Gerald M Mara


Professorial Lecturer
Dean, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Assoc Provost, Research (Main Campus)


Department of Government
General profile


+1 202-687-5604



Office hours

By appointment


Gerald M. Mara is Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Associate Provost for Research (Main Campus), and Professorial Lecturer (Department of Government) at Georgetown University. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Bryn Mawr College. His prior academic work was at the University of Pennsylvania (A.M.) and Bates College (A.B.)

He teaches courses in classical political theory, including Thucydides, Aristotle, and Plato, and in the Philosophy of Social Science. He has also taught courses in Liberalism, Democratic Theory, and Culture and Politics. When appropriate, his courses are cross listed in the Departments of Philosophy and Classics. He has also taught in the Liberal Studies Program for eighteen years. Mara also serves as co-director of an Undergraduate Minor in Social and Political Thought and teaches its introductory seminar, The Foundations of Social Theory.

His research interests are classical political philosophy, historical and contemporary liberalism, and democratic theory.

He is the author of Socrates' Discursive Democracy (SUNY, 1997) and joint editor of and co-contributor to Liberalism and The Good (Routledge, 1990). His most recent article-length publications are: "Democratic Self-Criticism and the Other in Classical Political Theory," Journal of Politics, 65 (2003), "The Culture of Democracy: Aristotle's Athenaion Politeia as Political Theory," in Aristide Tessitore, ed. Aristotle and Modern Politics: The Persistence of Political Philosophy (Notre Dame University Press: 2002); "Thucydides and Plato on Democracy and Trust," Journal of Politics 63 (2001); "The Logos of the Wise in the Politeia of the Many: Recent Books on Aristotle's Political Philosophy," Political Theory, 28, (2000) (Invited Article Length Review Essay.); "Interrogating the Identities of Excellence: Liberal Education and Democratic Culture in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics," Polity, 31, (1998); "The Near Made Far Away: The Role of Cultural Criticism in Aristotle's Political Theory," Political Theory, 23, (1995); "Mill, Nietzsche and the Identity of Postmodern Liberalism," Journal of Politics, 57, (1995) (Joint author with Suzanne L. Dovi.); and "Cries, Eloquence and Judgment: Interpreting Political Voice in Democratic Regimes," Polity, 26 (1993).

His most recent research is focused on the contributions that the texts of Thucydides and Plato can make to democratic theory. The intersecting perspectives of these two classical writers suggest that political philosophy should do more than clear a space for democratic political practice. Yet both authors also reject, as both undesirable and impossible, attempts to replace democratic politics with more directive forms of political theory. Instead, their texts imply that the best kind of democratic theory provides resources enabling democratic citizens to think more intensely and critically about the purposes and commitments informing their common life. His book, The Civic Conversations of Thucydides and Plato: Classical Political Philosophy and the Limits of Democracy will be published by SUNY (2008, anticipated).

Mara's next project will be an exploration of how the broad frames of reference of peace and war affect important texts in the history of Western political philosophy.


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  • Ph.D. () Bryn Mawr College, Political Science
  • A.M. () University of Pennsylvania (A.M.) and Bates Colleg,
  • A.B. () Bates College,