John E. Seery

George Irving Thompson Memorial Professor of Government and Professor of Politics
With Pomona Since: 1990
  • Expertise


    John Seery is an expert in the history of political thought and democratic theory who has written books on a variety of themes, including irony, death, liberal arts education and constitutional age requirements. His articles have also covered a range of topics, from abortion politics to Grant Wood's “American Gothic.”

    Areas of Expertise


    • History of Political Thought
    • Democratic Theory
    • Liberal Arts Education
    • Irony and Politics
    • Civil Disobedience
    • Feminist Politics
    • Hell
    • Marx
    • Nietzsche
    • Plato
    • Weber
    • Abortion Politics
    • Comedy
    • Constitutional Age Requirements
  • Work


    The Best Kind of College: An Insiders' Guide to America's Small Liberal Arts Colleges, edited with Susan McWilliams (SUNY Press, forthcoming 2015)

    Too Young to Run? A Proposal for an Age Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (Penn State University Press, 2012)

    A Political Companion to Walt Whitman, editor (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2011)

    America Goes to College: Political Theory for the Liberal Arts (State University of New York Press, 2002)

    Political Theory for Mortals: Shades of Justice, Images of Death (Cornell University Press, 1996)

    The Politics of Irony: Essays in Self-Betrayal, edited with Daniel W. Conway (St. Martin's/MacMillan, 1992)

    Political Returns: Irony in Politics and Theory from Plato to the Antinuclear Movement (Westview Press, 1990)

    Selected Films

    Appeared in This American Gothic, a feature documentary directed by Sasha Waters Freyer. 

  • Education


    University of California, Berkeley

    Master of Arts
    University of California, Berkeley

    Bachelor of Arts
    Amherst College

    Recent Courses Taught

    Green Political Theory

    Hannah Arendt: Politics, Love, Violence, Gender

    Classical Political Theory

    Contemporary Politics and Theory

    Modern Political Theory

    The Idea of America

    Critical Inquiry Seminar

  • Awards & Honors

    Awards & Honors

    American Political Science Association Distinguished Teaching Award, 2013 (first discipline-wide teaching award bestowed by the APSA)

    Laurance S. Rockefeller Visiting Professor for Distinguished Teaching, Center for Human Values, Princeton University, 2010-11

    Sidney Hook Memorial Award (awarded by the national Phi Beta Kappa Society every three years to one person in the country, recognizing “national distinction by a single scholar in each of three endeavors—scholarship, undergraduate teaching and leadership in the cause of liberal arts)

    Pomona College, Wig Distinguished Professorship Award for Excellence in Teaching, 1994 & 1999

    Pomona College, Graves Award in the Humanities, 1998

    Danforth Fellow, 1980-1984

    Summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, Amherst College, 1980