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John Robert Pottenger
University of Alabama in Huntsville
Department of Political Science
Department of Philosophy by courtesy


Dr. Pottenger has been a National Endowment for the Humanities research fellow at UCLA and UC Berkeley on the philosophy and history of the scientific revolution; a Mellon Foundation seminar director at the College of William and Mary on liberation theology; a guest speaker at Moscow State University, USSR, on American political science; and a lecturer and workshop facilitator for the U.S. Department of State in Egypt, the Russian Federation, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan on civil society.  His research focuses on theoretical issues in classical Platonic philosophy, modern political theory, contemporary political theology, religion and civil society, radical theories of hermeneutics, and Marxist class analysis.  To date, he has published two books: Reaping the Whirlwind: Liberal Democracy and the Religious Axis (Georgetown University Press) and The Political Theory of Liberation Theology: Toward a Reconvergence of Social Values and Social Science (State University of New York Press).  He has also contributed numerous book chapters and journal articles, including work published in Interpretation: A Journal of Political Philosophy, Central Asian Survey, International Journal of Social Economics, and American Review of Politics, among others.  

Professional Interests
Analytical Political Philosophy
Classical, medieval, and modern political philosophy; American political thought; political theology and hermeneutics; and public policy and ethics


  • University of Maryland. Ph.D. in Government and Politics, 1984
  • Fields: Political Philosophy, Philosophy of Science, and Political Economy.
  • Dissertation: “Church, State, and Revolution: The Political Theory of Liberation Theology”
  • (under Charles E. Butterworth)
  • Nominated by the department for the APSA Leo Strauss Award for the best dissertation in the
  • field of political philosophy
  • Arizona State University. M.A. in Political Science (Political Theory), 1978
  • Arizona State University. B.A. in Political Science, 1975

Academic Positions

  • Professor, Department of Political Science, 2008-present, and Department of Philosophy (by courtesy), University of Alabama in Huntsville, 2008-present
  • Associate Professor (1990-2008) and Assistant Professor (1986-1990), Department of Political Science, University of Alabama in Huntsville
  • Lecturer (full-time), California State University-Long Beach, Department of Political Science, 1982-1986
  • Instructor (part-time), Department of Government and Politics, University of Maryland, 1981-1982
  • University of Maryland, Graduate Teaching and Research Assistant, Department of Government and Politics, 1977-1979
  • Arizona State University, Graduate Teaching Assistant, Department of Political Science, 1977

Courses Taught
Special Topics in Political Science: Ideologies and Public Policy (PSC 580)
Special Topics in Political Science: Religion and Politics (PSC 580)
American Polity (PSC 600)
Special Topics in Public Affairs: Political Theology (PSC 615)
Public Values and Public Policy (PSC 630)
Directed Readings and Research: Political Philosophy (PSC 698)
Classical Political Philosophy (PSC/PHL 330)
Modern Political Philosophy (PSC/PHL 332)
American Political Thought (PSC 334)
Engineering Ethics (PHL 392)
Directed Study in Philosophy: Philosophy of History (PHL 399)
Political Ideologies (PSC 436)
Contemporary Political Thought (PSC/PHL 438)
Advanced Topics in Political Science: Religion and Politics (PSC 480)
Senior Seminar: Philosophy of Social Science (PSC 484)
Directed Readings and Research: Marx (PSC 498)

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