Joseph M. Schwartz is Professor and former chair (2000-05) of the Department of Political Science at Temple University. Schwartz teaches courses in the history of political thought; contemporary democratic theory; American political development; race and American politics; and the radical tradition (and its critics) in theory and practice. Schwartz’s teaching and published work focuses on the complex interaction among morality, ideology, and political and institutional development. He believes that political theory should not speak a ghettoized, jargon-laden “private language;” rather, it should inform public intellectual and political deliberation. He is a past recipient of the College of Liberal Arts Distinguished Teaching Award, Temple University’s Lindback Prize for Teaching Excellence, and the CLA Alumni Association Eleanor Hofkin Award for Excellence in Teaching.
His first book, The Permanence of the Political: A Democratic Critique of the Radical Thrust to Transcend Politics (Princeton, 1995) critiques the radical longing for a society that transcends particular identity and the need for politics. The book won the North American Society for Social Philosophy Prize for the best book published in 1995. His second book, The Future of Democratic Equality: Reconstructing Social Solidarity in a Fragmented United States (Routledge, 2009) cautions against a potential new form of radical orthodoxy: that universal forms of identity are repressive and homogenizing, whereas particular identities are inherently emancipatory. The work argues that defenders of a democratic conception of “difference” must not forget that “difference,” if constructed upon a terrain of radical social inequality, yields unjust inequalities in social and political power. The Future of Democratic Equality won the 2011 American Political Science Association’s David Easton Book Prize for the best book published in the last five years “that broadens the horizons of contemporary political science by engaging issues of philosophical significance in political life through any of a variety of approaches in the social sciences and humanities.”
Schwartz has also published numerous scholarly articles on topics ranging from just war theory and the war on terrorism to the challenges neo-liberal globalization poses for egalitarian politics and policy. He also writes in political journals such as In These Times, Jacobin, Dissent and truthout.org. He has received numerous external fellowships to support his research, including a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) fellowship for university teachers to support the writing of his second monograph. An American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) fellowship and a Mellon post-doctorate at Cornell University aided the completion of his first book. He received his PhD in Political Science from Harvard University and received his second B.A. at Oxford University (in Politics, Philosophy and Economics) as a recipient of a Marshall Scholarship. As an undergraduate, he was a Telluride Scholar at Cornell University.