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Publications in VIVO

Ferguson, Michaele L.

Associate Professor


Research Areas research areas


research overview

  • Ferguson’s research interests engage two broad areas of political theory: democratic and feminist theory. Her contributions to democratic theory aim at the development of a post-foundationalist account of democracy. Post-foundationalists theorize democracy in the absence of guarantees that historically have grounded democratic politics: an appeal to God, to reason, or to human nature. Each of these foundations has been discredited in modern times. While many contemporary democratic theorists search for new sources of stability, post-foundationalists accept the instability of foundations as the condition of politics. Ferguson’s contributions to feminist theory focus on reflections on feminism as a social movement that has only partially transformed gendered power relations in the U.S. and around the world. She analyzes how feminist ideas have successfully pervaded political discourse, why they have been successful, and why despite this success, gender equality remains elusive.


  • political theory, democratic theory, feminist theory, postfoundationalist theory, the politics of rhetoric, neoliberalism, contemporary U.S. politics, multiculturalism, feminist politics, women's rights, sexuality, queer theory, critical theory, race theory, meditation and politics


selected publications


courses taught

  • FYSM 1000 - First Year Seminar
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2018
    Provide first year students with an immersive experience in an interdisciplinary topic that addresses current issues including social, technical and global topics. Taught by faculty from across campus, the course provides students with an opportunity to interact in small classes, have project based learning experiences and gain valuable communication skills. Seminar style classes focused on discussion and projects.
  • FYSM 1200 - First Year Seminar Global Experience
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2019
    Offers a first year seminar experience with an international education component. This course consists of a first year seminar taught during the semester, plus a mandatory 1-week trip abroad. Seminar topics and international destinations vary for different sections of this course and not all topics are offered every semester. Additional fees may be required for participation in ths course. Please consult the First Year Seminar Program and International Education for information on topics, destinations, requirements, schedules, fees and other details.
  • PSCI 2004 - Survey of Western Political Thought
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018 / Spring 2019 / Spring 2020 / Spring 2022 / Fall 2022
    Studies main political philosophies and political issues of Western culture, from antiquity to 20th century.
  • PSCI 3174 - Sex, Power, and Politics: U.S. Perspectives
    Primary Instructor - Summer 2020
    Explores how norms of sex, gender, race and sexuality find expression in institutions and policies in ways that legitimize only certain individuals as political actors, certain identities as politically relevant, and certain relationships as important. Critically examines how norms may be exposed, resisted, and changed by studying the politics of the women's, gay liberation, and men's movements in the U.S. Recommended prerequisite: PSCI 2004 or WGST 2000 or LGBT 2000. Same as WGST 3174.
  • PSCI 4028 - Special Topics
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2021 / Summer 2022
    Offers subjects not covered by existing courses. Offered when the department approves a special topic. May be repeated up to 12 total credit hours for different topics.
  • PSCI 4714 - Liberalism and Its Critics
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2022
    Examines contemporary arguments for and against liberalism. Focuses on the analysis, evaluation, and understanding of the philosophical contributions to this debate. Gives special attention to the concepts of justice, freedom, equality, and individualism. Recommended prerequisite: PSCI 2004.
  • PSCI 7024 - Seminar: Selected Political Theories
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2020
    Familiarizes students with selected political philosophies or theories in classical or modern political thought. May be repeated up to 12 total credit hours for different topics.
  • PSCI 7114 - Survey of Historical and Contemporary Political Theory
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2021
    Examines major texts of Western political thought from the ancients through the 21st century. Introduces students to major schools of contemporary political theory, while situating these in their larger political context. Professionalizes students through presentations and research projects. Texts vary each semester. May be repeated up to 6 total credit hours. Recommended requisite: some previous coursework in political theory or philosophy.
  • PSCI 7124 - Contemporary Democratic Theory
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2018 / Spring 2023
    Surveys major schools of contemporary democratic theory and introduces students to current scholarly debates about democracy and democratic politics. Professionalizes students through class presentations and research projects. Specific controversies and texts vary each semester. Recommended requisite: some previous coursework in political theory or philosophy.


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