Dr. John R. Pottenger

Professor, Political Science


1310 Ben Graves Drive
Morton Hall
Room 278J
Huntsville, AL 35899
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Dr. John Pottenger has been a National Endowment for the Humanities research fellow at UCLA and UC Berkeley on the philosophy and history of the scientific revolution; a Mellon Foundation seminar director at the College of William and Mary on liberation theology; a guest speaker at Moscow State University, USSR, on American political science; a visiting professor at the Romanian-American University in Bucharest on public policy and democracy; a guest lecturer at the Institute for World Economy of the Romanian Academy on American politics; and a lecturer and workshop facilitator for the U.S. Department of State in Egypt, the Russian Federation, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan on civil society.

Dr. Pottenger's research focuses on theoretical issues in classical Platonic philosophy, modern political theory, contemporary political theology, religion and civil society, radical theories of hermeneutics, and Marxist class analysis. To date, he has published three books: The Political Theory of Liberation Theology: Toward a Reconvergence of Social Values and Social Science (State University of New York Press, 1989), Reaping the Whirlwind: Liberal Democracy and the Religious Axis (Georgetown University Press, 2007), and, his newest book, Philosophical Foundations of the Religious Axis: Religion, Politics, and American Political Architecture (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020). He has also contributed numerous articles to edited volumes and journals, including work published in Interpretation: A Journal of Political Philosophy, Central Asian Survey, International Journal of Social Economics, and American Review of Politics, among others.

Curriculum Vitae


  • Ph.D., Political Philosophy, University of Maryland
  • M.A., Political Theory, Arizona State University
  • B.A., Political Science, Arizona State University


  • American Philosophical Association
  • American Political Science Association (sections: Foundations of Political Theory; Religion and Politics)
  • Association for Political Theory
  • International Society for the Study of New Religions
  • Karl Jaspers Society of North America
  • Society for Greek Political Thought
  • Society for Medieval Logic and Metaphysics


  • Analytical Political Philosophy
  • Classical, Medieval, and Modern Political Philosophy
  • Political Theology and Hermeneutics
  • Religion and Politics
  • Public Policy and Ethics

Recent Publications

  • "Averroes and Medieval Rationalism: Toward Religious Pluralism of the Modern Era." In The Pilgrimage of Philosophy: A Festschrift for Charles E. Butterworth, eds. René M. Paddags, Waseem El-Rayes, and Gregory A. McGrayer, 222-39. South Bend, Indiana: St. Augustine’s Press, 2019.

  • "The Intellectual Foundation and Political Construction of American Religious Pluralism," in The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Religion and Politics in the U.S., ed. Barbara A. McGraw, 18-32. U.K.: Wiley-Blackwell, 2016.

  • "Millennial Groups and American Pluralism." In The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Religion and Politics in the U.S., edited by Barbara A. McGraw, 113-25. Chichester, United Kingdom: John Wiley & Sons, 2016. DOI: 10.1002/9781118528631. ch10

  • "The Mormon Religion, Cultural Challenges, and the Good Society." In Taking Religious Pluralism Seriously: Spiritual Politics on America’s Sacred Ground, edited by Barbara A. McGraw and Jo Renee Formicola, 103-26. Waco, Texas: Baylor University Press, 2005.

  • "Islam and Ideology in Central Asia," in Islam in World Politics, eds. Nelly Lahoud and Anthony H. Johns, 127-51. London: Routledge, 2005.

  • "Civil Society, the Economy, and Educational Assistance in Former Soviet Republics." International Journal of Public Administration 27, nos. 11 and 12 (2004): 851-68. DOI: 10.1081/PAD-200037351

  • "Civil Society, Religious Freedom, and Islam Karimov: Uzbekistan’s Struggle for a Decent Society," Central Asian Survey 23 (March 2004): 55-77.

  • "Elder Dallin H. Oaks: The Mormons, Politics and Family Values." In Religious Leaders and Faith-Based Politics: Ten Profiles, edited by Jo Renee Formicola and Hubert Morken, 71-87. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2001.

  • "Religion, Politics, and the Challenge of Political Hermeneutics," American Review of Politics 18 (Summer 1997): 121-36.

  • "Liberation Theology, Prophetic Politics, and Radical Social Critique: Quo Vadis?" In Let Justice Roll: Prophetic Challenges in Religion, Politics, and Society, edited by Neal Riemer, 133-53. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 1996.