Supporting education in American political thought

Jack Miller Center creates professorship in political science.

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A deep and nuanced understanding of the founding principles of American democracy has long been one of the cornerstones of a political science education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Now, a new gift from the Jack Miller Center — as part of the university’s All Ways Forward fundraising campaign — will help fund a professorship dedicated to American political thought.

Michelle Schwarze, formerly the Jack Miller Postdoctoral Fellow in the American Democracy Forum‘s Benjamin Franklin Initiative at UW-Madison, has been named the Jack Miller Center Assistant Professor of Political Science.

“This gift helps us retain an outstanding researcher and teacher,” says David Canon, chair of the Department of Political Science. “Michelle will challenge and inspire students with her teaching and research, and her presence on the faculty will enhance the collaborative nature of the political science department.”

Schwarze is a political theorist whose scholarship focuses on the moral and political thought of the Atlantic Enlightenment and its relevance to American political thought. Her research centers on the motivation for justice, and the institutions that engender and maintain it.

Schwarze studies 18th-century political theorists — particularly Scottish philosopher Adam Smith, author of The Wealth of Nations — but is also broadly interested in the role of passions in political life.

“The Jack Miller Center’s generous gift will be invaluable to me as a new assistant professor,” says Schwarze. “It provides me the time and support to develop my first book manuscript; to integrate my research into my courses and develop dynamic and engaging ways to reach both undergraduate and graduate students; and the opportunity to benefit from continuing conversations with visiting speakers to the American Democracy Forum on issues central to the principles and practice of American democracy.”

The Jack Miller Center, a nonprofit based just outside of Philadelphia, works to transform student access to education in American political thought and history, fostering informed civic engagement. The center has also supported other UW-Madison political science programs, including the American Democracy Forum and the Benjamin Franklin Initiative.

“Dr. Schwarze’s remarkable scholarship and teaching enhances the University of Wisconsin’s standing as a national leader in constitutional studies,” said Rear Admiral (USN, ret.) Mike Ratliff, JMC president. “The Jack Miller Center, with the generous support of the John Templeton Foundation and Badger alumnus Albert ‘Ab’ Nicholas, is pleased to support this education at UW-Madison through the American Democracy Forum, established by Professor John Coleman and now ably led by Professor John Zumbrunnen.”