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Candice Travis

Professional Title: 

Graduate Student


Machmer W34-E


Office Hours: 

Fall 2019: Thursdays, 12:00pm-2:00pm, or by appointment


Before coming to UMass Amherst, I earned my BA in Philosophy and Political Science and then my MA in Political Science at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA.

My main interests lie in the History of Political Thought as well as Contemporary Social and Political Theory. My dissertation research addresses the question of how we do democratic politics in the United States from a critical theoretical viewpoint.

I ask specifically: How does the public participate in democracy fundamentally shaped by advanced technological society? I try to make sense of how individuals and groups act and react in the contemporary political moment. My inclination is that there are two defining features of how the public participates in politics: first, the American public is in reality a set of fragmented publics, and second, some of these publics are nostalgic. This nostalgia poses an important set of political problems.

Against nostalgia, I shift my attention to the ways in which publics are constituted for political action. If democratic publics coexist as a set of disparate interests, sensibilities, beliefs, and practices, then in order to understand how exactly democratic publics are constituted, we must look to where their myriad capabilities are developed – that is, within the space and time of education. My response to the political problem of nostalgia, then, is to fashion a political education against nostalgia so as to either undermine or channel the potentially paralytic and manipulative aspects of nostalgia for inclusive, egalitarian, and democratic ends. 

I am also interested more generally in existential philosophy, the philosophy of education, critical pedagogy, critical theory, American political thought, and Marxist thought. Writers who have great influence on my thought include Rousseau, Marcuse, Heidegger, Tocqueville, and Foucault. 


  • Political Science