Joseph M. Schwartz is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Intellectual Heritage Program. He teaches courses in the history of political thought; contemporary democratic theory; American political development; race and American politics; and the radical tradition (and its critics) in theory and practice. Schwartz's teaching and published work focuses on the complex interaction among morality, ideology, and political and institutional development. He believes that political theory should not speak a ghettoized, jargon-laden private language; rather, it should inform public intellectual and political deliberation. He is a past recipient of the College of Liberal Arts Distinguished Teaching Award, Temple University's Lindback Prize for Teaching Excellence, and the Temple University College of Liberal Arts Alumni Association Eleanor Hofkin Award for Excellence in Teaching.
His first book, The Permanence of the Political: A Democratic Critique of the Radical Thrust to Transcend Politics (Princeton, 1995) critiques the radical longing for a society that transcends particular identity and the need for politics. The book won the North American Society for Social Philosophy Prize for the best book published in 1995. His second book, The Future of Democratic Equality: Reconstructing Social Solidarity in a Fragmented United States (Routledge, 2009) cautions against a potential new form of radical orthodoxy: that universal forms of identity are repressive and homogenizing, whereas particular identities are inherently emancipatory. The work argues that defenders of a democratic conception of "difference" must not forget that "difference," if constructed upon a terrain of radical social inequality, yields unjust inequalities in social and political power.