion of this influential text. In this paper, we provide the first systematic analysis of an understudied portion of Toward Perpetual Peace: namely, of the “Preliminary Articles for Perpetual Peace.” By looking to the historical circumstances to which Kant was responding, we can see that these articles were meant to secure what one might call “high quality negative peace:” a relatively stable lack of conflict, which makes possible the substantive “positive” or “quality” peace for which Toward Perpetual Peace is most widely known. In addition, our analysis illuminates how the norms enshrined in the Preliminary Articles are still central to peace today.

In Preparation for Submission:

Performative Partisanship: Investigating Political Partisanship in the Transgender Community (with Hannah Wilson and Meyer Levy)
How do non-traditional conceptions of gender impact gendered theories of political behavior? This paper draws insights from critical feminist theory as well as the extant gender and politics literature to inform our empirical evaluations of transgender political behavior. We focus here on the determinants of partisan identity in the transgender community. We first explore the effect of gender transition on political partisanship using propensity score matching to investigate the broad partisan differences between cisgender and genderqueer individuals. Then, to better explore gender’s role in political behavior, we estimate models evaluating two competing hypotheses: that partisanship among transgender individuals is either performative where transgender-men are more Republican than trans-women or determined by childhood socialization where transgender-men are more Democratic than trans-women. Further, given the politicized identity of this population, we also model the effects of group consciousness on partisanship. Overall, transgender individuals appear more Democratic than their cisgender counterparts. Specifically, we find that transgender women are much more likely to affiliate with the Republican Party than are transgender men, and that proximity to the transgender community predicts identification with Democratic-leaning Independents. This suggests that socialization is the primary driving force in transgender political affiliation.