Dr. James Read
Professor of Political Science with the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University since 1988. A.B., University of Chicago, 1980; M.A., Harvard University, 1983; Ph.D, 1988. He was the Joseph P. Farry Professor of Public Policy at CSB/SJU, and has been Visiting Professor of Political Science at University of California-Davis. Dr. Read is the author of Majority Rule versus Consensus: The Political Thought of John C. Calhoun (University Press of Kansas, 2009), Power versus Liberty: Madison, Hamilton, Wilson, and Jefferson (University of Virginia Press, 2000) and Doorstep Democracy: Face to Face Politics in the Heartland (University of Minnesota Press, 2008).
Office: SJU, Simons 116
Fall 2020 Courses
INTG 200 - Learning Explorations
ETHS 390 - Ethics
Spring 2021 Courses
POLS 313 - 20th Century Contemporary Politcal Thought - C3 Block
We will focus on two different ways in which questions of justice and injustice arise in the modern world: on matters of distribution; and on matters of recognition. We will also examine the ethical choices we face on in this respect as citizens, voters, consumers, and members of a community. If the market produces great inequalities of wealth and political power, should those inequalities be limited through redistributive taxation, or left alone? Do laws restricting certain market transactions between consenting parties (like prostitution and surrogate pregnancy) prevent injustice? Or do they worsen it? Should we ban and/or boycott goods produced by child labor in impoverished countries? These questions involve ethical choice with respect to economic distribution and the operations of the market, and we face them every time we vote, or debate about tax policy, or purchase clothing. They also involve arguments about whether and in what way justice requires recognition of someone’s ethnic, racial, sexual, religious, or national identity. Advocates of same-sex marriage rights, for example, do not seek a redistribution of wealth but instead changes in the way their fellow citizens talk about, think about, and publicly recognize same-sex relationships. When Muslim women and girls wear veils or head scarves in public places, is this an affirmation of religious freedom and cultural heritage, or a badge of women’s oppression? Does celebrating one’s own ethnic or national identify necessarily involve denigrating or ignoring the identity of another group or nation? Identity politics can become especially fierce when each group perceives the other’s identity as a threat to its own. Arguments against child labor, for example, target not only low wages and poverty, but also the harmful ways in which the practice damages a developing child’s sense of personal identity and social status. Whether employers offer an employee’s same-sex partner the same health care and retirement benefits that it offers other married employees involves questions of both distribution and recognition. Prerequisite: 221, equivalent, or consent of instructor.
CV attached here.
Awards and Fellowships:
2010 Wilson Cary McWilliams award from the American Political Science Association for best paper in the Literature, Politics, and Film section presented at 2009 APSA national meeting. Paper title: "The Limits of Self-Reliance: Emerson, Slavery, and Abolition."
Joseph P. Farry Professorship in Public Policy and Civic Engagement for 2009-2012, College of St. Benedict and St. John's University.
Highlights of Recent Publications by Dr. James Read
Majority Rule versus Consensus: The Political Thought of John C. Calhoun. University Press of Kansas, 2009.
Doorstep Democracy: Face to Face Politics in the Heartland. University of Minnesota Press, 2008.
Power versus Liberty: Madison, Hamilton, Wilson and Jefferson. University of Virginia Press, 2000.
Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles:
"Transforming Power Relations: Leadership, Risk, and Hope." With Ian Shapiro. Accepted for publication in the American Political Science Review. Publication date forthcoming.
"Living, Dead, and Undead: Nullification Past and Present." With Neal Allen. American Political Thought, Vol. 1, No. 2 (Fall 2012), 263-297.
"Is Power Zero-Sum or Variable-Sum? Old Arguments and New Beginnings." Journal of Political Power, Vol. 5 No. 1 (March 2012), 5-31.
"Leadership and Power in Nelson Mandela's Long Walk to Freedom." Journal of Power, Volume 3, No. 3 (December 2010).
"Bridging the Communal Abyss: Risk-Assuming Leadership and Democratic Settlements." With Ian Shapiro. Forthcoming in volume on democratic leadership edited by John Kane and Haig Patapan, to be published by Oxford University Press.
"Bridging the Communal Abyss: Risk-Assuming Leadership and Democratic Settlements." With Ian Shapiro. To be translated into Norwegian, forthcoming in a volume on Democracy, Regimes, and Power, edited by Knut Heidar and Dag Harald, to be published by Universitetsforlaget, a leading academic press in Norway.
"James Madison's Retirement, 1817-1836: Engaging the Republican Past, Present, and Future." In Stuart Leibiger, ed., A Companion to James Madison and James Monroe (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012) 224-240. More information here.
Review of George Anastaplo, Reflections on Slavery and the Constitution. Forthcoming in Review of Politics, Vol. 75, No. 3 (2013).
Review of Michael P. Federici, The Political Philosophy of Alexander Hamilton. Forthcoming in Political Science Quarterly.
Review of Kevin R.C. Gutzman, James Madison and the Making of America. Liberty Law Blog, April 30, 2012.
Conference Presentations and Invited Talks (2012-2013):
"Transforming Power Relations: Leadership, Risk, and Hope." With Ian Shapiro. Presented to the Symposium on Good Democratic Leadership, Yale University, February 15-17, 2013.
"The Only True Sovereign of a Free People? Lincoln and Majority Rule." Presented to Lecture Series, "The Past, the Present, and the Future of the American Founding," Utah State University, April 15, 2013.
"Lincoln and Majority Rule." Presented to the Constitution Day Celebration, James Madison College, Michigan State University, September 27, 2012.
"Same-Sex Marriage as a Constitutional Issue." Presentation for Constitution Day, College of St. Benedict and St. John's University; Part I of the panel series "Examining the Proposed Minnesota Marriage Amendment." September 18, 2012.
"Transforming Power Relations: Leadership, Risk, and Hope." With Ian Shapiro. To be presented to the 2013 American Political Science Association, Chicago, Aug. 29-Sept. 1.
"Democracy, Conflict, and Collective Empowerment." Presented to the International Political Science Association, Madrid, Spain, July 8-12, 2012.
"The Only True Sovereign of a Free People? Lincoln and Majority Rule." To be presented to the 2013 American Political Science Association, Chicago, Aug. 29-Sept. 1.