SHIFT Assistant Professor of Applied Ethics
George’s teaching and research are problem-centric, focusing on issues of peace and justice, and drawing on various fields: ethics, social-political philosophy, critical race theory, decolonial theory, global/international studies, and conflict resolution. He has taught a range of courses related to this work; his publications have appeared in peer-reviewed journals such as the International Journal of Transitional Justice, Critical Philosophy of Race, Philosophy and Social Criticism, and Radical Philosophy Review. He is currently working on a book that addresses issues of race, reconciliation, and solidarity among Middle Eastern Americans.
In this course, you will become familiar with key figures and arguments in contemporary social-political philosophy. We will focus on the tradition of liberal social contract theory, which first emerged in the 17th century and continues to inform political thought. We begin with an introduction to the major theoretical and cultural origins of contract theory: Thomas Hobbes's Leviathan and John Locke's Two Treatises of Government. Through these texts and others, you will be prepared to discuss a wide range of foundational issues in political philosophy: legitimacy, authority, law, rights, equality, liberty, property, citizenship, and justice. Given that liberalism has been the central tradition in political thought since its emergence and imposition, there is an equally important tradition of dissent that we will address. Common to the various critical theories we will address is the illumination of contradictions within liberalism, such that despite liberal values of democracy, equality, and liberty, there continue to be flagrant cases of tyranny and terror sanctioned by liberal nations. The victims of these tyrannies include women, indigenous peoples, racial/ethnic and religious minorities, the working class/poor, and many Others. As we analyze these critical accounts, we will also consider how we can move past the failures of liberalism to form a more peaceful and just society.
This Division III seminar will focus on philosophical methods in writing and research. A specific emphasis will be placed on concept analysis and genealogy as critical frameworks for building, expanding, and sustaining social-political research projects. Students will be expected to share their Div III research for class critique.
In this class, we will explore the fields of ethics and politics from the starting point of a primordial tension: the experience of being both an individual and a member of a collective social-political environment. This starting point places our exploration in stark contrast to classical approaches to normative thought, which focus on the consequences of individual actions, universal rules, and individual habits. Instead, we will discuss value and meaning in terms of interpersonal relations, the various ways our relations become conflicted, and how we can work on our relations in order to transform ourselves as well as our circumstances. In this exploration it will become clear that acting ethically is far more complicated than commonly assumed, but also an absolutely necessary practice for the proper functioning of a democratic society. The general goal of this class is to have a clear understanding of key theories and texts in ethics and social-political philosophy, but also a clearer sense of what one must do to act ethically in every day encounters.
This is a course in decolonial and political theory that will explore the historical legacy of colonialism and the ongoing conflict between the so-called east/west. Through a range of texts, we will analyze and critique the major theoretical and cultural origins of various contemporary social-political phenomena that are connected to the east/west conflict, including war on terror, the rise of ISIS, and the militarization of everyday life throughout the world. Through these texts, students will be prepared to discuss a wide range of foundational issues in decolonial and political theory: Colonialism/coloniality, orientalism, discourse theory, liberation philosophy, the subbaltern, hybridity, difference, ambiguity, interstitiallity, race and racialization, and many more.