Desmond Jagmohan

Research Expertise and Interest

history of political thought, American political thought, African American political thought, race and American political development

Research Description

Desmond Jagmohan is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley. He specializes in the history of American and African American political thought, American intellectual history, and the history of political thought. His research concerns political and moral agency under conditions of extreme oppression. He is completing his first book, Dark Virtues: Booker T. Washington’s Tragic Realism (under contract with Princeton University Press), which draws on several years of archival research to recover Washington as a virtue theorist of the oppressed. His second book will read Harriet Jacobs’s slave narrative as a work of moral and political theory that grounds the wrong of slavery in property rights in another person.  His work has been published in Journal of Politics, Political Theory, Annual Review of Political Science, Perspectives on PoliticsPolitics, Groups, and IdentitiesContemporary Political Theory, and Boston Review

Professor Jagmohan is the winner of several awards and fellowships: The APSA Best Dissertation Award from the Race, Ethnicity and Politics Section (2015), a National Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University (2018), and  a Laurance S. Rockefeller Visiting Faculty Fellow at University Center for Human Values at Princeton University, and Hellman Fellowship at UC, Berkeley. Prior to arriving at Berkeley, he was Assistant Professor of Politics at Princeton University, where he delivered the 2018 Constitution Day Lecture and was awarded the Laurance S. Rockefeller University Preceptorship in the University Center for Human Values. He holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. from Cornell University. 



Dark Virtues: Booker T. Washington’s Tragic Realism (Forthcoming from Princeton University Press, 2024).    

Journal Articles & Book Chapters

8.   “Cold War Liberalism and the Idea The Idea of John Locke: From Proxy to Effigy,” Reassessment of Locke’s Political Thought, eds. Teresa Bejan and Felix Waldmann (Oxford University Press: 2024). Co-authored with Steven Kelts.

7.   “Three Traditions of African American Political Thought: Egalitarianism, Nationalism, Realism,” Annual Review of Political Science 27 (June 2024).

6.   “Popular Republicanism and Racial Exclusion: Martin Delany on the Status of Free Blacks in Antebellum America,” Oxford Handbook of Republicanism, eds. Frank Lovett and Mortimer Sellers (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2024).

5.   “Reparations without Reconciliation,” NOMOS LXV: Reconciliation and Repair, eds. Melissa Schwartzberg and Eric Beerbohm (New York: New York University Press, 2023), 140–180.

4.   “Peculiar Property: Harriet Jacobs on the Nature of Slavery,” Journal of Politics 84, no. 2 (April 2022): 669–681.           

3.   “Booker T. Washington and the Politics of Deception,” African American Political Thought: A Collected History, eds. Melvin L. Rogers and Jack Turner (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2021), 167–191.

2.   “Between Race and Nation: Marcus Garvey and the Politics of Self-Determination,” Political Theory 48, no. 3 (June 2020): 271–302.

1. “Race and the Social Contract: Charles Mills on the Consensual Foundations of White Supremacy,” Politics, Groups, and Identities 3, no. 3 (September 2015): 488–503.

In the News

Attack on LGBTQ+ Rights: The Politics and Psychology of a Backlash

Some states are seeking to ban school discussion and books that feature LGBTQ issues. Texas is targeting doctors and parents who provide gender-affirming medical care to transgender teenagers. Florida has gone to war against Disney World, after Disney publicly opposed the state’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law.
Loading Class list ...