Michael Kessler

Michael Kessler is Executive Director of the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University, Associate Professor of the Practice of Moral and Political Theory in the Department Government, an affiliate faculty member of the Department of Theology, and an Adjunct Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center.

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He works in moral and political theory, and the nexus of law, politics, and religion. Kessler received his Ph.D. focusing on Religion and Moral and Political Theory from the University of Chicago, where he was a William Rainey Harper Fellow and held a Henry Luce Dissertation Fellowship. Kessler received a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. He graduated with a BA with honors in Theology, a second major in Philosophy, and a Classics minor, from Valparaiso University. While at Chicago, Kessler taught in the Social Sciences Collegiate Division, teaching a year-long Social and Political Theory Core class on Classics of Social and Political Theory. He was the Preceptor for the inaugural year of the Religious Studies Concentration, advising 5 students on their 4th year BA thesis. Prior to teaching at Chicago, Kessler was a visiting Assistant Professor of humanities and philosophy at Purdue University for 4 years. Kessler’s research and writing focus on theology, philosophical and religious ethics, and social, political, and legal theory. He is interested in problems of law and religion, both globally and in the US constitutional context. He is the author of a number of articles and reviews, and co-editor of Mystics: Presence and Aporia (University of Chicago Press, 2003). His recent work was Five Steps to Healing Polarization in the Classroom, co-authored with Amy Uelmen (Oxford, 2018). He is coediting with Shaun Casey the Oxford Handbook of Political Theology. He is also presently at work on a monograph, Sparks of Conscience: Law and Moral Life, which examines models of moral life under the developing regime of law. Besides an active scholar and teacher, Kessler has served in various roles as an administrator. At the Berkley Center, Kessler coordinates the development of academic and public programs and oversees Center logistics, including strategies for fund-raising, events, and communications. Kessler is the faculty leader for the program areas on Law, Religion, and Values. Prior to joining the Berkley Center, Kessler was Assistant Dean for Strategic Planning and Faculty Development for Georgetown College, managing a portfolio of responsibilities that provided primary support to the Dean of the College in faculty affairs, curricular development, international affairs, graduate program development, development and fundraising for special programs, communications, and strategic planning and special initiatives. While a dean in the College, Kessler taught in the Department of Theology.