Ella Myers is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and the Program in Gender Studies. She is an award-winning teacher of political and feminist theory. Her courses include Intro to Political Theory, Modern Political Theory, Contemporary Political Theory, Economic Inequality & Democracy, Feminist Political Theory, and Gender, Power & Freedom, among others.
Her research focuses on contemporary democratic theory. She is especially interested in the distribution of political power and practices of collective resistance through which ordinary citizens strive to shape the conditions of their lives. Her first major body of research focused on the role played by "ethos" or spirit in encouraging – or discouraging – associative forms of democratic action in the American polity. Her book Worldly Ethics: Democratic Politics and Care for the World (Duke University Press, 2013) engages closely with the writings of Foucault, Levinas, and Arendt to argue against both therapeutic and charitable models of ethics and on behalf of a world-centered ethos, which Myers argues is uniquely suited to the practice of associative democracy. She has also published work on Isaiah Berlin’s pluralism, Jacques Rancière’s account of radical equality, and the workings of neoliberal common sense.
Her current book project, The Gratifications of Whiteness: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Enduring Rewards of Antiblackness (under contract with Oxford University Press), examines W.E. B. Du Bois’s influential account of racialized identity in the U.S. Specifically, Myers examines three important motifs found in Du Bois’s 1920-1940 writings which address the plural rewards attached to the classification “white” in the early 20th century: whiteness-as-wage, whiteness-as-dominion, and whiteness-as-pleasure. The project draws on Du Bois’s polyvalent analysis to reflect on the persistence of antiblackness under contemporary conditions of racial capitalism.