Glenn Mackin

Associate Professor of Political Science

Chair, Humanities Department




Photo Credit: Gerry Szymanski

Glenn Mackin is the chair of the Humanities department and an Associate Professor of Political Science, with a specialization in political theory. Professor Mackin joined the Eastman faculty in 2007. His teaching and research interests are diverse, including issues in democratic theory, the history of political thought, critical race and gender studies, poverty studies, and the philosophy and politics of humanism.

Professor Mackin’s current research examines the dynamics by which some are interpreted as incapable of participating in social and political life and the means by which people contest such designations. His most recent publications and presentations explore this issue as it operates in recent political controversies in the United states about the provision of social welfare benefits to the poor. His book length manuscript on this subject, currently titled The Politics of Social Welfare in the U.S., is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press. Professor Mackin has also published related articles in Contemporary Political Theory, Critical Review of Social and Political Philosophy, and in Studies in Law, Politics, and Society.

At Eastman, Professor Mackin has developed the curriculum in Political Science, and has taught a variety of courses across several subfields in the discipline. These include Freshman Writing Seminars, which are designed to teach students the basics of college writing, courses about the nature and value of democratic modes of governance, the concept of power, the politics of forgiveness, issues of poverty in the U.S., and the history of political thought. He also worked as a full time adjunct professor at the University of Washington, where he also received his PhD in 2005, and taught courses in the philosophy of logic at Ohio University, where he received awards for his teaching. He also studied at the Cornell School for Criticism and Theory in the summer of 2010.

Works / Publications


The Politics of Social Welfare in America. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013.


“The aporia of practical reason: Some reflections on what it means to pay due respect

to others,” in Contemporary Political Theory (10) 1, (2011), 58-77.

“Aporia, attentiveness, and the politics of social welfare,” in Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy (13) 4, (2010), 517-539.

Communication, Power, and Critique: Toward a Critical Theory of Everyday

Resistance,” in Studies in Law, Politics, and Society, volume 35 (2005), 191-218


*PSC 205 The Ancient Greeks:

Tragedy, Philosophy, and Politics: An examination of the major ideas in Ancient Greek political thought, from the early tragedians to Aristotle. Topics may include the theory and practice of democracy, justice, civil disobedience, conservatism, and the ideas of human inequality. Cross-listed as PHL 205

*PSC 209 Power, Violence, and Virtue:

Themes in early modern political thought: This course examines some of the core themes and concepts in early modern political thought, from Machiavelli to Kant. Topics include the nature and origin of the state, the proper role of state violence, pluralism, the relationship between virtue and politics, and how one should evaluate the legitimacy of a political order. Cross-listed as PHL 209.

*PSC 210 Marx, Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, and Freud:

This course investigates some of the core thinkers in 19th century political thought. Topics may include the idea of historical progress, the role of reason and the “loss of the sacred” in modern life, and the relationship between universal principles (human rights, democracy) and the problematic aspects of modern life (capitalist exploitation, slavery, and colonialism, for instance).

*PSC 220 The Concept of Power:

This course introduces some of the main figures in social theory by way of an investigation of how they conceptualize political power. Readings may include Karl Marx, Max Weber, Hannah Arendt, and Michel Foucault.

*PSC 230 The Politics of Poverty:

This course explores the political conflicts that emerge over the phenomenon of poverty in American politics. Topics include the ways in which the figure of the poor is depicted and contested in political life, the theory and practice of the welfare state, and the various controversies over how to solve the problem of poverty.

*PSC 240 Democratic Theory:

This course investigates some of the key questions democratic practice: what is democracy and why is democracy such a valuable form of social organization? In exploring these questions, we will examine the meaning and value of the concepts of majority rule, the common good, individual rights, the need for homogeneity or diversity, and popular sovereignty. Readings may include Rousseau, Burke, Tocqueville, J.S. Mill, Carl Schmitt, and other more contemporary political thinkers.

*PSC 274 Hannah Arendt

This course studies the life, world, and work of Hannah Arendt (1906-1975), one of the most important political philosophers of the twentieth century, with a special focus on her interpretations of the American, French, and Russian Revolutions, the Second World War, the Holocaust, and the international political, social, and cultural events of 1968. Cross-listed as HIS 274.