Melissa S. Williams
Professor at the Department of Political Science, University of Toronto
Resident at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:September 2015‒July 2016
Research topic at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:»Democracy's Global Future: A Systemic View«
My principal project during my year in the Justitia Amplificata program will be to prepare a book manuscript whose working title is »Democracy’s Global Future: A Systemic View«.
Over the last several years, I have been working on a series of articles exploring the links between democracy and globalization. An early cluster of this work focused on the theoretical coherence of the concept of »global citizenship« and analogous terms, particularly as they arise in transnational social and political movements. Drawing on work by Charles Taylor and others on the notion of social or political imaginaries, I developed the notion of »citizenship as shared fate« to capture the self-constituting character of new democratic formations.
A second strand of my recent work has aimed at fostering the development and maturation of the emerging field of comparative political theory, that is, the de-
centering of Euro-American thought traditions in the way we define the boundaries of our discipline. Working with colleagues on projects in both East Asian and Indigenous political thought, I have come to believe that a »multiple modernities« framework is the most helpful one for thinking through the
intersection of modern state and economic structures with deeper civilizational and cultural traditions in shaping distinctive forms of democratic politics around the world.
Thirdly, in thinking through the debates over cosmopolitan, statist, and transnationalist (or »polycentric«) views of global justice and global democratization, I believe that a systems approach such as has recently gained traction in theories of deliberative democracy is a promising framework for thinking through the inter-scalar dynamics of democracy in a global age. One of my recent studies examines the transmission of modalities of protest across the democratic protest movements following the 2008-09 global financial crisis, revealing patterns that link transnational and domestic scales of mobilization. (Melissa S. Williams)
Funding of the stay:»Justitia Amplificata. Rethinking Justice − Applied and Global«
Scholarly profile of Melissa S. Williams Melissa Williams is Professor of Political Science, and was founding Director of the Centre for Ethics at the University of Toronto. Her general research area is on democratic theory; her current work focuses on theories of global justice and global democratization, comparative political theory, and Indigenous political thought.
Williams received the Leo Strauss Award and the Foundations of Political Theory First Book Award for her work on political representation. She was Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor for Distinguished Teaching at the Center for Human Values at Princeton University, Visiting Faculty Fellow at the Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, and Visiting Professor at the University of Amsterdam.
Williams also served as Editor of NOMOS, the yearbook of the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy. She received her B.A. from Bryn Mawr College, and A.M. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University.
Main areas of research:Contemporary political theory; democratic theory; intercultural political theory; theories of globalization; multiculturalism and diversity
- East Asian Perspectives on Political Legitimacy, co-edited with Joseph Chan and Doh Chull Shin, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (forthcoming).
- (with Mark E. Warren), »A Democratic Case for Comparative Political Theory«, in: Political Theory 42 (1), pp. 26-57 (2014) .
- »Political Responsibility for Decolonization in Canada«, in: Genevieve Fuji Johnson and Loralea Michaelis (eds.), Political Responsibility Refocused, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2013, pp. 78-101.
- NOMOS LI: Transitional Justice,co-edited with Rosemary Nagy and Jon Elster, New York: New York University Press, 2012.
- »Citizenship as Agency within Communities of Shared Fate«, in: Steven Bernstein and William D. Coleman (eds.), Unsettled Legitimacy: Political Community, Power, and Authority in a Global Era, Vancouver: UBC Press, 2009.
- Deliberative Democracy in Practice, co-edited with David Kahane (lead editor), Dominique Leydet, and Daniel Weinstock. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2009.
- NOMOS XLIX: Moral Universalism and Pluralism, co-edited with Henry Richardson. New York: New York University Press, 2008.
- NOMOS XLVIII: Toleration and Its Limits, co-edited with Jeremy Waldron. New York: NYU Press, 2008.
- NOMOS XLVII: Humanitarian Intervention, co-edited with Terry Nardin. New York: NYU Press, 2005.
- NOMOS XLVI: Political Exclusion and Domination, co-edited with Stephen Macedo. New York: NYU Press, 2005.
- Voice, Trust, and Memory: Marginalized Groups and the Failings of Liberal Representation, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1998; Paperback ed. 2000.