David Thunder (Ph.D. 2007) and Derek Webb (Ph.D. 2008) have joined the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University as post-doctoral fellows.
Founded in the summer of 2000, the James Madison Program is dedicated to exploring enduring questions of American constitutional law and Western political thought. The program is also devoted to examining the application of basic legal and ethical principles to contemporary problems.
Before joining the Princeton program, David Thunder served as a visiting assistant professor at Bucknell University (2006-07), followed by a year of research at the Witherspoon Institute at Princeton (2007-08). His research ranges over a variety of topics in contemporary moral, political and social philosophy, including public reason, liberal democratic citizenship, the morality of social roles, neo-Aristotelian virtue ethics, moral psychology, and theories of social responsibility. Thunder’s work has appeared in numerous journals and edited volumes. He is currently writing a book titled Politics from the First-Person Perspective: A Defense of Integrity in Public Life.
Derek Webb, a Presidential Fellow during his doctoral studies at Notre Dame, joined the James Madison Center this year. Previously, he was the inaugural Wilson Carey McWilliams Fellow in American Politics and Political Theory at the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia, and a pre-doctoral fellow and program administrator for the Program on Constitutionalism and Democracy, also at Virginia. Webb’s work has appeared in Political Science and Politics, Society, Review of Politics, and Presidential Studies Quarterly. Webb is co-editor with Michael Zuckert, the Department of Political Science Nancy Reeves Dreux Professor and Chair, of the forthcoming Collected Writings of the Melancton Smith Circle. He is currently working on a manuscript titled Civic Liberalism in America: Private Rights and the Public Good in Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin Roosevelt.
A third Notre Dame Political Science graduate student, Ana Samuel, is currently an administrator connected to the Witherspoon Institute at Princeton. She will be defending her dissertation, dealing with the French philosopher Montesquieu and the issue of morals regulation in liberal societies, in spring of 2009.