Shannon Mariotti

Notable Achievements

Professor of Political Science Shannon Mariotti published an article titled “Zen and the Art of Democracy: Contemplative Practice as Ordinary Political Theory” in the journal Political Theory. This piece explores resonances between the radical democratic theory of Jacques Rancière and Zen works by Shunryu Suzuki and others, showing how meditation can be understood as an aesthetic practice that cultivates modes of experience, perception, thinking, and feeling that further radical democratic projects at a basic level. The article also shows how meditative practice can supplement democratic projects today focused on abolitionism and social justice, care work and dependency work, and reclaiming experience to work against the appropriation of the “attentional commons.” This piece draws from a current book project exploring contemplative practices as modes of embodied social change that can enact and extend the ordinary practice of democracy in everyday life.

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Expertise

19th Century American Transcendentalism, American Political Thought, Critical Social Theory (20th century Marxism and the Frankfurt School), Democratic Theory and Practice, Democratic Pedagogy, Gender Politics and Feminist Political Theory, The Politics of Romanticism and Modernism, Neoliberalism, Buddhist Political Theory and Buddhist Modernism, Contemplative Practices and Embodied Social Change. 

Shannon Mariotti is Professor of Political Science at Southwestern University. Her scholarship focuses on the practice of ordinary democracy in everyday life, with a focus on the political implications of different modes of perception, aesthetics, and experience. She is generally interested in the unconventional democratic value that arises from critical and contemplative practices in seemingly apolitical spaces of retreat and withdrawal. 

She has explored romantic and modernist articulations of democratic theory and practice through analyzing 19th Century American Transcendentalism, and 20th century Critical Social Theory, and her current book project brings these concerns to bear on contemporary contemplative practices. She is especially interested in the radical democratic value of the practices of embodied social change that travel under the sign of “Buddhist modernism.”

She is the author of Adorno and Democracy: The American Years (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2016) and Thoreau’s Democratic Withdrawal: Alienation, Participation, and Modernity (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2010). She is also co-editor of A Political Companion to Marilynne Robinson (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2016). She has published articles on Adorno, Thoreau, Emerson, and Du Bois in journals such as Political Theory and Telos and volumes such as A Political Companion to Henry David Thoreau. Her current book project is titled Contemplative Practice as Ordinary Politics: Experience, Democracy, and Embodied Social Change.

UNIVERSITIES AND DEGREES

Cornell University, Ph.D. in Government (Political Theory; Gender Politics), August 2006

Cornell University, M.A. in Government, May 2004

The University of Texas at Austin, M.A. in Government, May 2001

American University, B.A., Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa, May 1999, (Communication, Law, Economics, and Government)

  • Shannon Mariotti is Professor of Political Science at Southwestern University. Her scholarship focuses on the practice of ordinary democracy in everyday life, with a focus on the political implications of different modes of perception, aesthetics, and experience. She is generally interested in the unconventional democratic value that arises from critical and contemplative practices in seemingly apolitical spaces of retreat and withdrawal. 

    She has explored romantic and modernist articulations of democratic theory and practice through analyzing 19th Century American Transcendentalism, and 20th century Critical Social Theory, and her current book project brings these concerns to bear on contemporary contemplative practices. She is especially interested in the radical democratic value of the practices of embodied social change that travel under the sign of “Buddhist modernism.”

    She is the author of Adorno and Democracy: The American Years (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2016) and Thoreau’s Democratic Withdrawal: Alienation, Participation, and Modernity (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2010). She is also co-editor of A Political Companion to Marilynne Robinson (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2016). She has published articles on Adorno, Thoreau, Emerson, and Du Bois in journals such as Political Theory and Telos and volumes such as A Political Companion to Henry David Thoreau. Her current book project is titled Contemplative Practice as Ordinary Politics: Experience, Democracy, and Embodied Social Change.

    UNIVERSITIES AND DEGREES

    Cornell University, Ph.D. in Government (Political Theory; Gender Politics), August 2006

    Cornell University, M.A. in Government, May 2004

    The University of Texas at Austin, M.A. in Government, May 2001

    American University, B.A., Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa, May 1999, (Communication, Law, Economics, and Government)

  • BOOKS

    Adorno and Democracy: The American Years. (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2016).

    A Political Companion to Marilynne Robinson. Co-edited with Joseph Lane. Part of the Political Companions to Great American Authors series. (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2016).

    Thoreau’s Democratic Withdrawal: Alienation, Participation, and Modernity (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2010) as part of the “Studies in American Thought and Culture” series, edited by Paul Boyer.

    BOOK MANUSCRIPTS IN PROGRESS

    Contemplative Practice as Ordinary Politics: Experience, Democracy, and Embodied Social Change.

    ARTICLES

    “Zen and the Art of Democracy: Contemplative Practice as Ordinary Political Theory,” in Political Theory, 2019.

    “The New Progressive Federalism: Common Benefits, State Constitutional Rights, and Democratic Political Action,” in New Political Science, 41:1, 98-121.

    The Dispossession of the Public and the ‘Common Benefits’ Clause: Working Against Neoliberal Oligarchy through U.S. State Constitutions,” in American Political Thought: An Alternative View, edited by Alex Zamalin and Jonathan Keller (Routledge, 2017).

    “The Housekeeper of Homelessness: The Democratic Ethos of Marilynne Robinson’s Novels and Essays,” in A Political Companion to Marilynne Robinson. Shannon Mariotti and Joseph Lane, eds. (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2016).

    “The Mystery of Experience: Marilynne Robinson’s Political Theory,” by Shannon Mariotti and Joseph Lane, in A Political Companion to Marilynne Robinson. Shannon Mariotti and Joseph Lane, eds. (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2016).

    “Adorno on the Radio: Democratic Leadership as Democratic Pedagogy,” Political Theory, 42:4 (2014).

    “Melville and the Cadaverous Triumphs of Transcendentalism,” in A Political Companion to Melville. Jason Frank, ed. (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2014).

    “Emerson’s Transcendental Gaze and the ‘Disagreeable Particulars’ of Slavery: Vision and the Costs of Idealism,” in A Political Companion to Ralph Waldo Emerson. Alan M. Levine and Daniel S. Malachuk, eds. (Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky Press, 2011).

    “Damaged Life as Exuberant Vitality in America: Adorno, Alienation and the Psychic Economy,” TELOS, Special Issue: Adorno in America (Winter 2009).

    “The Death of the First-born Son: Emerson’s Focal Distancing, Du Bois’ Second Sight, and Disruptive Particularity,” Political Theory, 37: 3 (June 2009).

    “Thoreau, Adorno, and the Critical Potential of Particularity” in A Political Companion to Henry David Thoreau. Jack Turner, ed. (Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 2009).

    REPRINTED ARTICLES

    “Adorno on the Radio: Democratic Leadership as Democratic Pedagogy,” Political Theory, 42:4 (2014). Reprinted in Theodor W. Adorno II, edited by Espen Hammer (Routledge, 2016).

    An excerpt from Adorno and Democracy: The American Years, reprinted in Die Dialektik der Aufklarung in Amerika, under contract and forthcoming from Leipzig University Press in 2017.

    REFERENCE WORKS

    “Henry David Thoreau” in The Encyclopedia of Political Thought (Wiley-Blackwell, 2014).

    “Ralph Waldo Emerson,” in The Encyclopedia of Political Thought (Wiley-Blackwell, 2014).

    BOOK REVIEWS

    A review of Gary A. Mullen’s Adorno on Politics after Auschwitz, for Symposium: Canadian Journal of Continental Philosophy, forthcoming 2017.

    A review of Robyn Marasco’s The Highway of Despair: Critical Theory After Hegel, for the Cambridge Review of International Affairs, July 2016.

    “Communicating to the Demos,” a review of Gerhard Schweppenhauser’s Theodor W. Adorno: an introduction, translated by James Rolleston (Duke University Press, 2009), in Review of Politics, 72:3 (September 2010).

    “Critique from the Margins: Adorno and the Politics of Withdrawal” in Political Theory, June 2008, Volume 36, No. 3


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