Timothy Kaufman-Osborn

Timothy Kaufman-Osborne

Office: Memorial Building, room 308, 527-5397, kaufmatv@whitman.edu

Education: Ph.D., Princeton University, Politics, 1982, M.A., Princeton University, Politics, 1980, M.A. University of Wisconsin-Madison, Political Science, 1977, B.A., Oberlin College, Politics, 1976

Major Interests: Political Theory (contemporary continental and American political and social theory; liberalism; pragmatism; feminism; philosophy of social science; technology and politics); and the Politics of Law (civil liberties; constitutional interpretation; capital punishment)

Professor Kaufman-Osborn is the Baker Ferguson Professor of Politics and Leadership at Whitman. His recent publications include:

From Noose to Needle: Capital Punishment and the Late Liberal State From Noose to Needle: Capital Punishment and the Late Liberal State (Michigan University Press, 2002).

From Noose to Needle provides a new perspective on the controversial topic of capital punishment. By asking how the conduct of state killing reveals broader contradictions in the contemporary liberal state, especially, but not exclusively, in the United States, this book moves beyond more familiar legal and sociological approaches to this issue.

creatures of prometheus Creatures of Prometheus: Gender and the Politics of Technology (Rowman & Littlefield, 1997).

Do human beings become creatures of the technology they create? Is gender an artifact of the work performed by such manufactured things? Drawing on a broad variety of literary and philosophical sources, including Homer's Iliad, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, accounts of the 1986 nuclear disaster at Chernobyl, and recent scholarship in feminist, postmodern, and political theory, this book offers original ways for readers to think about technology, gender identity, culture, the environment, politics, and the ways women and men struggle to make sense of the gifts of Prometheus. This book will be of interest to students and scholars of political theory, environmental thought, and gender, cultural, and literary studies.

Politics/Sense/Experience: A Pragmatic Inquiry into the Promise of Democracy (Cornell University Press, 1991)


Whitman College Town-Gown Award, 2001

Robert Fluno Award for Distinguished Teaching in the Social Sciences, 1991

Pi Sigma Alpha Award (best paper delivered at the 1995 meeting of the Western Political Science Association)

Betty Nesvold Women and Politics Award (best paper on women and politics delivered at a 1992 professional meeting)

Burlington Northern Foundation Faculty Achievement Award, 1989

Paul Garrett Fellowship (for excellence in undergraduate teaching), 1985-92


Professor of Politics, Whitman College, 1992-2002

Associate Professor of Politics, Whitman College, 1985-1992

Visiting Scholar, Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan, 1990

Visiting Research Fellow, Princeton University, 1985-86

Assistant Professor of Politics, Whitman College (1982-1985)

Other campus and community involvement

Executive Council, American Political Science Association, 2005-present

President, Western Political Science Association, 2001-03

President, American Civil Liberties Union-Washington, 2002-present

Advisor, Whitman Civil Liberties Union

Member, Steering Committee, Washington Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty


"Gender Trouble at Abu Ghraib?," Politics & Gender, forthcoming.

"A Critique of Contemporary Death Penalty Abolitionism," Punishment & Society, forthcoming.

"Dividing the Domain of Political Science: On the Fetishism of Subfields," Polity 38:1 (January 2006), forthcoming.

"Capital Punishment as Legal Lynching," in From Lynch Mobs to the Killing State: Race and the Death Penalty, Austin Sarat and Charles Ogletree, eds. (New York: New York University Press), forthcoming.

"Regulating Death: Capital Punishment and the Late Liberal State," The Yale Law Journal 111:3 (December 2001), pp. 681-735.

"On the Rationalization of State Violence: Lockean Liberalism and the Noose," in Studies in Law, Politics, and Society, Vol. 22, Austin Sarat and Patricia Ewick, eds., (Stamford, CT: JAI Press, 2001), pp. 3-47.

"What the Law Must Not Hear: On Capital Punishment and the Voice of Pain," in Pain, Death, and the Law, Austin Sarat, ed. (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 2001), pp. 71-102.

"The Metaphysics of the Hangman," in Studies in Law, Politics, and Society, Vol. 20, Austin Sarat and Patricia Ewick, eds., (Stamford, CT: JAI Press, 2000), pp. 35-70.

"Introduction" and "Reviving the Late Liberal State: On Capital Punishment in an Age of Gender Confusion," Symposium on Gender and the Death Penalty, in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture in Society 24:4 (Summer 1999): pp.1097-1102, 1119-29.

"Fashionable Subjects: On Judith Butler and the Causal Idioms of Postmodern Feminist Theory," Political Research Quarterly 50:3 (September 1997), pp. 649-74.

"The Politics of the Enlightenment: A Pragmatist Reconstruction," in Critical Perspectives on Democracy, Lyman Legters, John Burke, and Arthur DiQuattro, eds. (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield 1994).

"Teasing Feminist Sense from Experience," Hypatia 8:2, (Spring 1993), pp. 124-44.

"Rousseau in Kimono: Nakae Chomin and the Japanese Enlightenment," Political Theory 20:1, (February 1992), pp. 53-85.

"From the Science to the Art of Politics," PS: Political Science and Politics 24:2, (June 1991), pp. 204-05.

"Re-Thinking the Political Science Major at Liberal Arts Colleges," PS: Political Science and Politics 23:1, (March 1990), pp. 56-61. Reprinted as "The Birth of a Major" in: Liberal Education 76:4, (September/October 1990), pp. 31-36.

"Politics and the Invention of Reason," Polity 21:4, (Summer 1989), pp. 679-709.

"Modernity and the Myth of Facts: Durkheim on Political Education," Theory and Society 17:1, (January 1988), pp. 121-45.

"Emile Durkheim and the Science of Corporatism," Political Theory 14:4, (November 1986), pp. 638-659.

"Pragmatism, Policy Science, and the State," American Journal of Political Science 29:4, (November 1985), pp. 827-849. Reprinted in: John Dewey: Critical Assessments, Vol. II, J.E. Tiles, ed. (New York: Routledge, 1992), pp. 244-66.

"John Dewey and the Liberal Science of Community," Journal of Politics 46:4, (November 1984), pp. 1142-65.

"The Politics of Social Engineering: A Deweyan Reconstruction," Willamette Journal of the Liberal Arts 1:2, (Spring 1984), pp. 79-101.