Department of Political Science

Michael J. Thompson

Office:   Raubinger 437
Phone:   973-720-3874
Office Hours:   Fall 2014: Mondays and Wednesdays, 12-12:30 p.m., Tuesdays 4:00-6:00 p.m.

Department: Political Science
Position: Associate Professor
Area Specialization: political philosophy, social theory, critical theory, moral philosophy, ethics, political psychology

ThompsonMichael J. Thompson is Associate Professor of Political Science at William Paterson University where he offers classes in political theory and philosophy, political sociology, political psychology, and history of political thought. He received his B.A. in Languages and Literature from Rutgers University and his Ph.D. in Political Science at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York. His areas of research are in political and social theory, moral philosophy, political psychology, Critical Theory, German Idealism, Classical political thought, and Western Marxism.

He is currently working on a reconstruction of Critical Theory and a philosophy of social justice. He is also the Founder and Executive Editor of Logos: A Journal of Modern Society & Culture (

Fall 2013 Courses:

  • Seminar: Politics and Psychology
  • Ancient and Medieval Political Philosophy 

Recent Course Offerings:

  • Political Psychology
  • Theories of Justice
  • Ancient and Medieval Political Philosophy
  • Modern Political Theory
  • Hegel
  • Power, Justice, and Freedom

Recent Publications (selected):


  • The Perversion of Subjectivity: Studies in the Critical Theory of Consciousness (in progress)
  • In Defense of Critical Theory (in progress)
  • Constructing Marxist Ethics: Critique, Normativity, Praxis (forthcoming, Brill)
  • The Betrayal of Politics: Radical Intellectuals and the Subversion of Progressive Politics (co-edited with Greg Zucker) Palgrave, forthcoming.
  • The Republican Reinvention of Radicalism (Columbia University Press, in progress)
    • The Politics of Inequality: A Political History of the Idea of Economic Inequality in America (Columbia University Press, 2007)
    • Georg Lukács Reconsidered: Essays in Politics, Philosophy, and Aesthetics, ed. (Continuum, 2011)
    • Rational Radicalism and Political Theory: Essays in Honor of Stephen Eric Bronner, ed. (Lexington Books, 2010)
    • Fleeing the City: Studies in the Culture and Politics of Antiurbanism, ed. (Palgrave, 2009)
    • Confronting the New Conservatism: The Rise of the Right in America, ed. (NYU Press, 2007)
    • Islam and the West: Critical Perspectives on Modernity, ed. (Rowman and Littlefield, 2003)

    Essays in Edited Volumes (selected):

    • "Hannah Arendt and the Demise of Political Judgment." In M. Thompson and G. Zucker (eds.) The Betrayal of Politics: Radical Intellectuals and the Subversion of Progressive Politics. (forthcoming, Palgrave)
    • "The Objectivity of Ethical Value: Toward a Program of Philosophical Justification." In M. Thompson (ed.) Constructing Marxist Ethics: Critique, Normativity, Praxis. (forthcoming, Brill)
    • "Spatial Structure and the Pathologies of Public Reason: Toward a Critical Theory of Space." In James Glass and Diana Boros (eds.) Theorizing Public Space: The Frankfurt School and Beyond (forthcoming, Palgrave)
    • "Normative Humanism as Redemptive Critique: Knowledge and Judgment in Erich Fromm's Social Theory," in Seyed Mihri, Robert Lake, and Tricia Kress (eds.) Reclaiming the Sane Society: Essays on Erich Fromm's Thought. (forthcoming, Rotterdam: Sense Publishers)
    • "Capitalism as Deficient Modernity: Hegel against the Modern Economy," in Andrew Buchwalter (ed.) Hegel and Capitalism (forthcoming, SUNY Press)
    • “Why We Have Ethical Obligations to Animals: Animal Welfare and the Common Good,” in Gregory R. Zucker (ed.) Strangers to Nature: New Perspectives in Animal Ethics (Lexington, 2012)
    • “Ontology and Totality: Reconstructing Lukács’ Concept of Critical Theory,” in M. Thompson (ed.) George Lukács Reconsidered: Essays on Politics, Philosophy and Aesthetics. (Continuum, 2011)
    • “Deconstructing Israeli Democracy: On the Cultural Prerequisites of Political Modernity.” in Daanish Faruqi (ed.) From Camp David to Cast Lead. (Lexington Books, 2011)
    • “After Religion: Progressive Politics and the Ethics of Modernity,” in Ben Pauli (ed.) Radical Religion: Contemporary Perspectives on Religion and the Left. Lexington Books, 2010
    • “Sketching a More Progressive Public Philosophy: The Theory of Republican Modernity,” in Mark Major (ed.) Where Do We Go From Here? American Democracy and the Renewal of the Radical Imagination. Lexington Books, 2010
    • “Marxism, Ethics, and the Task of Critical Theory, ” in M. Thompson (ed.) Rational Radicalism and Political Theory: Essays in Honor of Stephen Eric Bronner Lexington Books, 2010

    Recent Refereed Papers (selected)

    Recent Reviews and Short Articles (selected):

    • Review: "Liberty and Property, by Ellen Meiksins Wood," in Perspectives on Politics (forthcoming, 2014)
    • Review: “Das Ich im Wir. Studien zur Anerkennungstheorie by Axel Honneth,” Historical Materialism (forthcoming, 2012)
    • Review: “The Time of the City: Politics, Philosophy, and Genre by Michael J. Shapiro,” Perspectives on Politics, vol. 9, no. 2 (2011): 434-435
    • “Democracy, Public Reason, and Suburban Life,” Mudot: Magazine for Urban Documentation, Opinion, and Theory (summer 2009) 
    • Review: “The Theory of Social Democracy by Thomas Meyer” Democratiya (spring, 2009) 
    • Review: “Bonds of Affection: Civic Charity and the Making of America -- Winthrop, Jefferson, and Lincoln by Matthew S. Holland,” Perspectives on Politics, vol. 6, no. 3 (2008) 
    • “Islam and the Problem of Modernity,” in Islam: Portability and Exportability, Samy Swayd (ed.) UCLA Near Eastern Studies Paper Series (2007) 
    • “The Suburban Assault on Democratic Life,” The Urban Reinventors (fall, 2007) 
    • “What is Antiurbanism?” Monu: International Magazine on Urbanism (fall, 2007) 
    • Review: “Democracy and America’s War on Terror, by Richard Ivie and In the Name of Terrorism: Presidents on Political Violence in the Post-World War II Era, by Carol Winker,” Perspectives on Politics. vol. 4, no. 3 (2006) “A Rejoinder to Alex Schafran” in Monu: International Magazine on Urbanism, (summer, 2006)
    • “What’s the Matter with Capitalism?” Logos: A Journal of Modern Society & Culture (winter 2006) 
    • Review: “A Brief History of Neoliberalism by David Harvey” Democratiya (winter, 2006)                    
    • “How Suburbs Destroy Democracy,” Monu: International Magazine on Urbanism (winter, 2006)
    • Review: “Foucault and the Iranian Revolution by Janet Afary and Kevin B. Anderson,” Democratiya (fall, 2005)


    Working Papers:

    • “Spatial Structure and Social Consciousness: Toward a Critical Theory of Space.” 
    • “Critical Theory, the Critique of Enlightenment Reason, and the Problem of Freedom."
    • “Abstract Ethics, Empty Politics: A Critique of Critchley’s Ethical and Political Theory."
    • “Do Moral Statements Have Cognitive Content? A Critique of Habermas."
    • “From Toleration to Cosmpolitanism: Toward a Paradigm of Strong Inclusion.” 
    • “The Ethical Structure of Marxism as the Normative Groundwork of Critical Theory.”
    • “An Alternative Enlightenment: Neo-Hellenism in Early Nineteenth-Century German Thought.”