Professor, Politics and Government
Alisa Kessel’s work in political theory reflects her interest in questions about political membership, power, and agency in democratic communities. She has been focused on the concept of “consent,” particularly in the context of rape and other forms of sexual violence, and is working on a project tentatively titled “Refusing Consent.” She is also interested in the concept of “rape culture” and in how cultural narratives about sexual violence perpetuate multiple systems of oppression, including misogyny, white supremacy, and xenophobia. Her other work ranges from theoretical debates about authority, to policy questions about education. An earlier project studied the role of authority, particularly educational authority figures (such as teachers), in the democratic politics of resistance. Articles include: “Un-contented characters: Re-imagining education for democratic practice,” in Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, and published work in Educational Philosophy and Theory. Kessel teaches courses in political theory and political philosophy, ranging from the ancient Greeks to Marx to contemporary democratic theory. In her classes she encourages students to think critically about their political power and freedom and to reflect on the conditions of powerlessness and oppression that persist within their political communities.