Politics Faculty

Dean P Mathiowetz
  • Title
    • Associate Professor
  • Division Social Sciences Division
  • Department
    • Politics Department
  • Affiliations Classical Studies, History of Consciousness Department
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Fax
  • Website
  • Office Location
    • Merrill College Academic Building, 112
  • Office Hours Thursdays, 2-3:30 and by appointment, Zoom link above
  • Mail Stop Merrill/Crown Faculty Services
  • Mailing Address
    • 1156 High Street
    • Santa Cruz CA 95064
  • Faculty Areas of Expertise Political Theory, History of Philosophy, Capitalism, Democracy
  • Courses Politics 105A: Ancient Political Thought, Politics 115: Foundations of Political Economy, Politics 205: Critical Perspectives on Classical Pol Econ, Politics 4: Citizenship and Action

Summary of Expertise

Democratic theory; language and affect; capitalism, commercial society, and their transformations; politics of Buddhist modernism; pleasure and political subjectivity 

Research Interests

Dean Mathiowetz is a political theorist whose pedagogy and writings address a broad range of topics: democratic theory; theories of affect and new materialisms; classical and critical political economy; ancient political thought; Buddhist modernism as political thought and practice; conceptual history, philosophy of language, hermeneutics, and problems of interpretation.

Mathiowetz is currently engaged in two areas of research. The first brings attention to affect, the body, and pleasure back into discourses of political economy---with luxury as a focal concept for these studies. This project seeks to expand political theory's awareness of and capacity to handle people's attachments to inequality and hierarchy. Mathiowetz's other current project explores Buddhist modernism in relation to democratic theory.

Mathiowetz's first book, Appeals to Interest: Language, Contestation, and the Shaping of Political Agency (Penn State Univ Press, 2011), has been reviewed in Perspectives on Politics, Theory & Event, Political Studies Review, Political Theory, and other leading journals. He is editor of and contributor to Hanna Fenichel Pitkin: Politics, Judgement, Action, a volume in Routledge's series, Innovators in Political Thought (2016), and numerous articles and interviews, linked below.

Biography, Education and Training

Ph.D., Political Science. University of California at Berkeley, 2003
M.A., Political Science. University of California at Berkeley, 1996
B.A. Summa Cum Laude, Economics and Political Science. University of Minnesota, 1995

Honors, Awards and Grants

Excellence in Teaching Award, 2006

Excellence in Teaching Award, 2016

Selected Publications

Selected Presentations

"Meditation's Political Potential," an interview with C. S. Soong, Against the Grain, KPFA (Pacifica Radio), July 11, 2016

Teaching Interests


If you would like to talk to me about arranging independent study or a senior thesis, have a look at these Guidelines for Independent Study. They describe what I consider when deciding whether to supervise a project, my expectations and limitations regarding the nature and scope of the work, how I handle independent study credit associated with internships, and senior thesis projects.


If you are seeking, or anticipate seeking, of a letter of recommendation from me, please consult my protocol for letters of recommendation. There you can read about when it's appropriate for me to write a letter, when your request should come, what materials I need in order to write the letter, and when I should receive them.