Keegan Callanan

Assistant Professor of Political Science

 work(802) 443-5374
 MW 4:00-5:30 PM
 Munroe Hall 212

Keegan Callanan has teaching responsibilities in the history of political philosophy and contemporary political theory.  He is author of Montesquieu's Liberalism and the Problem of Universal Politics (Cambridge, 2018) and co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to Montesquieu (under contract, Cambridge).  A graduate of Bowdoin College, Mr. Callanan received his MA and PhD from Duke University.  He has held visiting fellowships at Princeton University and the University of Virginia and has served as a member of the Executive Council of the New England Political Science Association.  



Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

FYSE 1427 - American Political Tradition      

The American Political Tradition
In this seminar we will study the theoretical ideas that informed the creation and development of America’s political system and consider some of the major contemporary challenges to American democracy. Topics to be treated include the political thought of the American Founders, the place of religion in public life, the nature of written constitutions, American political culture, race in American politics, and the role of America in the world. Readings will include selections from the Federalist Papers, Alexis de Tocqueville, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, John Dewey, Theodore Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, Jr., George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and many other primary source documents. 3 hrs. sem. AMR CW HIS

Fall 2014, Fall 2018

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PSCI 0101 - Intro to Political Philosophy      

Introduction to Political Philosophy
What is politics? What is the purpose of politics? Is there a best regime? Is it attainable? What is justice? What is the good life? How is each related to political life? Is there a science of politics? In this course, we will raise these and other fundamental questions through a study of major ancient and modern works of political philosophy. Authors may include Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Montesquieu, Rousseau, Constant, Tocqueville, Mill, Marx, and Nietzsche. 4 hrs. lect./disc. (Political Theory) EUR PHL SOC

Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2019

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PSCI 0204 - Left, Right, and Center      

Left, Right, and Center
In this course, we shall examine liberalism, conservatism, socialism and their competing conceptions of freedom, equality, the individual, and community. We shall consider the origins of these ideologies in early modern political theory and shall afford special attention to the connection between thought and politics. Authors may include John Locke, Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, Alexis de Tocqueville, Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, John Rawls, Michel Foucault, Michael Oakeshott, and Friedrich Hayek. 3 hrs. lect. (Political Theory) EUR PHL SOC

Spring 2017, Spring 2019

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PSCI 0234 - Religion and Politics      

Religion & Politics: Ancient & Modern
What role should religion play in politics? And what is the proper role of the state in regulating religion? Is religious conviction a precondition of or threat to healthy civic life? Why should regimes prefer religious toleration to religious uniformity? In this course we will examine these and other questions at the intersection of religion and politics in the western political tradition, affording special attention to early modern debates over the separation of church and state, toleration, and civil religion. Authors will include Plato, Emperor Julian, Augustine, Machiavelli, Luther, Calvin, Bayle, Hobbes, Locke, Montesquieu, Rousseau, Lessing, and Tocqueville. (Political Theory)/ EUR PHL SOC

Fall 2014, Fall 2018

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PSCI 0262 - Might and Right Among Nations      

Might and Right Among Nations
What role does justice play in international politics? What role should it play? Does it pay to act justly in the conduct of foreign affairs? In this course, we will examine the place of ethical considerations in international politics. Drawing upon major works of political theory, we will pay special attention to the relationship between justice and necessity, the ethics of war and deception, and plans for perpetual peace. Authors will include Thucydides, Cicero, Augustine, Aquinas, Machiavelli, Rousseau, Montesquieu, Kant, Weber, Woodrow Wilson, and Michael Walzer. 3 hrs. lect. (Political Theory) EUR PHL

Fall 2016

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PSCI 0410 - Statesmanship & Modern Liberty      

Statesmanship and Modern Liberty: Montesquieu and Tocqueville
Montesquieu's Spirit of the Laws and Tocqueville's Democracy in America offer profound treatments of modern representative government, its promise, and its perils. In this course we will focus on each author's understanding of the often neglected role of statesmanship in shaping political and cultural conditions favorable to the emergence and preservation of human liberty in the modern world. We will consider key themes such as the relationship between liberty and equality, the role of the passions in politics, the meaning of despotism, the relationship between culture and politics, and the promise and dangers of modern commerce for liberal democracy. (Political Theory)/ EUR PHL SOC

Spring 2016

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PSCI 0435 - Contemporary Political Theory      

PSCI 0435 Contemporary Political Theory (Spring 2017)In this seminar, we will study problems and debates in American and European political theory from 1945 to the present. Students will explore a broad range of topics, including the revival of political philosophy, positivism, relativism, rationalism, totalitarianism, contemporary liberal theory, communitarianism, conservatism, multiculturalism, and postmodernism. We will study major works by some of the 20th century’s most influential political thinkers. Authors may include Hannah Arendt, Michael Oakeshott, Leo Strauss, Isaiah Berlin, Eric Voegelin, John Rawls, Michael Sandel, Iris Marion Young, Michael Walzer, Will Kymlicka, Richard Rorty, and Michel Foucault. (One course in Political Theory or one course in Philosophy) (Not open to students who have taken PSCI 1035) 3 hrs. sem. (Political Theory)/ EUR PHL SOC

Spring 2017

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PSCI 0462 - Empire and Political Theory      

Empire and Political Theory
In this course, we will examine empire as an idea and a political form. Drawing upon works by major political theorists, we will pose a range of questions raised by the phenomenon of empire. What is empire? Why does it arise? Does it find root in some element of human nature or the nature of political communities? Can empire be justified? Can democratic and liberal regimes be imperialistic? If so, are they inherently so? What about the US or the EU? Authors will include Herodotus, Plutarch, Machiavelli, Montesquieu, Vitoria, Locke, Burke, Mill, Tocqueville, and Hobson. (PSCI 0101 or PSCI 0107) 3 hrs. sem. (Political Theory) EUR HIS PHL

Spring 2015

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PSCI 0500 - Independent Project      

Independent Projects
A program of independent work designed to meet the individual needs of advanced students. (Approval required)

Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019

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PSCI 0700 - Honors Thesis      

Honors Thesis
(Approval required)

Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019

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The Cambridge Companion to Montesquieu, ed., with Sharon R. Krause (under contract, Cambridge University Press).

Montesquieu's Liberalism and the Problem of Universal Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2018).

Refereed Journal Articles

Une infinité de biens’: Montesquieu on Religion and Free Government,” History of Political Thought, vol. 35, no. 4 (Winter 2014), pp. 739-767.

"Liberal Constitutionalism and Political Particularism in Montesquieu’s The Spirit of the Laws," Political Research Quarterly, vol. 67, no. 3 (Fall 2014), pp. 589-602.

Other Publications

Philosophes in the Dock: A Review of Dennis C. Rasmussen's Pragmatic Enlightenment,” Adam Smith Review 10 (Fall 2017), pp. 119-129. (review essay)

"Middlebury's Statement of Principle," with Jay Parini, Wall Street Journal, March 6, 2017.

“On the Genealogy of Morals,” with Michael Allen Gillespie, in Paul Bishop, ed., A Companion to Friedrich Nietzsche: Life and Works (Suffolk, UK and Rochester, NY: Boydell & Brewer/Camden House, 2012), pp. 255-278.