Reflections on Political Theory and the Humanities in the Global Age
by Joshua Mitchell, Georgetown University
Has the uneasy marriage between political theory and political science reached the point where a divorce is now necessary? I consider here the gradual decline of political theory after its post-World War II heyday and its growing self-enclosure in the face of global events that call out for the deeper sort of inquiry that political theory can offer. Drawing on examples from both the Middle East and America, I turn next to a number of institutional considerations that help us understand why this has happened. These institutional challenges pale, however, next to the challenge the hermeneutics of suspicion poses in the twenty-first century to a world increasingly exhausted by the liberal and anti-modern tropes, and in need of constructive understandings of how to go forward. I conclude with the suggestion that political theory and the humanities are better situated within a domain called comparative canonical inquiry. Read the full article.