Michelle T. Clarke

Associate Professor of Government

My research focuses on the history of republican political thought, and especially debates about the meaning of liberty in ancient Rome and Renaissance Italy.  I have a particular interest in Machiavelli's contribution to these debates, as well as his enduring legacy in the modern political tradition.  I'm drawn to Machiavelli's political thought because it reflects my own sense that political theory, done properly, refuses to abstract from the messy, inconvenient, and often distasteful realities of political life.  For Machiavelli, as for me, the work of political theory is to guide us through this world, mindful of the possibility that it may speak to us in a different voice than moral philosophy.  I also think a lot about why it's important to study political ideas historically and how to do that well.

Silsby 205
HB 6108
Department(s): 
Government
Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Education: 
B.A. Tufts University
M.A. Yale University
M. Phil. Yale University
Ph.D. Yale University

Selected Publications

Michelle T. Clarke.  Machiavelli’s Florentine Republic  (Cambridge University Press, 2018).

Michelle T. Clarke.  “Machiavelli: Menace to Societas” in The Ciceronian Tradition in Political Theory, ed. Daniel Kapust and Gary Remer.  University of Minnesota Press.  Forthcoming.

Michelle T. Clarke.  “Machiavelli’s Political Thought,”  Oxford Bibliographies in Political Science (with Vickie Sullivan), 27 July 2016.

Michelle T. Clarke.  “Machiavelli and the Imagined Rome of Renaissance Humanism,” History of Political Thought 36, no 3 (2015): 452-470.

Michelle T. Clarke. “Doing Violence to the Roman Idea of Liberty?  Freedom as Bodily Integrity in Roman Political Thought,” History of Political Thought 35, no. 2 (2014): 211 – 233.

Michelle T. Clarke.  “The Mythologies of Contextualism: Method and Judgment in Skinner’s Visions of Politics,” Political Studies 61, no. 4 (2013): 317-329.

Michelle T. Clarke.  “The Virtues of Republican Citizenship in Machiavelli’s Discourses on Livy,” Journal of Politics 75, no. 2 (2013): 317 – 329.

Michelle T. Clarke.  “On the Woman Question in Machiavelli,” Review of Politics 67, no. 2 (2005): 229 – 256.

Michelle T. Clarke. “Uprooting Nebuchadnezzar’s Tree: Bacon’s Criticism of Machiavellian Imperialism,” Political Research Quarterly 61, no. 3 (2008): 367 – 378.

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Works in progress

My current book project explores the problem of political ambition in Machiavelli, Lucretius, and Cicero.