Academics Meg Mott - Political Theory
Contact Meg Mott; 802-451-7556
Meg Mott became interested in political theory while working as a court advocate for a battered women’s shelter. Having worked as a paralegal in the 1980s, she was confused by some of the practices emerging in family and criminal courts. "I had been trained to put the burden of proof on the accuser’s testimony, but in family court, the accusers only had to prove they suffered from a reasonable fear," says Meg. "The part of me that was a feminist was delighted to see women’s testimony taken so seriously. The part of me that was a paralegal was worried about the erosion of due process."This same kind of tension fueled her doctoral research on the role of "natural law" in the Spanish Inquisition.
Marlboro’s emphasis on writing is central to Meg’s project of teaching theory. "I don’t want students to just read theory, I want them to practice theorizing. That activity can only happen through the practice of writing, of moving out of held beliefs and into the new territory of the mind." She says she wants to work with students who are perplexed and perturbed by the state of the world but who have enough curiosity to want to write about it.
Student Plans and Collaborations
- The politics of pluralism: an exploration of felony disenfranchisement in the United States and women's political voices in Nepali nation-building. Amber Schaefer '10, politics.
- An study of democratic visions within educational theories, with a historical case study in progressive education. Garth Sutherland '10, politics and American studies.
- An exploration of power dynamics in the creative process through political theory and dance, including choreographic work exploring memory and power. Katherine Partington '09, political science and dance.
- A study of who one's Christian beliefs affect one's social interactions and understanding of suffering, including an internship at an orphanage in Oaxaca, Mexico. Ryan Dolan '09, religion and political science.
Marlboro College, with its Town Meeting form of campus governance, provides Meg with a perfect laboratory for exploring the reality of democratic theory. "Town Meeting teaches us the virtues and vices of living in a democracy," she says. "Sometimes we reach consensus after a persuasive and poetic argument and sometimes we get lost in the details. Democracy is probably the most frustrating form of government and also the most rewarding."
More recently, Meg has become interested in how environmental crises are challenging basic assumptions about political life. "The local food movement is a good example. As towns and cities become more adept at tacking charge of its own food, they also become more adept at taking care of other basic needs."
- Weekly column in the Brattleboro Reformer, 2008 - present
- Passing Our Lives through the Fire of Thought: The Personal Essay in the Political Theory Classroom," PS: Political Science & Politics, 41 (1) 2008.
- "Une Messe est Possible": The Imbroglio of the Catholic Church in Contemporary Latin Aurope," with Paul Christopher Manuel, in Catholic Church and the Nation-State: Comparative Perspectives, Georgetown Univ. Press. 2006.
- Politics & Social Change in Latin America (with Howard J. Wiarda), Praeger Press, 2003.
Selected Conference Papers
- "Fear and Pilgrimage," New England Political Science Association annual meeting, 2010.
Meg's website has more information about her classes and publications.
B.A., Norwich University, 1992; Ph.D., University of Massachusetts at Amherst, 2001; Marlboro, 1999—