Joyce Mullan (jmullan)

Joyce Mullan

Teaching Assistant Professor

School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

Peirce 109
(201) 216-8245


  • PhD (2003) New School for Social Research (Philosophy)
  • MA (1998) New School for Social Research (Philosophy)
  • MA (1988) New School for Social Research (Political Science)
  • BA (1978) San Francisco State University (Political Science)


My research interests have been in Ancient and Enlightenment Ethical and Political Theory with an emphasis on Feminist, Comparative  and non-violent approaches.  I am also interested in Environmental Ethics, Animal Rights, and Ecofeminism.

General Information

Recent Research:

1st: Social Inequality: Passive and Epistemic Injustice in Simone Weil, (Hannah Arendt), and Judith Shklar
Judith Shklar made important contributions to the study of politics in her work on Injustice and her analysis of why so many political thinkers who wrote articulately enough about justice, failed to take into account Injustice. Simone Weil, based on her own experiences with the ‘Wretched of the Earth’ in her factory work and attempted solidarity with the Spanish rebels of the Civil War was also at odds with many of her contemporaries' focus on rights and revolution. Both Weil and Shklar, though well educated at the most elite institutions often identified more with those who were the sufferers of history rather than the perpetrators of it. They form an ironic contrast with Hannah Arendt, who wrote very eloquently of the dehumanization of Totalitarianism, the importance of thinking for yourself, and the glory of participatory democracy, yet had a horror of the idea of victims or victimhood, of pity or compassion, and also defended social inequality and discrimination. In this paper, I hope to put these three seminal thinkers into respectful and critical dialogue with each other. For I think they have important things to say about those who have been misrepresented, discredited, misheard, left out, silenced and often gravely harmed.

2nd: Xenophon’s Glaucon and Plato’s Alcibiades: a strange coincidence?
Though much has been written about Socrates’ critique of the democracy he was living in, not enough has been said about his similarly harsh critique of would-be tyrants, including Plato’s own kinsmen. Except a lot has been said about Plato’s attempt to link democracy and tyranny, one leads to the other.
In Xenophon’s Memorabilia, he gives many examples of Socrates’ beneficial effects on the young to counter the charge that he corrupted them. Three in particular, his conversations with Pericles (son of the earlier statesman), Glaucon, and Charmides are worth noting. Though Xenophon doesn’t say so, none of those young men ended up well. The younger Pericles was one of the generals executed for not rescuing the poorer and lower-class sailors after the battle of Arginusae, Charmides ended up in the company of Critias (both Plato’s kin) in the rule of the Thirty Tyrants and dying along with him, and Glaucon (Plato’s brother) we are not positive about. But at least one scholar has argued he died in the battle of Munychia, also fighting for the Thirty Tyrants (Jacob Howland’s Glaucon’s Fate: History, Myth, and Character in Plato’s Republic, 2018, Paul Dry Books, Philadelphia, Pa).
Interestingly though, Socrates’ conversation with Glaucon as recounted by Xenophon, parallels Plato’s version of Socrates’ conversation with Alcibiades, when he was also an ambitious young man. Both conversations focus on the relative ignorance and incompetence of Glaucon and Alcibiades and their mutual desires to lead the state. But the focus of each is different. Glaucon seems deficient in knowledge of the capabilities of the city, Alcibiades seems ignorant of himself. Glaucon and his brother Adeimantus play very important roles in Plato’s Republic seeming to defend injustice. Plato had Glaucon reframe the story of Gyges from Herodotus in his Republic. It is worth investigating how and why he reframes Alcibiades’s tyrannical ambitions when his own brother seemed similarly inclined. Is it a case of masterful misdirection or rather an attempt to situate Socrates between the shortcomings of both democracy and tyranny? Along the way, we might want to discern, if that is possible, the motives of Xenophon, as well (when he was often more interested in what makes a good leader rather than a good citizen).


I have taught introductory and advanced courses in Philosophy, Political Science, Intellectual History, and Humanities at NJIT, Adelphi, Rutgers, and St. John’s University in the New York/New Jersey area, as well as at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and the University of Chicago’s Graham School.

I have taught the History of Political Theory, History of Ethics, Contemporary Moral Issues, Environmental Ethics, Philosophy of Law, Existentialism, Women and Philosophy, Science Fiction and Philosophy, Non-Violence and Philosophy, and Violence, Terrorism and War among other philosophy and humanities classes. I have also taught Introduction to Politics, American Government, The European Union, America and the World in Political Science Departments.

Institutional Service

  • Freshman Experience Committee Member
  • Freshman Experience Subcommitte to rename that Program Member
  • Hiring Committe for new Teaching Assistant Professor of Music and Technology Member
  • Search Committee for OUA Director Member
  • First Year Reading Group Chair
  • Freshman Experience Book Meeting Chair
  • Ethics Bowl 2020 Member
  • Freshman Experience Book meeting Chair
  • CAL 103 Reader Committee Member
  • Freshman Experience Committee Member
  • Ethics Bowl Chair
  • Pinnacle Scholar Roundtable Chair
  • Constitution Day event Member

Professional Service

  • New York Society for Women in Philosophy Member of Organizing Committee
  • Hypatia - Journal of Feminist Philosophy referee
  • Northeastern Political Science Association annual conference Co-Chair
  • New York Society for Women in Philosophy Member
  • Northeastern Political Science Association Co-Chair
  • Northeastern Political Science Association Chair
  • Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy Chair of Panel on the Religion of Socrates and Plato
  • Northeast Political Science Association Chair of Panel on Environmental Politics


Prelaw Advisor, 2014-2024

Honors and Awards

Dean's list of outstanding students 3 years at my Alma Mater (SF state).

Professional Societies

  • SPSA – Southern Political Science Association Member
  • NY SWIP – New York Society for Women in Philosophy Member
  • APT – Association of Political Theory Member
  • APA – American Philosophical Association Member
  • SAGP – Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy Member
  • NPSA – Northeast Political Science Association Member

Selected Publications

“The Double Meaning of Strife in Hesiod,” Politeia: Essays in Honor of Anthony Preus. SUNY Press (forthcoming) (Festschrift in honor of Anthony Preus, Director of the Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy)
“To Whom do we owe the Truth in Fanon and Gandhi,” Review Journal of Philosophy and Social Science, (Volume XXXIV, No.1, 2) 2009
“Humanity and Humanitas in Rousseau and Kant,” Conference Proceedings, Misery and Dignity of Humanity, Seneca Institute, University of Madrid, July 2006
Literate Education in the Hellenistic and Roman Worlds, by Teresa Morgan (Ancient Philosophy) Book Review, Winter, 2000

CONFERENCES (partial list):
Social Inequality: Passive and Epistemic Injustice in Simone Weil, (Hannah Arendt), and Judith Shklar NPSA, Fall 2023, SPSA, Winter 2024
Xenophon’s Glaucon and Plato’s Alcibiades: a strange coincidence? Fall 2023 SAGP
“Frank Speech: From the Melian Dialogue to Socrates’ Defense.”
Fall 2022, SAGP & NPSA
“The Political Meaning of Work in Plato and Xenophon’s Socrates,” Fall 2021, SAGP & NPSA
“Changing Ideals of Arȇte in portrayals of Odysseus during the Peloponnesian War,” (updated), Conference on the Heritage of Western Greece, Summer, 2021
“Hesiod’s double tale of strife in his Works and Days,” Conference on the Heritage of Western Greece, NPSA, SAGP, 2019
“Thucydides’ Letter to the Future,” NPSA, Fall 2018
“Thinking what you are doing: Cleon’s argument in the Mytilenian debate,” SAGP & NPSA, Fall 2017
“The Women Speak up: Speaking truth to Power in Aristophanes’ Lysistrata, SAGP & NPSA, Fall 2016, MPSA, Spring 2018
“Ruling and being ruled, Haemon’s Double Bind,” SAGP & NPSA, Fall 2015
“What the Athenians said about the Spartans in the Melian Dialogue,” SAGP & NPSA, Fall 2014
“Changing Ideals of Arȇte in portrayals of Odysseus during the Peloponnesian War,” SAGP & NPSA, Fall 2013
“Simone Weil on Human Rights,” NPSA, Fall 2012 and Felician Conference on Philosophy, Spring 2013
“Nature and the Natural, a genealogy,” CAL Humanities Forum, Fall 2012
“The Modernity of Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Descartes," discussant, NPSA, Fall 2012
“Power and Justice in Euripides’ Hecuba,” NPSA, Fall 2011
“Rousseau and Kant on the ‘Ways of the World’,” NPSA, Fall 2010
“Piety and the Political in Ancient Greece,” SAGP and NPSA, Fall, 2009
“Callicles’ Double Standard and Athenian Foreign Policy,” NPSA, November, 2008
“From Animal Gods to Animal Sacrifice: the place of animals in Ancient Greek Cosmology,” SAGP, October 2008
“To whom do we owe the Truth in Fanon and Gandhi,” APT, October, 2007
“Subjectivity and Subjection in Rousseau,” APSA, September 2007
“The Black Rousseau (Frantz Fanon) and Rousseau,” MPSA, April 2007
“Women and Political Violence,” WPSA, March 2007
“Minding your own business in Thucydides, Socrates, and Plato,” NPSA, Fall 2006
“Meno’s Manliness and traditional Greek Arête,” MPSA, Spring 2006
“The Argument from Expediency in the Mytilinean Debates,” NPSA, Fall 2005
“Womanly Aretai and the Greek Polis,” MPSA, Spring 2005
“Humanity and Humanitas in Rousseau and Kant,” Conference on the ‘Misery and Dignity of Humanity in European Thought’, Autonomous University of Madrid, Seneca Institute, 2004
“Emigration and Patriotism in Rousseau,” MPSA, April 2004
‘Just War Tradition in Hindu, Islamic and Christian Thought’, discussant, MPSA, April 2004
“What Virtue should be taught?” International Civic Education Conference, November 2003
“Perspectives on the History of Political Thought,” Chair, APT, October, 2003
“Facets of Machiavelli,” Discussant, MPSA, Spring 2003
“Thucydides’ ‘Mytilinean Debate’ and Plato’s Gorgias,” SAGP, October, 2000
(APT – Association of Political Theory, MPSA – Midwestern Political Science Association, NPSA – Northeastern Political Science Association, SAGP – Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy, WPSA – Western Political Science Association)

“From the Bride of Frankenstein to Holograms: how the advance of technology has helped and hindered our dreams and phantasms of a significant other,” Conference on Technologies of Frankenstein: 1818-2018, CAL, Stevens Institute of Technology, March 2018.
“Voting Rights: Are they protected by the Constitution?” Constitution Day, Stevens, September 2017
“Water Rights and Climate Change,” follow up to Mini-conference, Spring 2016
“Ecofeminism and Climate Change,” Mini-conference at Stevens in connection with UN Climate Change Conference, December, 2016
“The Painted Ladies of Times Square,” Constitution Day, Stevens Institute of Technology, Fall 2015
“Corporations and the Constitution, Rights & Duties,” Constitution Day, Stevens Institute of Technology, October 2014
“Does Stevens still need Feminism?” Stevens Philosophy Club, November 2014
“From Animal Gods to Animal Sacrifice…,” Adelphi University, Spring 2009
‘Women and Political Violence’, Felician College, Fall 2008


Selected list of courses taught:
Philosophy in Film
Philosophy and Science Fiction
Global and International Ethics
Science and Metaphysics
Environmental Ethics
Introduction to Political Theory
Classical Political Theory
Contemporary Political Theory
Modern Political Theory
Violence, Terrorism, and War
Philosophers of Non-Violence
Reflections on Making War
Existentialism and Contemporary Philosophy
Philosophy of Education
Women Philosophers of the Twentieth-Century
Philosophy and Feminism,
American Political Theory
International Politics
Troy and the Trojan War,
Introduction to Politics
Civilizations I & II
Cultures and Values
Making of Modern Thought
Ancient Political Theory
America and the World
Ethics and Values in Policy Making
Introduction to Philosophy
Great Ideas
Critical Thinking