Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought

(Ph.D. in Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought)

Campus: Virginia Tech Blacksburg Campus

Instructions: Residential/On Campus 

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 

Student-faculty ratio

30

 Doctoral Students

100% 

Research Project Completion

Departments

Our Doctoral Program in 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.

The Ph.D. program in social, political, ethical and cultural thought (ASPECT) prepares graduate students to undertake problem‐centered interdisciplinary analysis informed by social, political, ethical and cultural thought. You'll conduct doctoral-level scholarly research and participate in graduate seminars, workshops, conferences, and lectures focusing on new and exciting theoretical and practical problems situated at the intersections of political theory, ethical philosophy, cultural studies, and intellectual history. The Ph.D. curriculum concentrates on methodological and theoretical issues, as well as on domains where social, political, ethical, and cultural thought are put to work in understanding social and individual transformations in contemporary and historical contexts. 

You will complete 12 credit hours of core studies in interdisciplinary courses offered by alliance for social, political, ethical, and cultural thought including Interdisciplinary approaches in social, political, ethical, and political thought, interdisciplinary perspectives in methodology, interdisciplinary frameworks in social, political, ethical, and political thought and professional development. 

You will also study 6 credit hours of theory informed reflection on methodological issues spanning the social and human sciences and the arts is central to ASPECT Ph.D. research. 

ASPECT degree students will have choice to select below concentration options and they will complete 12 credit hours in major field; 9 credit hours in minor field of concentrations. Each category includes courses appropriate to a particular concentration. Yet, the courses are drawn from a variety of departments and disciplines so that each concentration can reflect the interdisciplinarity that is a hallmark of the ASPECT degree.

Pre-matriculation: Master’s degree required in a relevant field of study.

  • Year 1:
    Admission into ASPECT doctoral program.
    First year of coursework (includes core requirements and electives).
    Begin engagement with literatures and theoretical materials pertinent to dissertation project.
    Start to develop dissertation project and doctoral dissertation committee.
  • Year 2:
    Completion of coursework.
    Prepare for preliminary examination.
    Finalize dissertation committee.
    Work on dissertation proposal.
  • Year 3:
    Complete preliminary exams and dissertation proposal.
    Conduct research for dissertation and write dissertation chapters.
  • Year 4:
    Complete and defend doctoral dissertation.

Graduate Teaching Assistantship 

The alliance for social, political, ethical, and cultural thought offers Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) funding to full time Ph.D. students only. Entering students can apply for such funding as part of their admissions application. You are encourage to look for other funding options listed on our scholarships and awards page. 

ASPECT CORE FACULTY / ASPECT AFFILIATE FACULTY

Research Interests

  • France and French empire
  • India and Indian Ocean
  • Colonialism
  • Global trade
  • Legal history

Danna Agmon

Danna Agmon
Danna Agmon, Assistant Professor of History and ASPECT

Research Interests

  • Colonial Spanish 
  • America Environmental Political Theory 
  • History of Political Thought
  • International Relations Theory 
  • Nature and Empire

Mauro Caraccioli

Danna Agmon
Mauro Caraccioli, Assistant Professor of Political Science and ASPECT

Research Interests

  • Comparative Politics 
  • Government 
  • Media Effects 
  • Politics 
  • Popular Culture

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François Debrix

François Debrix
François Debrix, Professor of Political Science and ASPECT

Research Interests

  • Political Theory 
  • Politics And Religion
  • Terrorism 
  • Violence

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Research Interests

  • Distributive Justice 
  • Global Justice 
  • Political Economy 
  • Public Reason Tradition 
  • Social Contract Theory

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Michael Moehler

Michael Moehler
Michael Moehler, Associate Professor of Philosophy and ASPECT

Research Interests

  • Egypt 
  • Islamism 
  • Constitutions 
  • Political thought 
  • Religion and culture

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Rachel M. Scott

Rachel M. Scott
Rachel M. Scott, Associate Professor of Religion and Culture and ASPECT

Research Interests

  • East African history 
  • Kenyan history 
  • Refugees

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Brett L. Shadle

Brett L. Shadle
Brett L. Shadle, Assistant Professor of History and ASPECT

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
  • 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.

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.

CONTACT US

François Debrix, Director (ASPECT)
Professor of Political Science
202 Major Williams (0192)
540-231-0694
aspect@vt.edu

Tamara Sutphin, Program Support Technician
202 Major Williams(0192)
540-231-0698
tsutphin@vt.edu

Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought
202 Major Williams (0192)
540-231-0698
aspect@vt.edu