John Robichaux (Doctoral Candidate, Harvard University) is Senior Assistant Dean at Stanford University.
His academic research specializes in contemporary Politics, Ethics and Religion, with particular focus on International Relations and Human Rights.
Research and Teaching:
John's research and teaching interests are in ethics in international relations, human rights, religion and politics, and conflict studies.
Courses Recently Taught:
- International Conflict and Cooperation (graduate and undergraduate)
- Ethics and International Relations (graduate and undergraduate)
- Introduction to Justice and Rights (graduate and undergraduate)
- Global Resource Conflict (undergraduate)
- International Politics (undergraduate)
- Religion and Society in Latin America (undergraduate)
- Introduction to International Relations (graduate and undergraduate)
Within Ethics, Politics, Religion, Robichaux focuses in three areas of specialization (AOS): religion and political theory; ethics and international relations, including religion and human rights, war & conflict; and theology and politics. While at Harvard, he taught in the undergraduate and graduate programs for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (Religion, Government and Anthropology departments), the Divinity School and the Division of Continuing Education. He also taught and advised in a number of areas of competency (AOC) within Religion and Society in addition to his specialization in Ethics, Politics, Religion.
Robichaux's field research includes time in Beijing, China; Cochabama, Bolivia; Quetzaltenango, Guatemala; and San Salvador, El Salvador (under Jon Sobrino).
He served as Reviewer/Editorial Assistant in the areas of ethics, politics, religion and society, and philosophy of religion for Harvard Theological Review in 2007-2011.
"Democracy, Power and Religion: Power and Domination in the Liberal Democratic Theory of John Rawls and John Courtney Murray" (Committee: Francis Schüssler Fiorenza, adviser, Ronald Thiemann and J. Bryan Hehir)
Précis: This dissertation interrogates 20th Century liberal democratic theory on religion in the public sphere, specifically in the works of John Rawls (social contract theory) and John Courtney Murray (natural law theory). It considers what the later proposals of Murray and Rawls reveal regarding the relationship between religion and liberal democracy, arguing that their work does not, ultimately, preclude power and domination. Instead, power and domination remain ineradicable at two fundamental levels: the formation of, and subsequent consent to, the basic political arrangement and the particular interpretations of the basic political principles. On balance, Rawls and Murray’s theories are not as accommodating toward religion as they (and many of their interpreters) claim, but are properly described as having a tri-fold relationship toward religion, comprised of permissive, restrictive and exclusionary dimensions, depending on the particular religious manifestation in question. In this tri-fold relationship, one finds that power and domination, and the conflicts that arise on account of them, are never eliminated from the encounter between religion and liberal democratic public life, despite liberal democracy’s attempts to do so, but remain inescapably present in these landmark liberal democratic approaches to religion. In concluding, I sketch what an alternative view of the relationship between religion and democracy might look like, in light of the forgoing analysis, the proposed tri-fold relationship between religion and liberal democracy, and drawing on the relevant critiques of anti-foundational pragmatism (Richard Rorty) and agonistic democratic thought (Chantal Mouffe).
Some of the proposed benefits of this alternative relationship include: moving beyond the inclusivist-exclusivist debates regarding religion in public life that dominated the 1990s and early 2000s; bringing a more complex view of religion into the discussions of political theory; and offering a clear reasoning for the differential treatment of various religious beliefs in liberal democracy; among others.
Key Terms: Religion; Democracy; John Rawls; John Courtney Murray; Liberal Democratic Theory; Power; Domination; Agonistic Democracy; Anti-Foundationalism; Religion in Public Life; Religion and Conflict
"The Religiosity of the Secular and the Secularity of the Religious," Refereed Conference Paper. American Academy of Religion, Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA, November 2011.
"Religion, Rights, and Democracy," Refereed Conference Paper. The American Political Science Association, Annual Meeting, Seattle, WA, September 2011.
"Democracy, Power and Religion: Power and Domination in the Liberal Democratic Theory of Rawls and Murray," Refereed Conference Paper. 10th Annual Department of Religion Symposium, Discourses of Ritual and Power, Florida State University, 2011. (Best Paper Award Winner.)
"Life, Death and Salvation in El Salvador: Reflections on the 25th Anniversary of Archbishop Oscar Romero’s Martyrdom and the 15th Anniversary of the Jesuit Martyrs," Invited Public Lecture, Brown University, 2006.
"'Martyrs for Truth': Ignacio Ellacuria and the Jesuit Martyrs of El Salvador," Invited Public Lecture, Brown University, 2006.
"Religious Pluralism and Democratic Practice," Invited Public Lecture, Brown University, 2006.
Robichaux's work has been recognized by organizations as diverse as Harvard University, Rotary International, the National Conference for Community and Justice, and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte, among others. His February 2011 paper, based on his dissertation research, "Democracy, Power and Religion: Power and Domination in the Liberal Democratic Theory of Rawls and Murray," was selected among approximately forty eligible papers from across the globe to receive the Leo Sandon Best Paper Award at Florida State University's Symposium, "Discourses of Ritual and Power."
Experience in Higher Education Administration:
John held his first position in Student Affairs/ Student Life in 1996. Since that time, he has progressed in Student Affairs, Residential Life and Academic Affairs administrative positions. He has had direct responsibilities in fourteen major areas of student affairs, including graduate student programming, undergraduate student programming, counseling, crisis management, medical referrals, judicial affairs, residential life, service/community learning, continuing education & summer programming, religious life, bereavement counseling, undergraduate orientation, international student services, and academic tutor programs. He has held related posts at Harvard, M.I.T., Brown and Guilford College prior to his current post at Stanford.
Other Work Experience:
Experienced in program design, Robichaux has designed and executed over 200 programs in areas such as leadership, diversity/anti-discrimination, conflict resolution and teacher training for NGOs, universities, religious- and civic organizations. He also served three years as Founding Co-Coordinator of an NGO serving refugees and immigrants entering the United States while living in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Born in Louisiana, and of Cajun heritage, he currently lives in the Stanford, CA area with his long-time partner, Robyn Walsh (Ph.D. Candidate, Brown University), and their dog, Sarah.