Home Welcome People Calendar Applications Awards Courses Contact

Visiting Fellows
Executive Committee
Faculty Associates
Undergraduate Fellows
James Madison Society

Become a fan of the
James Madison Program
on Facebook

2013-14 Visiting Fellows and Postdoctoral Research Associates

OWEN J. ANDERSON, 2013-14 William E. Simon Visiting Fellow in Religion and Public Life, is Associate Professor at Arizona State University where he teaches Philosophy and Religious Studies. His research on natural law and natural theology has appeared in journals such as Sophia, Heythrop Journal, Zygon, New Blackfriars, and The International Journal For Public Theology. His books include The Clarity of God's Existence and, most recently, The Natural Moral Law: The Good after Modernity (Cambridge University Press, 2012). His current manuscript, Charles Hodge: American Common Sense Philosophy is under contract with Palgrave and will appear in the Fall of 2013. He blogs regularly at http://www.thehighestend.blogspot.com. As a Visiting Fellow in the Madison Program, his research focuses on the history and influence of natural theology in American history. He received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees from Arizona State University.
Office: 208 Bobst Hall, 83 Prospect Avenue     Tel: (609) 258-7102

PHILIP BESS, 2013-14 William E. Simon Visiting Fellow in Religion and Public Life, is Professor and Director of Graduate Studies at the School of Architecture at the University of Notre Dame, where he teaches graduate urban design and theory. He has led professional or academic design workshops for city neighborhoods and small towns throughout the United States, and his current work focuses upon metropolitan Chicago. From 1987-88 he was the director and principal designer of the Urban Baseball Park Design Project of the Society for American Baseball Research; and in Boston in August 2000, he directed and coordinated the ultimately successful "Save Fenway Park!" design workshop. Professor Bess is the author of numerous articles, and three books: City Baseball Magic: Plain Talk and Uncommon Sense About Cities and Baseball Parks (1989); Inland Architecture: Subterranean Essays on Moral Order and Formal Order in Chicago (2000); and Till We Have Built Jerusalem: Architecture, Urbanism, and the Sacred (2007). He received his Master of Theological Studies degree from Harvard University Divinity School and his Master of Architecture degree from the University of Virginia.
Office: 204 Bobst Hall, 83 Prospect Avenue     Tel: (609) 258-8721

MICHAEL D. BREIDENBACH, 2013-14 Thomas W. Smith Postdoctoral Research Associate, is an historian of political thought whose research concerns 18th-century European and American history of religious liberty, church-state relations, Enlightenment, and republicanism. His dissertation examined European Catholic reform thought concerning the nature of papal power, the relationship between church and state, and the content and parameters of religious liberty, which American Catholics used to gain the constitutional protections of the First Amendment. He earned his Ph.D. in History from King’s College, University of Cambridge, where he taught political thought and was a Cambridge Overseas Trust scholar. He holds an M.Phil. with Distinction in Political Thought and Intellectual History from Wolfson College, Cambridge, where he was also a visiting scholar, and he graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa with honors from Northwestern University.
Office: Whelan Hall, 16 Stockton Street, 3rd Fl     Tel: (609) 258-7114

ALICJA ANNA GESCINSKA, 2013-14 William E. Simon Postdoctoral Research Associate in Religion and Public Life, was born in Warsaw in 1981 and fled with her family from communist Poland to Belgium in 1988. She obtained a Master’s degree in Moral Sciences from Ghent University, summa cum laude, in 2007. After she graduated she was offered a research grant for a full year at Warsaw University, and then started working on her Ph.D. at Ghent University, where she received her Doctorate of Philosophy in 2012. Her doctoral thesis, Freedom and Persons, presents an analysis of the concepts of freedom, personhood and moral agency in the writings of Max Scheler and Karol Wojtyla (John Paul II). She regularly writes essays, opinion columns, and book reviews for Dutch and Flemish newspapers and magazines. Her book De verovering van de vrijheid (The Conquest of Freedom, 2011) was shortlisted for several literary prizes and awarded as the best nonfiction book in 2010-2011 by deMens.nu.
Office: Whelan Hall, 16 Stockton Street, 2nd Fl     Tel: (609) 258-1485

ALESSANDRA L. GONZÁLEZ, 2013-14 William E. Simon Postdoctoral Research Associate in Religion and Public Life, received her Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in Sociology from Baylor University and her B.A. in Sociology and Policy Studies from Rice University. Her dissertation was on Variations in the Sociology of Islam and Gender: A Multi-Level Analysis of Islam and Gender in Majority Muslim Contexts. She was a Post-Doctoral Research Associate at John Jay College, CUNY, and a research fellow at the Institute for the Studies of Religion at Baylor University. Her research interests include sociology of religion, politics, gender, and criminology in comparative contexts. Her latest book is Islamic Feminism in Kuwait: The Politics and Paradoxes (Palgrave Macmillan).
Office: Whelan Hall, 16 Stockton Street, 2nd Fl     Tel: (609) 258-7117

ASHLEEN MENCHACA-BAGNULO is a 2013-14 Thomas W. Smith Postdoctoral Research Associate. She received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Notre Dame in 2013 and her B.A. in Political Science from Trinity University in 2008. She served as an editorial assistant for the political theory journal Review of Politics from 2011 to 2012. She is the recipient of the Diversity Fellowship at the University of Notre Dame (currently known as the Dean’s Fellowship), the Novak-Laub Fellowship for the Study of Religion, Philosophy and Politics from the Jacques Maritain Center at the University of Notre Dame, and a 2012 Dissertation Year Fellowship at the University of Notre Dame. Her dissertation compares Machiavelli’s and Augustine’s rival approaches to the problem of moral and political corruption in the history of Ancient Rome. She particularly traces the way that Machiavelli’s rejection of the sufficiency of Christian providence leads to a reorientation of his political philosophy, and a reliance on political institutions to address finitude, contingency and political decay. This reorientation of the role of political theory is one that contemporary political thought and practice inherits from the Florentine Diplomat. She also studies American Political Thought, particularly the relationship between James Madison and Montesquieu, and literature and politics.
Office: Whelan Hall, 16 Stockton Street, 2nd Fl     Tel: (609) 258-7121

GLENN A. MOOTS, 2013-2014 William E. Simon Visiting Fellow in Religion and Public Life, is Professor of Political Science and Philosophy and directs the Forum for Citizenship and Enterprise at Northwood University in Midland, Michigan. He is author of Politics Reformed: The Anglo-American Legacy of Covenant Theology (2010) and has published essays in Perspectives in Political Science, Locke Studies, Hebraic Political Studies, Humanitas and various edited collections. He has review essays published in a number of journals addressing religion, history, and political science. His current research concerns the intersection of religion and politics in colonial America, particularly the use of religious rhetoric and political theology in wars between 1689 and the War for Independence. His current projects include an article on Boston minister Samuel Cooper, an article on the casting of science and progress as religious imperatives during the early Founding, and a book on the American understanding of citizenship and liberty (under contract with Oxford University Press). He recently completed a fellowship at the Huntington Library. He earned his Ph.D. in Political Science from Louisiana State University and has additional graduate degrees in Philosophy, Political Science, and Finance from Louisiana State University and Walsh College.
Office: 209 Bobst Hall, 83 Prospect Avenue     Tel: (609) 258-0071

LUIS A. SILVA, 2013-14 William E. Simon Visiting Fellow in Religion and Public Life, is Professor of Constitutional Law at Universidad de los Andes’ Law School. His areas of expertise are the limits of judicial enforcement of the Constitution and the meaning of the Constitution’s supremacy. He is author of The Judicial Review of the Administrative Decisions, and he is at work on a book on the legal dimension of the Constitution. He has published articles on judicial review, constitutional interpretation, and public moral issues. He has taught for ten years at los Andes’ Law School, where he is currently serving as Director of the Public Law Department. He earned a J.D. from Catholic University of Chile and a Ph. D. in Constitutional Law from Universidad de los Andes.
Office: Whelan Hall, 16 Stockton Street, 2nd Fl     Tel: (609) 258-0694

JAMES R. STONER, Jr.,2013-14 Garwood Visiting Professor and Visiting Fellow, is Professor of Political Science at Louisiana State University. He is the author of Common-Law Liberty: Rethinking American Constitutionalism (Kansas, 2003) and Common Law and Liberal Theory: Coke, Hobbes, and the Origins of American Constitutionalism (Kansas, 1992), as well as a number of articles and essays. A Senior Fellow of the Witherspoon Institute, he has co-edited two books, The Social Costs of Pornography: A Collection of Papers (with Donna M. Hughes, 2010), and Rethinking Business Management: Examining the Foundations of Business Education (with Samuel Gregg, 2007). He served on the National Council on the Humanities from 2002 to 2006, chaired his department at LSU from 2007-2013, and served as acting dean of the LSU Honors College in Fall 2010. He earned a B.A. from Middlebury College and a M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from Harvard University.
Office: 440 Robertson Hall     Tel: (609) 258-2015    

G. ALAN TARR, 2013-14 Ann and Herbert W. Vaughan Visiting Fellow, is Director of the Center for State Constitutional Studies and Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University-Camden. He serves as editor of State Constitutions of the United States, a 50-volume reference series (Oxford University Press). He is co-editor of the three-volume State Constitutions for the Twenty-first Century (State University of New York Press), of Constitutional Dynamics in Federal Systems: Sub-National Perspectives (McGill-Queen’s University Press), of Constitutional Origins, Structure, and Change in Federal Countries (McGill-Queen's University Press), and of Federalism, Subnational Constitutions, and Minority Rights (Praeger). He is the author of Without Fear or Favor: Judicial Independence and Judicial Accountability in the States (Stanford University Press), Understanding State Constitutions (Princeton University Press), and Judicial Process and Judicial Policymaking (Wadsworth); co-author of State Supreme Courts in State and Nation (Yale University Press) and of American Constitutional Law (Westview Press). Three times the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and a former Fulbright Fellow, he has lectured on constitutionalism and federalism throughout the United States and in Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America. He earned his B.A. from the College of the Holy Cross and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.
Office: 005 Bobst Hall, 83 Prospect Avenue     Tel: (609) 258-1648

FRANCISCO JAVIER URBINA, 2013-14 Postdoctoral Research Associate, is a legal scholar whose main areas of research are legal theory, public law, and human rights. His work attempts to explain how human rights law is distinct from other areas of law, and how the moral requirements associated with human rights can be expressed through legal categories, in a way that increases the likelihood that those moral requirements will be respected and promoted. He focuses particularly on the proportionality test, used in many jurisdictions around the world to establish whether a particular measure that engages a human right is justified or not. He received his D. Phil. in Law from the University of Oxford in 2013.
Office: Whelan Hall, 16 Stockton Street, 3rd Fl     Tel: (609) 258-0753