Michael James

Michael James

Professor of Political Science
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About Michael James

Associate Dean of Faculty, Division of Social Sciences

Professor James holds a Ph.D. from Duke University and an A.B. from Georgetown University. He joined the Department of Political Science in 1999 and was awarded tenure in 2005. He has a wealth of experience serving on several important university committees which has allowed him to develop leadership and organizational skills that will be helpful as he joins the Dean's Office team. His administrative positions have included serving as Chair of the Department of Political Science (2014-17) and as Coordinator of the Legal Studies Program (2010-2014).

Professor James is an active university citizen; he has chaired the Committee on Instruction (2010-2011), Co-Chaired the Ad hoc Committee on Course Credit (2009-2010), as well as chairing the Committee on Admissions and Financial Aid (2012-2013). He has also served as a member of Faculty Council (2015-2017) and was an inaugural member of the President's Diversity Council. In addition, he has served at various times on the Advisory Board for the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender, the College of Arts & Sciences Curriculum Committee, the Committee on International Education, and as a Senior Fellow in the Social Justice College. He was the co-coordinator of the 2012-13 Social Sciences Colloquium on mass incarceration.

Professor James is a theorist who studies contemporary democratic theory, theories of political representation, theories of immigration, and the philosophy of race. In his book Deliberative Democracy and the Plural Polity, he articulates how the fair inclusion of racial and ethnic minorities within democratic polities requires not just electing more women and racial minorities, but also envisioning and constructing processes, institutions, and inter-personal norms that allow individuals to understand each other across the identity barriers that divide them. This book was nominated for several prizes including the Ralph J. Bunche Award and the Giovanni Sartori Award. He is an active scholar publishing in journals such as the Political Research Quarterly, The Journal of Politics, Polity, and European Journal of Political Theory. He is actively working on his next manuscript.

Professor James has consistently taught courses on the political theory of racial, ethnic, and cultural pluralism, many of which have counted toward the Diversity in the United States requirement of the College Core Curriculum. He has taught both writing intensive courses and a Foundation Seminar.

Professor James brings to the associate dean's position his thoughtful and thorough approach to issues, his ability to build consensus and work across disciplines, and a true conviction to help his colleagues succeed.

Selected Publications


Deliberative Democracy and the Plural Polity University Press of Kansas, 2004
* Reviewed in Argument and Advocacy, Perspectives on Politics, Political Studies Review, and the Foundations of Political Thought Website (www.politicaltheory.org)
* Nominated for the First Book Award, the Ralph J. Bunche Award, the Giovanni Sartori Award, the Elaine & David Spitz Award, and the Grawemeyer Prize


“Can the Right to Internal Movement, Residence, and Employment Ground the Right to Immigrate?” Ethics and Global Politics, Volume 12, Number 2 (2019)

"Constituency Deliberation" Political Research Quarterly, Volume 68, Number 3 (September, 2015)

"Two Concepts of Constituency" The Journal of Politics, Volume 77, Number 2 (April, 2015)

"The Political Ontology of Race" Polity, Volume 44, Number 1 (January, 2012)

"The Priority of Racial Constituency over Descriptive Representation" The Journal of Politics, Volume 73, Number 3 (July, 2011)

"Communicative Action, Strategic Action, and Inter-Group Dialogue" European Journal of Political Theory, Volume 2, Issue 2 (2003)

"Tribal Sovereignty and the Intercultural Public Sphere" Philosophy and Social Criticism, Volume 25, Number 5 (September, 1999)

"Critical Intercultural Dialogue" Polity, Volume 31, Number 4 (Summer, 1999)


"Race" Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (May, 2008; Updated 2011; 2016)

"Descriptive Representation in the British Columbia Citizens Assembly" Designing Democratic Renewal, ed. Mark Warren and Hilary Pearse, Cambridge Univ. Press, 2008

"Diversity, Deliberation, and the Concepts of Constituency" Polity, Volume 40, Number 2 (April 2008) (Part of a symposium on Andrew Rehfeld's The Concept of Constituency)

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