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Michael Kessler

Executive Director

Department of Government and Georgetown Law

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Michael Kessler is executive director of the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University, a professor of the practice of moral and political theory in the Department of Government, and an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown Law. 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 U.S. constitutional context. Kessler is the author of several edited volumes, including The Oxford Handbook of Political Theology, co-edited with Shaun Casey (Oxford University Press, forthcoming); Political Theology for a Plural Age (Oxford University Press, 2013); and Mystics: Presence and Aporia, co-edited with Christian Sheppard (University of Chicago Press, 2003). He also wrote “Engaging Religion in U.S. Foreign Affairs,” a chapter in the Companion to Religion and Politics in the United States (Wiley-Blackwell, 2016). Kessler is a member of the Working Group on Displaced Persons and Hospitality to the Stranger, part of the Culture of Encounter Project.

Kessler has served in various roles as an administrator. At the Berkley Center, Kessler helps coordinate the development of academic and public programs and manage center logistics, including strategies for fundraising, events, and communications. Kessler is the faculty leader for the program areas on Law, Religion, and Values and various curricular initiatives like the Doyle Seminars. Prior to joining the Berkley Center, Kessler was the 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.

Before his time at Georgetown University, Kessler taught in the Social Sciences Collegiate Division of the University of Chicago, teaching a year-long Social and Political Theory Core class on the classics of social and political theory. He was the preceptor for the inaugural year of the religious studies concentration, advising five students on their fourth year B.A. thesis. Prior to teaching at Chicago, Kessler was a visiting assistant professor of humanities and philosophy at Purdue University for four years.

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 B.A. with honors in theology and a second major in philosophy from Valparaiso University.

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