We foster critical engagement between domains of inquiry in the humanities, the social sciences, and the arts. Our focus is interdisciplinary theoretical research.

1.6/1 Students/Faculty
30 Doctoral Students
100% Research Project Completion
4 Departments
What is Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, And Cultural Thought?

The Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought is often referred to as ASPECT. We are a scholarly alliance among various departments and programs and reside in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. Our students and faculty work closely with other colleges, centers, and academic units at Virginia Tech. Faculty members from multiple fields of study and disciplines are ongoing participants in our curricular programs, day-to-day governance, intellectual life, and mentoring our students.

Why Study Interdisciplinary Ph.D. (ASPECT) Program at Virginia Tech.?

ASPECT is an innovative interdisciplinary Ph.D. program at Virginia Tech. Through its curriculum, research programs, pedagogical endeavors, and scholarly events, ASPECT brings together theoretical and empirical cross-disciplinary methodologies, concepts, salient issues, and analytical perspectives generated by ethical thought, cultural studies, political economy, social and political theory, intellectual history, critical world order studies, and aesthetics, performance arts and visual studies.

Recent Doctoral Research Topics

"The construction of conservative counter-narratives in reactions to consensus liberalism in the United States since the 1950s"

"Violent actors and embedded power: an analysis of Jamaican dons in garrison communities"

“The politics of listening and phenomenology of acoustic spaces”

"Rethinking uncertainty: Spinoza and Hume on shaping uncertain secular futures"

"Governing natures, sustaining degradation: an eco-governmental critique of the Deepwater Horizon disaster"

"Circuits of power in Alabama's immigration politics: labor justice and corporate social responsibility"

"Brown skin, white dreams: pigmentocracy in India"

"Brazil comes to the future: living time and space in the international order of competition"

"Making Mongols: representations of culture, identity, and resistance"

"Marriage, the family, and security in Israel: the paradox of the liberal state"

Related Programs

Ph.D. Students Research Highlights


SPECTRA is an online, double blind reviewed, refereed scholarly journal established as part of the ASPECT (Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought) program at Virginia Tech. The journal features work of an interdisciplinary nature and is designed to provide an academic forum to showcase research, explore controversial topics, and take intellectual risks. SPECTRA welcomes submissions for publication by way of articles, book reviews, interviews, and other works that operate within a problem centered, theory driven framework.

The Minnesota Review

Publishing contemporary poetry and fiction as well as reviews, critical commentary, and interviews of leading intellectual figures, the Minnesota review curates smart yet accessible collections of progressive new work. This eclectic survey provides lively and sophisticated signposts to navigating current critical discourse. The review maintain its tradition of exploring the most exciting literary and critical developments for both specialists and a general audience. 

Interested in learning theoretical and empirical cross-disciplinary methodologies, concepts, salient issues, cultural studies, political economy, intellectual history, critical world order studies, and aesthetics, performance arts and visual studies?

Prospective students, please call  at 540-231-0694 or email: aspect@vt.edu

Visit our office at 202 Major Williams, Blacksburg, VA 24061 

Deadline for Application

*Fall: February 1

*ASPECT accepts applications ONLY for Fall terms. We do not accept students in Spring, Summer I or Summer II terms.


François Debrix, Director (ASPECT)
Professor of Political Science
202 Major Williams (0192)

Tamara Sutphin, Program Support Technician
202 Major Williams(0192)