Faculty and Staff
College of Arts and Sciences
Curriculum Vitae [pdf]
Department of Political Science
Doug Thompson is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of South Carolina. His research and teaching interests include history of ancient, Renaissance, and modern political thought; contemporary democratic theory; history of American political thought; politics of race; and metro and urban politics. His first book,Montaigne and the Tolerance of Politics (Oxford University Press, 2018) reinterprets Montaigne's Essais as a work of public political theory. The book argues that Montaigne conceives of tolerance, not as an individual moral or ethical virtue, as it is usually understood today, but rather as a political capacity: the power and ability to negotiate relationships of basic trust and civil peace with one's opponents in political conflict. For Montaigne, any politics of tolerance requires a high tolerance and endurance for this fundamental political activity. Using his own experience negotiating between warring Catholic and Huguenot parties as a model, Montaigne investigates and publicly prescribes a set of skills, capacities, and dispositions that might help his readers to become the kinds of people who can initiate and sustain dialogue with the “other side” to achieve public goods. Thompson's work on Montaigne has also been published in History of Political Thought and Montaigne Studies.
Thompson's current research program is centered on two book projects. The first of these, Leviathan vs. the Metropolis: Politics and Government in an Urbanized Age, argues that the near-total urbanization of contemporary societies and the entrenchment of a border-defying network of “global cities” have combined to undermine inherited models of democratic political legitimacy. The book prescribes the establishment of new forms of metropolitan regional government and new global metropolitan institutions to strengthen democracy in the face of rapid geographic transformation. The first article from this project is forthcoming in The Journal of Politics. The second book project, Just Integration: Du Bois, Ambedkar, and Césaire on Race and Power investigates three distinct conceptions of racial justice and integration that emerged in different national and global political contexts in the twentieth century. The book stages an imaginative dialogue between W. E. B. Du Bois, B. R. Ambedkar, and Aimé Césaire to develop new action-oriented and institutional approaches to contemporary struggles for racial justice.