Skip To Content Skip To Menu Skip To Footer
Coronavirus Update

For the latest FAQs, health and safety plans, links to the dashboard and more, visit the Campus Reopening page.

Campus Reopening Page.


Faculty Profile

Kathryn Heard

Assistant Professor of Political Science (2018)

Contact Information

heardk@dickinson.edu

Denny Hall Room 210
717.254.8051

Bio

Professor Heard's research and teaching interests are in political theory and American constitutional jurisprudence, with specialized interests in secularism and religious pluralism; theories of democracy, justice, and affect; feminist thought; critical race theory; capital punishment; and equal protection law. Her work crosses disciplinary boundaries in order to illuminate: how the study of political theory can be generative of tangible law and policy recommendations, how bringing an historical eye to contemporary issues can illuminate latent political injuries or social inequalities, and how promoting pedagogical diversity can foster an inclusive and dynamic classroom. Professor Heard's work has been published in the Journal of Law, Culture, and the Humanities as well as an edited volume on transatlantic approaches to the abolition of capital punishment. Her research has been supported by the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion, the Berkeley Empirical Legal Studies Fellowship, the Mellon Discovery Fellowship at the Townsend Center for the Humanities, and the William K. Coblentz Center for Civil Rights. Prior to her arrival at Dickinson, she was a visiting scholar at the Center for the Study of Law & Society.

Education

  • B.A., Whitman College, 2006
  • M.Sc., London School of Economics and Political Science 2007
  • Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 2020

2019-2020 Academic Year

Spring 2020

LAWP 248 The Judiciary
Cross-listed with POSC 248-01.

POSC 248 The Judiciary
Cross-listed with LAWP 248-01.

POSC 390 Democracy and Disobedience
Cross-listed with LAWP 400-01. Do we have an obligation to obey the laws enacted by our government? If democracy is understood to be government “by and for the people,” what do we owe to the state and our peers? Are we morally obligated to obey laws that we consider unjust? And, if the laws are indeed deemed unjust, what kinds of disobedience to them are justified? By way of considering answers to these questions, this course will engage with a range of classic and contemporary texts from philosophers, legal actors, and practitioners of disobedience on such themes as obligation, justice, non-violent versus violent action, coercion, responsibility, authority, and liberty. We will consider foundational texts from thinkers like Plato, John Locke, and John Stuart Mill, and we will devote significant time to analyzing tangible moments of democratically-oriented disobedience, including: the American Revolution (which will feature the popular musical Hamilton, the Federalist papers, and the 19th century writings of Henry David Thoreau), the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s (which will draw from the speeches and writings of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and free speech leaders like Mario Savio), the Feminist Movement (which will incorporate writings from historical figures like Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony), and the present (which will examine the Supreme Court’s recent decisions on hate speech, the rise of the Black Lives Matter Movement, and popular responses to Donald Trump’s Executive Orders). Each of these moments will serve as “test cases” for thinking about expanding, altering, or otherwise rehabilitating the political and legal conditions of participatory and representative democracy. When and where appropriate, students can expect to observe or analyze the coverage of protests.

LAWP 400 Democracy and Disobedience
Cross-listed with POSC 390-04. Do we have an obligation to obey the laws enacted by our government? If democracy is understood to be government “by and for the people,” what do we owe to the state and our peers? Are we morally obligated to obey laws that we consider unjust? And, if the laws are indeed deemed unjust, what kinds of disobedience to them are justified? By way of considering answers to these questions, this course will engage with a range of classic and contemporary texts from philosophers, legal actors, and practitioners of disobedience on such themes as obligation, justice, non-violent versus violent action, coercion, responsibility, authority, and liberty. We will consider foundational texts from thinkers like Plato, John Locke, and John Stuart Mill, and we will devote significant time to analyzing tangible moments of democratically-oriented disobedience, including: the American Revolution (which will feature the popular musical Hamilton, the Federalist papers, and the 19th century writings of Henry David Thoreau), the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s (which will draw from the speeches and writings of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and free speech leaders like Mario Savio), the Feminist Movement (which will incorporate writings from historical figures like Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony), and the present (which will examine the Supreme Court’s recent decisions on hate speech, the rise of the Black Lives Matter Movement, and popular responses to Donald Trump’s Executive Orders). Each of these moments will serve as “test cases” for thinking about expanding, altering, or otherwise rehabilitating the political and legal conditions of participatory and representative democracy. When and where appropriate, students can expect to observe or analyze the coverage of protests.