Political Science

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Nick Buccola - Associate Professor & Founding Director, Frederick Douglass Forum on Law, Rights, and Justice (Chair)

Pioneer 109

Education: B.A., B.S. Santa Clara University; M.A., Ph.D. University of Southern California

Academic Interests:
Professor Buccola conducts research in the areas of American political thought and constitutional theory. His first book, The Political Thought of Frederick Douglass, was published by New York University Press in 2012. It was a finalist in the General Non-Fiction category for the Oregon Book Award. The book will be released in paperback in July 2013. He has published essays on a wide variety of topics including the debate over same-sex marriage, Friedrich Nietzsche's critique of socialism, and the political philosophies of Judith Shklar and Leo Strauss. He is currently at writing essays on the political theory of James Baldwin, the idea of virtue in the political thought of Frederick Douglass, and the philosophy of liberal education. He is at work on three book projects. The first is an examination of the political thought of a number of American abolitionists. The second is a study of the ideological origins of the Tea Party movement. The third is a volume he will edit on the political and constitutional thought of Abraham Lincoln. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the Samuel H. Graf Award and the Allen and Pat Kelley Faculty Scholar Award and many fellowships including one from the National Endowment for the Humanities. In addition to his teaching and research, he directs the Frederick Douglass Forum on Law, Rights, and Justice. The Douglass Forum hosts debates, lectures, and conferences on the rule of law, individual rights, and competing conceptions of justice. For more information on the Douglass Forum, please click the link above.


The Political Thought of Frederick Douglass: In Pursuit of American Liberty, New York University Press, 2012.
"Responsible Liberalism," an invited contribution to The Political Companion to Frederick Douglass, University of Kentucky Press, 2013.
"In Defense of Judicial Prudence: What the Cardinal Virtues can teach us about Constitutional Interpretation," (co-authored with Aila Wallace), under review.
"A Life of One's Own: Slavery, Self-Ownership, & the Foundations of Frederick Douglass's Liberalism," Journal of Political Science, Vol. 37 (2009): 173-199.
"The Tyranny of the Least & the Dumbest: Nietzsche's Critique of Socialism," Quarterly Journal of Ideology, Vol. 31, Number 3, (Spring 2009): 1-37.
"Critical Distances: The Principled Skepticism of Leo Strauss & Judith Shklar," The Journal of Contemporary Thought, (Winter 2008): 129-150.
"Each for All & All for Each: The Liberal Statesmanship of Frederick Douglass," Review of Politics, 70 (2008): 400-419.
"Finding Room for Same-Sex Marriage: Toward a More Inclusive Understanding of a Cultural Institution," Journal of Social Philosophy, Vol. 36, Number 3, (2005): 331-343.

Courses Taught

Great Political Thinkers; American Politics; Study of Law; American Political Thought; U.S. Supreme Court; Law, Rights, & Justice; Rebels, Thugs & Skeptics: 20th Century Political Theory; Politics & the Arts; Liberals, Conservatives, & Contemporary Moral Controversies; Ideas, Individuals & Institutions in U.S. Politics

Courses in Development

African-American Political Thought; Picturing Justice: Law in Film