Photo credits:
Danish Saroee

Michael Goodhart

Fellow, SCAS.
Professor of Political Science, University of Pittsburgh

Michael Goodhart studied political theory at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
Since 2001, he has taught at the University of Pittsburgh, where he holds courtesy appointments
in Philosophy and in Gender Studies. He was a Research Fellow at the Alexander von Humboldt
Foundation (2008–09) and Guest Professor at the Hertie School of Governance, Berlin (2008–10).

Goodhart’s early work focused on democratic theory. In Democracy as Human Rights: Freedom
and Equality in the Age of Globalization
(2005), he argued that globalization exposes the familiar
and largely unquestioned conception of democracy as popular sovereignty as historically contingent
and normatively problematic. The book recovers and rehabilitates an emancipatory conception of
democracy as human rights, one whose realization requires the thoroughgoing democratization of
all kinds of governance relationships. More recently, he has written about injustice and related ques-
tions of accountability and responsibility. In Injustice: Political Theory for the Real World (2018),
he critiqued conventional approaches to theorizing justice and offered a radical alternative that trans-
forms our thinking about what kind of problem injustice is and how political theorists might better
understand and address it.  

Throughout his career, Goodhart has been deeply engaged with human rights praxis. At SCAS, he
will work on a new book, Human Rights from the Ground Up, which will develop a thoroughly
politicized account of rights informed by their forgotten history as partisan political tools and animated
by their promiscuous practice in contemporary social life. This partisan account of human rights
upends conventional debates and shows that conflict and controversy about rights should be expected –
and embraced.

This information is accurate as of the academic year 2021-22.