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Dr. Marlene K. Sokolon, PhD

Associate Professor, Political Science

Dr. Marlene K. Sokolon, PhD
Office: S-H 1225-31 
Henry F. Hall Building,
1455 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W.
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 5065


Dr. Marlene K. Sokolon obtained her PhD in Political Science from Northern Illinois University. She specializes in ancient Greek political thought but has broad interests in the history of political ideas.  She is especially concerned with the thematic areas such as justice and ethics, political emotions, politics and literature, and political rhetoric and deliberation. Her research focuses on the political significance of the boundaries and points of nexus in traditionally assumed dichotomies, such as reason and emotion, biology and culture, male and female, or poetry and philosophy. Past research has included Aristotelian and other philosophic accounts of political emotions, questions concerning deliberative democracy, political education, and contemporary public policy of breastfeeding practices.

Her current research program focuses on questions related to literature and politics, especially the potential pedagogical contribution of literary genres to democratic stability. She is completing a book manuscript challenging the privileged position of philosophic texts in the history of political thought by exploring the conceptualization of justice in the tragedies of Euripides.

Dr.Sokolon was also the Chair of the Department of Political Science (2014-17) and the Graduate Program Director (2008-2011) during the inauguration of the department's PhD in Political Science. She formerly was a visiting scholar at Centre de Léon Robin, Paris IV/Lettres Sorbonne Université (Paris 2018-19) and the Just World Institute, University of Edinburgh (Edinburgh, 2011-12).


PhD in Political Science (Northern Illinois University)
MA in Political Science (McMaster University)
BA (Great Distinction) in Classics (McGill University)
BA (Honours) in Political Science (Carleton University)

Research interests

Ancient Political Thought (Aristotle, Plato, Euripides, Homer); History of Political Thought; Political Emotions; Rhetoric and Political Deliberation; Politics and Literature; Ethics and Justice; Biology and Culture.

Research activities

Dr. Sokolon’s research has three main pillars. She specializes in ancient Greek political thought and is particularly interested in the contributions of ancient philosophy and literature to enduring political questions and issues of contemporary political theory. As part of this research, she explored the potential role of emotions in political deliberation and socio-ethical decision making. Another line of inquiry concerned the contribution of ancient philosophy to modern theories of deliberative democracy. In this research area she published several articles and book chapters including Political Emotions: Aristotle and the Symphony of Reason and Emotions (Northern Illinois Press, 2006). More recently, she published “It’s All in the Argument: The Agōn in Euripides and Deliberative Democracy” European Legacy (Published online: August 6,2019).

A second pillar focuses on the nexus between culture and biology. In this pillar, Dr. Sokolon explores the ways in which biology and especially modern scientific understandings contribute to as well as undermine cultural norms and our perception of the natural. She is interested, for example, in the ethics and ways in which contemporary advances in biotechnology challenges cultural food preferences. She is also interested in ways that such cultural norms are influenced by policy actors. In this line of research, she co-edited (with colleagues Stephanie Paterson and Francesca Scala) Fertile Ground: Reproduction in Canada (McGill-Queens University Press, 2014).

Dr. Sokolon’s current research focuses on questions related to literature and politics. Inspired by Plato’s suggestion that there is an “ancient quarrel between poetry and philosophy (Republic 706b), she examines the potential wisdom and pedagogy found in ancient storytelling genres such as epic poetry and tragedy as well as the contemporary media of novels, television, and film. She is completing a book-length manuscript on the same question of the Republic – what is justice – from the perspective of the tragedian Euripides. Dr. Sokolon won the best paper award of the American Political Science Association’s Politics and Literature section (2011) for her analysis of Euripides’ Medea. Publications from this project also include co-editing (with colleague Travis D. Smith) the volume Flattering the Demos: Fiction and Democratic Education (Lexington Press, 2018) and several articles and book chapters on the political thought of literary authors such as Euripides, Homer, Shakespeare, and the role of poetry in the Socratic method.

Teaching activities

Undergraduate Courses

POLI 206:              Introduction to Western Political Theory

POLI 306:             Classical Political Texts

POLI 364:             Hellenistic, Roman, and Medieval Political Thought

POLI 416:             Ancient Political Texts 

POLI 490:              Special Topics: The Politics of Literature and Film

POLI 490:              Special Topics: Thinking Theory


Graduate Courses

POLI 623             Ethics, Morality and Justice

POLI 628             Ethics and Values in Public Policy Making

POLI 632/804       Seminar in Political Theory (CORE Course)

POLI635/815H     Biotechnology, Agriculture and Food Policy



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