Jonathan Spiegler

Jonathan Spiegler

About Me

I am a PhD candidate in political science at Michigan State University specializing in political philosophy and public policy.

My research focuses on questions of inequality and the presence of inequality in democracies. I wish to better understand how inequality interacts with a regime type built on egalitarian ideals, and what the costs and benefits are of this coexistence. My research questions span both theory and practice, and therefore I work in both political philosophy and public policy.

In political philosophy, I am particularly interested in the philosophical underpinnings of liberal democracy, as well as its strengths and weaknesses as a regime type, in order to better understand what role inequality plays in contemporary democratic nations. As a result, I study the thought of nineteenth century French philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville, one of the most influential thinkers on democratic theory. Tocqueville analyzed the ideas underlying democracy (especially equality), how democratic regimes tend to fall short, and what might be done to improve them.

In public policy however I consider how government works in practice, and therefore how it inevitably falls short of the ideal. In my policy research I consider on a more practical level how American democracy falls short of the theoretical ideal. I am especially interested in how inequality affects American public policy, and so have focused on economic inequality and criminal justice policy.

I am recipient of the Graduate Student Teaching Award from the Michigan State Political Science Department, have been nominated for the university-wide Excellence-in-Teaching Citation, and was an Interdisciplinary Inquiry and Teaching Fellow at the James Madison College at MSU. I regularly teach classes on the history of political philosophy, American political thought, public policy, and public administration.

I have earned a BA in political science and economics from Kenyon College, and a MPP in social policy from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.

In my free time, I enjoy traveling (especially to cold climates), ice hockey, playing the marimba, and attending to my dog Sappho’s every need.

Research & Teaching Interests
Political Philosophy: American political thought, Alexis de Tocqueville, American slavery and racism, French Revolution, history of ancient and modern political philosophy.

Public Policy: social policy, criminal justice, racial and economic inequality, gun violence.

American Politics: bureaucracy, presidency, judicial.

Office #214 South Kedzie Hall, 368 Farm Lane
East Lansing, MI, 48823, US

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Curriculum Vitae