Visiting & Postdoctoral Fellows

Each year the Program invites scholars with established records as well as scholars who have recently received their doctorates to apply for appointments as Visiting Fellows, Associate Research Scholars, and Postdoctoral Research Associates. Scholars in the James Madison Program pursue their own research and writing, participate in courses, seminars and colloquia, and contribute to the intellectual life of the Department of Politics and Princeton University.

Current Visiting Fellows

Megan Brand
2023-24 Thomas W. Smith Postdoctoral Research Associate

Megan Brand is a 2023-24 Thomas W. Smith Postdoctoral Research Associate with the James Madison Program. Prior to this, she was the Postdoctoral Fellow at the Christopher Browne Center for International Politics at the University of Pennsylvania. She researches foreign policy strategy and comparative constitutionalism. Her first book project examines the strategic development of international refugee law in the U.S., Middle East, and Europe.

While at the Madison Program, she will work on a natural law theory of international law. She will also continue policy research on national security of water law in the U.S. She has been a Marshall Scholar, Truman Scholar, NSEP Boren Scholar, Morgenthau Fellow, and Critical Language Scholar. Prior to doctoral studies, she worked as a consultant to UNHCR’s Division of International Protection and in philanthropic strategy.

She received her PhD in Politics from Princeton University, MSc in Forced Migration from the University of Oxford, an MSc in Middle East Politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies, and BS in Economics and BA in Political Science from her hometown area, Arizona State University.

John M. Breen
2023-24 Visiting Fellow

John M. Breen serves as the Georgia Reithal Professor of Law at Loyola University Chicago School of Law. John received his BA with highest honors from the University of Notre Dame where he read the Great Books in the Program of Liberal Studies. He received his JD from Harvard University where he was a member of the Law School’s Board of Student Advisors. After law school John clerked for Hon. Boyce F. Martin, Jr., of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He then practiced law at Sidley & Austin in Chicago where he specialized in commercial litigation.

At Loyola, John teaches courses in contracts, commercial law, professional responsibility, jurisprudence and Catholic social thought and the law. His published articles and other works have addressed such topics as commercial law, statutory interpretation, legal ethics, Catholic social teaching, legal education, law and religion, and abortion. He is currently working to complete a book on the history of Catholic law schools in the United States.

Kevin J. Burns
2023-24 Visiting Fellow

Kevin J. Burns is associate professor of Political Science and director of the Tocqueville Forum on Liberal Democracy at Christendom College. His research focuses on American political thought and constitutionalism. He is the author of William Howard Taft’s Constitutional Progressivism (University Press of Kansas, 2021), co-editor (with Mary and David Nichols) of Readings in American Government, and co-editor (with Jordan Cash) of Congressional Deliberation: Major Debates, Speeches, and Writings, 1776-2021 (forthcoming, Hackett). His current project is a study of constitutional logic and institutional design at the American Founding. He received his Ph.D. and MA from Baylor University and his BA from the University of Dallas.

Keegan Callanan
2023-24 Forbes Visiting Research Collaborator; Associate Professor of Political Science, Middlebury College

Keegan Callanan is an associate professor of political science at Middlebury College, where he teaches the history of political philosophy and contemporary political theory. His primary research is in modern political thought, democratic theory, and the origins of American institutions. He is author of Montesquieu's Liberalism and the Problem of Universal Politics (Cambridge, 2018) and co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to Montesquieu (under contract, Cambridge). His current research focuses on Alexis de Tocqueville and liberal political theory. His writing has appeared in publications such as History of Political Thought, Political Research Quarterly, and the Wall Street Journal.

Mr. Callanan has held visiting fellowships at Princeton University's James Madison Program and at the University of Virginia. He is founding director of the Alexander Hamilton Forum at Middlebury and a member of the National Council on the Humanities. A graduate of Bowdoin College, Mr. Callanan received his MA and PhD from Duke University.  

Michael R. Gonzalez
2023-24 Thomas W. Smith Postdoctoral Research Associate

Michael R. Gonzalez received his Ph.D. in political science from Baylor University, where he also served as Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow for the Baylor Honors College. His dissertation, entitled The Political Necessity of Religion, contrasted the political and theological thought of Lucretius, St. Augustine, and Thomas Hobbes on the proper role of religion in political life. Stemming from this doctoral research, his scholarship extends from the late classical to the early modern, examining the relationship between spiritual and political authority.

Through the Madison Program he is working on a book manuscript that elucidates Hobbes’s conflict with Augustine’s political theology and its medieval interpreters. Additionally, Michael is interested in the philosophical debates of late republican Rome, especially as seen in the writings of Lucretius, Cicero, Virgil, and Sallust.

Michael published his MA thesis, which assessed the development of the law of nations in classical and medieval thought, in the edited volume Polis, Nation, Global Community. This paper won the Frances V. Harbour Graduate Student Paper Award in International Ethics from the International Studies Association. His writings have appeared in Interpretation, Public Discourse, and The Catholic Thing.

Scott Hagan
2023-24 Visiting Research Collaborator

Scott A. Hagan received his Ph.D. in Leadership Studies from Gonzaga University. He received his MA in Organizational Leadership from Azusa Pacific University.

After a lengthy career as a pastor and educator, Scott Hagan was named in 2017 as the 7th President of North Central University in Minneapolis, MN, where he served until 2023. Hagan currently serves as a distinguished board member for the William Seymour Institute in Boston. The Seymour Institute serves clergy, faith leaders, and scholars who explore issues confronting the Black church (and the greater church at large) with respect to religion, conscience, and faith. Current Seymour projects include launching the Black Church Commission on Bioethics, Human Life, and Marriage. The Seymour Institute played a key role in organizing the international symposium on marriage and the family hosted by the Vatican. Scott Hagan also serves on the Board of Scholars for the International Version Bible (ISV) which is currently under development. 

Through the Madison Program, Hagan is working on research that investigates the prosocial and antisocial imaginations in the United States when it comes to race and the effectiveness of governmental and religious institutions in meeting those demands.

Aaron Herold
2023-24 Visiting Fellow

Aaron Herold is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at SUNY Geneseo, where he is also the coordinator of Legal Studies and the co-director of the Forum on Constitutionalism and Democracy. He teaches courses on ancient and modern political philosophy, as well as on American constitutional law and judicial politics. His research focuses on the American constitutional tradition, the political philosophy of the liberal Enlightenment, and the thought of Alexis de Tocqueville—especially as these pertain to questions about the public role of religion and the separation of church and state.

He is the author of The Democratic Soul: Spinoza, Tocqueville, and Enlightenment Theology (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2021), and his work has also appeared in the American Political Science ReviewPolitical Research QuarterlyThe Review of Politics, and Perspectives on Political Science. While at Princeton, he will be working on a second book examining the ascendancy of revolutionary thinking—the idea that social and political institutions should be evaluated, reformed, and perhaps even remade from whole cloth, without regard for existing customs and institutions—in modern democracy.

Aaron has held faculty positions at Boston College, Rhodes College, the University of Richmond, and the College of the Holy Cross. He has a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin, an M.A. from the University of Toronto, and a B.A. from Emory University.

Zena Hitz
2023-24 Visiting Fellow

Zena Hitz is a Tutor at St. John's College in Annapolis, where she teaches across the liberal arts. Her book Lost In Thought: The Hidden Pleasures of an Intellectual Life (2020) has become standard reading for those seeking to revive liberal education in the face of the challenges of the moment. Translations of Lost in Thought have appeared in Farsi, Japanese, Spanish, and Turkish, and are forthcoming in Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, Catalan, Chinese, and Vietnamese.  In 2020, she received the Hiett Prize in the Humanities and founded the Catherine Project, an open liberal arts program for adults.

Hitz also writes for general audiences about the human questions at the core of revealed religion, as especially in her recent book, A Philosopher Looks at the Religious Life (2023). Her essays have been published in Chronicle Review, Commonweal, First Things, New Statesman, Plough, Tablet (UK), and the Washington Post. In the academic year 2023-24, she is jointly affiliated in the Madison Program and in the Princeton Project in Philosophy and Religion. She will be working on the philosophical distinction between knowledge and belief, in an effort to clarify and deepen the themes of Lost In Thought and their origins in her native field of scholarship, the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle.

Hugh Liebert
2023-24 Visiting Fellow

Hugh Liebert is Professor of Political Science, Director of the West Point Graduate Scholarship Program, and Co-Director of the American Foundations minor at the United States Military Academy. A graduate of Harvard University (BA) and the University of Chicago (PhD), he has taught at West Point since 2011. Dr. Liebert is the author or editor of seven books, including Plutarch’s Politics (2016), which won the Delba Winthrop Award for Excellence in Political Science, and Gibbon’s Christianity (2022).

A specialist on the history of political thought, he has also written widely on American politics and foreign policy. He has co-edited Thinking Beyond Boundaries: Transnational Challenges to U.S. Foreign Policy (2014), American Grand Strategy and the Future of U.S. Land Power (2014), and Executive Power in Theory and Practice (2012). His articles and essays have appeared in the Wall Street JournalTexas National Security ReviewThe PointClaremont Review of Books, and First Things. Dr. Liebert is currently working on several essays about Edward Gibbon’s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and a book manuscript on localism in American political thought.

Anthony Marsh
2023-24 John and Daria Barry Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Anthony “AJ” Marsh’s research at the James Madison Program centers on natural rights in the thought of Thomas Aquinas. He specializes in Thomistic ethics and metaphysics, as well as the philosophy of religion, especially the ethics and epistemology present in the mysticism of Teresa of Ávila. His dissertation, “Misery and Its Escape: Thomas Aquinas and Teresa of Ávila on the Bad Life,” examined how those thinkers define and treat the failure to attain happiness, i.e., human flourishing.

Marsh holds a PhD in philosophy from Columbia University, and an AB in philosophy from Brown University.

Oliver Traldi
2023-24 John and Daria Barry Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Oliver Traldi is an epistemologist by training and primarily interested in political beliefs and political disagreement in theory and practice. His research covers the psychology of political beliefs, the interpretation of political disputes, the epistemology of democracy, and questions about whether our political beliefs are rational. His first book, Political Beliefs: A Philosophical Introduction, is under contract with Routledge, and he is working on large projects on political realism and on the epistemology of liberalism.

He holds a B.A. in classics from Bard College, an M.A. in philosophy from Tufts University, and a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame.

Ian Tuttle
2023-24 John and Daria Barry Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Ian Tuttle’s research focuses on the intersection of contemporary poetics, politics, and metaphysics. His dissertation, “The Hint Half Guessed, the Gift Half Understood: The Disclosure of the Person in T.S. Eliot,” argues that the person, who in his very reality is transcendence, is the heretofore unnoticed heart of Eliot’s artistic and political vision. Ian holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Political Theory from the Catholic University of America, where he was also a Graduate Fellow at the Institute for Human Ecology. He holds a B.A. in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College (Annapolis, MD). In addition to his academic work, Ian served from 2017 to 2023 as a speechwriter in the U.S. Senate.

2023-24 Postdoctoral Research Associate

Habi received her Ph.D. in political science from Purdue University and Master’s in Public Policy from Pepperdine University. She is originally from China. Her primary research area is comparative political theory. Her study interests include totalitarianism, totalitarian ideologies, and the comparison of political cultures between the West and China. She is also interested in quantitative methodology and its application to research on political behavior and political psychology.

In her spare time, Habi writes commentaries on politics and culture. While at the James Madison Program, she will adapt her dissertation into a book. Her dissertation, “The Confucian Road to Totalitarianism: How Confucianism Predisposed the Chinese to Totalitarian Rule,” challenges the conventional wisdom of research methods, arguments, and conclusions in the literature of totalitarianism, Confucianism, and Chinese politics.