Active Faculty Members

Paul Abela (Philosophy)

My contribution to the SPT program, in addition to participation on theses and the colloquium series, has tended toward treatments of important historical figures in political theory.  I have offered, most recently, a primary source course on the philosophy of Karl Marx.  My general research background concerns figures from the Enlightenment, primarily Immanuel Kant.

Kant; Moral theory

Andrew Biro (Politics)

My research is mainly in the field of environmental political theory. In this field, we ask: what do the insights and methods of political theory have to tell us about contemporary environmental concerns? And how do contemporary environmental conditions affect the vocation of the political theorist? Two of my current research projects are on the politics of bottled water, and a book project (co-authored with Alice Cohen) on environmental politics in Canada. I am always interested in supervising MA projects in, and at the intersections of, critical theory, environmental politics, political economy, and cultural studies.

Critical theory; Environmental political theory; Political ecology/economy

Rachel Brickner (Politics)

In my research, I ask the broad question of how the relationship of worker-citizen is shaped and reshaped by political, economic, and social trends and the implications of this (re)shaping on democratic politics. More particularly, I use feminist theory and theories of citizenship and political economy to better understand the causes and outcomes of workers’ activism—particularly of women, public sector workers, and migrants, and with a geographic focus on the US, Canada, and Mexico. My current research project explores educators’ activism in the US and Canada through the lens of a feminist ethic of care. In the SPT program, I teach courses on political economy, citizenship, and development. I am happy to supervise MA students on topics of citizenship, gender, migration, education, political economy, and development. I am also happy to supervise students who want to use theory to explore social and political questions in the US and Latin America.  

Feminist theory; gender; citizenship; labour activism; migration; political economy; development

James Brittain (Sociology)

James J. Brittain, Ph.D. is a Professor within the Department of Sociology and faculty member of the Social & Political Thought graduate program at Acadia University. Through fields of social theory and political economy, his publications, research, and writing have been grounded in a critique of capitalist ideology and practice. Developing a discourse around the sociology of escape, his current work interrogates how inequitable class relations remain substantively unchallenged.

Class (Consciousness), Disposable Populations, Escape, Political Economy

Jesse Carlson (Sociology)

Jesse Carlson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and faculty member of the Social & Political Thought graduate program at Acadia University. Areas of research and supervision interest include cultural sociology, sociology of morality, critical theory, practice theory, theories of friendship and solidarity, the sociology of music.

Sociological Theory; Cultural Sociology; Morality; Friendship

Alice Cohen (ESST)

Dr. Alice Cohen's work uses water as a lens through which to understand broader political and social processes.  In practical terms, this means that she examines environmental (and especially water) policies and practices to explore political, geographical and economic questions at local through global scales. Her current projects include a book with Dr. Biro about Canadian Environmental Politics, a SSHRC grant on decolonizing water (, and an exploration of the role of technology in Community Based Water Monitoring.   Dr. Cohen is cross-appointed between Environmental and Sustainability Studies (ESST) and Environmental Science (ENVS), and is an adjunct professor at Dalhousie University’s School for Resource and Environmental studies.  She holds a Ph.D. from UBC’s Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability.  For more, please see:

Environmental geography; Scales and boundaries; Environmental policy and politics; Political ecology; Water governance: watershed-scale governance, Canada-US transboundary water, Canadian water policy

Fikir Haile (Politics, starting July 2024)

My research examines the inter-scalar governance of socio-environmental transformations in the Global South, with a focus on the African continent. Specifically, I am interested in understanding how the spatial expansion of capitalism transforms, reconfigures, and restructures urban environments across the globe broadly and in Africa specifically. More broadly, my research aims to identify the historical and ongoing processes that give rise to highly uneven global spaces, with a view to identifying avenues for decolonial and anti-imperialist futures. I primarily utilize Marxist, Political Ecology, and Postcolonial theories in my work. I am happy to supervise students interested in the contemporary features of capitalist expansion, urban political ecology, Marxist theory, and postcolonial theory.


Katie Mazer (Cross-appointed, WGST & Environmental and Sustainability Studies)

On leave 2023-24

Environmental & Sustainability Studies and Women’s & Gender Studies

Can E. Mutlu (Politics)

I am an Associate Professor of Global Politics at Acadia University, in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada. I am the co-editor of Critical Methods in Security Studies: An Introduction (with Mark B. Salter) and Architectures of Security: Design, Control, Mobility (with Benjamin J. Muller). My recent research appears in Third World Quarterly, International Political Sociology, Global Governance, Millennium: Journal of International Studies, Comparative European Politics, European Journal of Social Theory, Eurasia Border Review, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, and the Review of International Studies. I am interested in supervising SPT students interested one or a number of these areas: Science and Technology Studies, New Materialisms, Mobility, Migration, and Security related research project.

Science and Technology Studies, New Materialisms, Mobility, Migration, Security

Kait Pinder (English)

My primary areas of research are Canadian literature, modernism, and literary theory. In particular, my work examines how Canadian authors use the novel as a structure for critical thought and philosophical debate. I am also interested in how aesthetic forms “think” about political and social relations, and how the post-critical and New Formalist movements in contemporary literary theory offer new ways of understanding the intersections between art and politics. My current research projects study the debates about individualism taking place in the Canadian modernist novel in the early twentieth century and Leonard Cohen’s unexpected appearances in political commentaries today. I am happy to work with students who are also perplexed and preoccupied by the relationship between literature and politics, by questions of artistic form, by the recent post-critical turn in theory, or by the arts in Canada.

Literature and Politics, by questions of artistic form, post-critical turn in theory, or by the arts in Canada.

Marc Ramsay (Philosophy)

My main research interests are in the philosophy of law and normative ethics. I work on issues such as children's rights, freedom of expression, judicial review, legal moralism, and damages in tort law. I am currently co-editing (with Jason Holt) a volume on philosophy and mixed martial arts (MMA). My teaching within SPT has focused on freedom of expression and judicial review.

Ethics and philosophy of law

Brenda Trofanenko (Education)

Public history and pedagogy; Museum anthropology; Postcolonial theory; Memory studies

Inna Viriasova (Politics)

My primary interests are in the fields of contemporary continental political philosophy (esp. political ontology), Non-Western and indigenous thought, critical theory, post-humanism and new materialism, biopolitics, and refugee studies. My research addresses the question of the limits of politics, seeking for positive ways of rethinking “the unpolitical” – the radical outside of politics – which forms the core of my recent monograph, At the Limits of the Political: Affect, Life, Things (RLI, 2018). My current project deals with “dead cities,” places like the Chornobyl alienation zone in Ukraine, examining the unique relationships between humans and nonhumans that unfold in these spaces. I am open to supervising SPT students with interests in continental political philosophy, critical theory, non-Western and indigenous thought, post-humanism, new materialism, and biopolitics.

Continental political philosophy; critical theory; non-Western and indigenous thought; post-humanism & new materialism; biopolitics

Geoffrey Whitehall (Politics)

My research occurs at the intersection of Political Theory, International Politics, Art and Technology.  In terms of political theory most of my research, broadly described, involves continental political thought (i.e., Deleuze, Foucault, Derrida, Virilio, Esposito. Agamben, Ranciere etc.) and contemporary off-shoots (eg., Butler, Brown, Grosz, Spivak, Mignolo, Charkabarty, Hacker, Massumi, Wolfe, Connolly, Shapiro etc.).  My interest in international politics develops these theoretical conversations within in the context of contemporary world problems, problems of the world, and contemporary un-worldings.  As such, I am keenly interested in the future of human rights, the sovereign state, biopolitical emergencies, pluralism, war, and peace. One of the areas of thought that I have found most useful in this broad pursuit is the question of aesthetics (i.e., film, music, photography, literature, and pop culture) since these conversations allows me to explore political imaginaries and other ways of introducing the political into fixed conversations.  Another related area of thought concerns the question of technology.  This broad literature allows me to investigate questions of time, space, materiality, affect, body, animals, knowledge and the limits of the human.  Taken together, I am always interested in working with students in order to push the conceptual frameworks that we use to understand the lived implications of our already (dis)organized worlds.

Continental political thought; Discourses of Culture and Technology; Philosophy of Space and Time; Aesthetics, Art and Film.

Ian Wilks (Philosophy)

Medieval philosophy; Philosophy of religion; Ethics and bioethics