Daniel Nichanian: Curriculum Vitae

Academic Appointments

2016-2018
University of Chicago

Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in the Division of the Social Sciences
Lecturer in the Political Science Department


Education

2016
Ph.D., Political Science, University of Chicago

Dissertation: “Seizing a Seat at the Table: Participatory Politics in the Face of Disqualification”
Advisers: Patchen Markell and Linda Zerilli (Co-Chairs), Robert Gooding-Williams, John McCormick

Qualifying examinations: Political Theory, Comparative Politics (with distinction)

2012
M.A., Political Science, University of Chicago
2010
Master, Political Sociology and Philosophy, Paris VII Diderot

Master’s Thesis: “La politique entre incorporation et réincorporation”
Adviser: Martine Leibovici

2008
B.A., Political Science and Philosophy, Yale University

Graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with distinction in both majors.


Publications

“A Matter of Dispute, or Just a Misunderstanding? Woman’s suffrage, Constitutional Struggles and the Ambivalence of Writing”

Philosophy & Rhetoric, Volume 49, Number 4 (2016). Pages 500-523. Link.

“A Politics of Surprises: Review of The Lessons of Jacques Rancière, by Samuel Chambers”

Syndicate Theology (November 2016). Link.

“Carl Schmitt, Saint Paul, and Paradoxical Truth”

Revista Pléyade 8 (Julio-Diciembre 2011). Pages 37-62.


Manuscripts in Submission

“Contesting Disavowal: Frederick Douglass and the Politics of Claiming Oneself Already Authorized”

Contemporary Political Theory (Revise and Resubmit)


Works in Progress

Seizing a Seat at the Table: Participatory Politics in the Face of Disqualification (book manuscript)

Abstract: In this book, I argue that sociopolitical movements function as a form of participation in the business of government, especially in domains marked by technical expertise. The leading approaches in democratic theory fail to account for this possibility because they take for granted that engaging in participatory action is ineffective as long as one has not already obtained recognition of one’s capacity and standing. My approach, however, demonstrates that persisting to intervene in exclusionary governmental tasks can transform prevailing standards of competence and authority. Drawing on thinkers ranging from Frederick Douglass to Philip Pettit and Jacques Rancière, and examining movements such as AIDS treatment activism, I show that it is valuable for disqualified groups to seize a seat at the table in that this puts alternative divisions of political labor to a contentious public test.

“From Agency to Competence: Antislavery Fighting and the Struggle to Define Slaves’ Capacities”
“Constitutional Interpretation and Political Struggle: Deciphering and Contesting the Privileges or Immunities Clause”

Awards and Fellowships

2014-2016
Hanna Holborn Gray Fellowship

Social Sciences Division, University of Chicago

2015
Grodzins Prize Lectureship

Political Science Department, University of Chicago

2014
Global Excellence Scholarship (declined)

Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation

May 2013
Patricia Lynn Baker Prize, University of Chicago

Best paper analyzing forms of institutionalized inequality and promoting social reform

2010-2015
University of Chicago Graduate Fellowship
May 2008
Philo Sherman Bennett Prize, Yale University

Best bachelor’s thesis written in political theory during the 2007-2008 school year

May 2008
Branford College Fellows Prize, at graduation, Yale University
June 2007
Frank M. Patterson Grant, Yale University
June 2006
European Union Studies Council Grant, Yale University

Research on the Impact of French Politics on the Construction of European Identity


Courses Taught

Lecturer
American Antislavery: Antebellum Political Thought

Spring 2017 (see syllabus)
Seminar explores the political thought occasioned by the abolitionist movement. It pays attention to conceptualizations of equality, to race and U.S. democracy, and to issues of means and ends. Readings include Frederick Douglass, George Fitzhugh, Harriet Jacobs, William Garrison, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Wendell Phillips, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Maria Stewart, Henry David Thoreau, and David Walker.

Classics of Political and Social Thought, I

Fall 2016, Fall 2017 (see syllabus)
Syllabus covered Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Machiavelli.

Classics of Political and Social Thought, II

Winter 2014, Winter 2017, Winter 2018 (see syllabus)
Syllabus covered Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Wollstonecraft.

Classics of Political and Social Thought, III

Spring 2017, Spring 2018 (see syllabus)
Syllabus covered Tocqueville, Marx, Nietzsche, Du Bois, Weber, Arendt.

Politics and Antipolitics

Winter 2015 (see syllabus)
Seminar explores the role and value for politics in an era of technical knowledge and administrative complexity. Readings include Plato, Max Weber, Carl Schmitt, Leo Strauss, Jürgen Habermas, Hannah Arendt, Jacques Rancière, and Philip Pettit.

Truth, Lies, and Opinion

Spring 2018 (syllabus upcoming)
Seminar explores the a long-standing debate in political thought over the role of truth, lies, and opinion in light of the recent tumult over “fake news” and over the erosion of facts in public discourse. Readings include Hannah Arendt, Charles Mills, Gandhi, Sandra Harding, Vaclav Havel, Niccolò Machiavelli, Friedrich Nietzsche, Plato, and Bernard Williams.

Teaching Assistant
Interpretive Methods (graduate course)

Professor Lisa Wedeen: Spring 2014

Classics of Political and Social Thought, III

Professor Robert Gooding Williams: Spring 2013

Classics of Political and Social Thought, II

Professor Julie Cooper: Winter 2013

Classics of Political and Social Thought, I

Professor James Wilson: Fall 2012

Conference and Workshop Presentations

October 2017
Association of Political Theory

“Antislavery fighting and the struggle to define slave competence”

August 2016
American Political Science Association Conference

“Antislavery fighting and the struggle to define slave competence”

October 2016
Association of Political Theory

“Seizing Standing: Frederick Douglass and the Politics of Claiming Oneself Already Authorized”

September 2016
American Political Science Association Conference

“Seizing Standing: Frederick Douglass and the Politics of Claiming Oneself Already Authorized”

March 2016
Western Political Science Association Conference

“A Matter of Dispute, or Just a Misunderstanding? Woman’s suffrage, Constitutional Struggles and the Ambivalence of Writing”

Nov. 2015
Univ. of Chicago Political Theory Workshop

“AIDS Treatment Activism and the Borrowing of Capacities”

April 2015
Western Political Science Association Conference

“Seizing A Seat at the Table: The Experience of Disqualification and the Borrowing of Capacities”

August 2014
American Political Science Association Conference

“Threads of Reciprocity: Michel Foucault and Seyla Benhabib on Freedom.”

May 2014
The Society of Fellows, University of Chicago, Weissbound Conference

“The Paradoxical Decision: Politics and Truth in Carl Schmitt and Saint Paul.”

April 2014
University of Chicago Political Theory Workshop

“Threads of Reciprocity: Michel Foucault on Freedom.”

August 2013
American Political Science Association Conference

“Arguing with Unresponsive Institutions: Jacques Rancière’s Critique of Ontology and the Expansion of Democratic Possibilities.”

April 2013
Midwest Political Science Association Conference

“The Paradoxical Decision: Politics and Truth in Carl Schmitt and Saint Paul.”

October 2012
University of Chicago Political Theory Workshop

“Carl Schmitt, Saint Paul and Paradoxical Truth.”

April 2012
Midwest Political Science Association Conference

“Contesting Claims to Mastery: Jacques Rancière’s Politics of the ‘As If.'”

Selected Popular Publications

“The Case for Allowing Felons to Vote.” The New York Times. February 2018.

Exposes the realities underlying post-partisan rhetoric in the context of the contemporary French political landscape.

“When a President is King.” Democracy. October 2017.

Exposes the realities underlying post-partisan rhetoric in the context of the contemporary French political landscape.

“Reuniting France’s Plural Left.” Democracy. May 2017.

Makes a case for a commitment to coalition politics.

“What You Need to Know about France’s Far-Right.” FiveThirtyEight. April 2017.
“A Voting Rights Manifesto.” Vox. December 2016.
“What Makes a GOP Leader Resist Trump.” FiveThirtyEight. June 2016.
“France’s Obama Fixation.” OpenDemocracy. March 2009.
“McCain’s Armenia Problem.” The Atlantic. October 2008.
Regular contributor to The Washington Post‘s WhoRunsGov, and creator/writer of Campaign Diaries. 2008-2010.

Service

2016
Manuscript review

Contemporary Political Theory

2013-2015
Coordinator, Political Theory Workshop

University of Chicago

2011-2015
Discussant, Political Theory Workshop

University of Chicago.

August 2013
Facilitator, Methods Café

American Political Science Association Conference

2007-2008
Yale Philosophy Review

Executive Editor for Continental Philosophy


Language Skills

Fluent French, Fluent Armenian.

References

Patchen Markell (dissertation committee co-chair)

Associate Professor, University of Chicago
E-mail: p-markell@uchicago.edu

Linda Zerilli (dissertation committee co-chair)

Charles E. Merriam Distinguished Service Professor, University of Chicago
E-mail: lmgzerilli@uchicago.edu

Robert Gooding-Williams

M. Moran Weston/Black Alumni Council Professor, Columbia University
Email: rg2944@columbia.edu

John McCormick

Professor, University of Chicago
Email: jpmccorm@uchicago.edu