Joseph M. Schwartz is Professor of Political Science at Temple University. Schwartz chaired the department from 2000-2005. He teaches courses in the history of political thought, contemporary democratic theory, American political development, race and American politics, and the radical tradition (and its critics) in theory and practice. Schwartz’s teaching and published work focuses on the complex interaction among morality, ideology, and political and institutional development. He believes that political theory should not speak a ghettoized, jargon-laden “private language;” rather, it should inform public intellectual and political deliberation. He is a past recipient of the College of Liberal Arts Distinguished Teaching Award, Temple University’s Lindback Prize for Teaching Excellence, and the Temple University College of Liberal Arts Alumni Association Eleanor Hofkin Award for Excellence in Teaching. His first book, The Permanence of the Political: A Democratic Critique of the Radical Thrust to Transcend Politics (Princeton, 1995) critiques the radical longing for a society that transcends particular identity and the need for politics. The book won the North American Society for Social Philosophy Prize for the best book published in 1995.

His second book, The Future of Democratic Equality: Reconstructing Social Solidarity in a Fragmented United States (Routledge 2009) cautions against a potential new form of radical orthodoxy: that universal forms of identity are repressive and homogenizing, whereas particular identities are inherently emancipatory. The work argues that defenders of a democratic conception of “difference” must not forget that “difference,” if constructed upon a terrain of radical social inequality, yields unjust inequalities in social and political power. Schwartz has also published numerous scholarly articles on topics ranging from just war theory and the war on terrorism to the challenges neo-liberal globalization poses for egalitarian politics and policy. He is currently working on a book on American exceptionalism, which argues that the development of the American socialist movement was hampered by it being one of the few not to be associated with a form of democratic patriotism. He has received numerous external fellowships to support his research, including a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) fellowship for university teachers to support the writing of The Future of Democratic Equality. 

An American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) fellowship and a Mellon post-doctorate at Cornell University aided the completion of his first book, The Permanence of the Political. Schwartz received his PhD in Political Science from Harvard University and received his second BA at Oxford University (in Politics, Philosophy and Economics) as a recipient of a Marshall Scholarship.  As an undergraduate, he was a Telluride Scholar at Cornell University. Schwartz, beginning in high school with the anti-Vietnam War movement, has long been active on the democratic left, from the anti-apartheid movement in the 1970s and 1980s to the fight for a single-payer national health care system. He contributes to popular publications such as Dissent and In These Times. Schwartz serves as a Vice-Chair of the Democratic Socialists of America and is a member of its National Political Committee. (DSA, founded by the late social critic Michael Harrington, is the largest socialist organization in the United States. Cornel West and Barbara Ehrenreich are among its Honorary Chairs.) Schwartz takes a particular interest in the work of students who are both trying to comprehend society and working to create a more just world. Schwartz is the parent of Michael Migiel-Schwartz. Having parented his son in Ithaca New York, Schwartz still resides there May-August. He is an expert on the social geography of the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and occasionally unintentionally kills deer without firing a shot (i.e, his car does the deed!). Born and bred in the Bronx, he is an inveterate Yankees fan – but he roots for “the workers,” not for owners!


Selected Publications