Michelle T. Clarke

Academic Appointments

Associate Professor of Government

My research focuses on the history of republican political thought, and especially debates about the meaning of liberty in ancient Rome and Renaissance Italy.  I have a particular interest in Machiavelli's contribution to these debates, together with his enduring legacy in the modern political tradition.  I'm drawn to Machiavelli's political thought because it reflects my own sense that political theory, done properly, refuses to abstract from the messy, inconvenient, and often distasteful realities of political life.  For Machiavelli, as for me, the work of political theory is to guide us through this world, mindful of the possibility that it may speak to us in a different voice than moral philosophy.  

Silsby 205
HB 6108
Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
B.A. Tufts University
M.A. Yale University
M. Phil. Yale University
Ph.D. Yale University

Selected Publications

Michelle T. Clarke.  Machiavelli’s Florentine Republic  (Cambridge University Press, 2018).

Michelle T. Clarke.  "Machiavelli's Virtuous Princes: Rhetoric, Power, and the Politics of Ironic Historiography."  Journal of Politics, forthcoming.

Michelle T. Clarke.  “Machiavelli: Menace to Societas” in The Ciceronian Tradition in Political Theory, ed. Daniel Kapust and Gary Remer.  University of Minnesota Press, 2021.

Michelle T. Clarke.  “Machiavelli’s Political Thought,”  Oxford Bibliographies in Political Science (with Vickie Sullivan), 27 July 2016.

Michelle T. Clarke.  “Machiavelli and the Imagined Rome of Renaissance Humanism,” History of Political Thought 36, no 3 (2015): 452-470.

Michelle T. Clarke. “Doing Violence to the Roman Idea of Liberty?  Freedom as Bodily Integrity in Roman Political Thought,” History of Political Thought 35, no. 2 (2014): 211 – 233.

Michelle T. Clarke.  “The Mythologies of Contextualism: Method and Judgment in Skinner’s Visions of Politics,” Political Studies 61, no. 4 (2013): 317-329.

Michelle T. Clarke.  “The Virtues of Republican Citizenship in Machiavelli’s Discourses on Livy,” Journal of Politics 75, no. 2 (2013): 317 – 329.

Michelle T. Clarke. “Uprooting Nebuchadnezzar’s Tree: Bacon’s Criticism of Machiavellian Imperialism,” Political Research Quarterly 61, no. 3 (2008): 367 – 378.

Michelle T. Clarke.  “On the Woman Question in Machiavelli,” Review of Politics 67, no. 2 (2005): 229 – 256.

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Works in progress

Rival Republicanisms: Machiavelli and the Ciceronian Tradition (book project, in progress)

The Oxford History of Political Thought: The Renaissance, 1400-1517 (book project, under contract)

"Curing Virtue: Epicureanism and Erotic Fantasy in Machiavelli's Mandragola" (article, in progress)

"Ethics and the Supremely Powerful: Epicureanism and the Problem of Political Ambition in Cicero's De finibus 2" (article, in progress)

"Style and the Soul" (article, in progress)

"Republican Virtue" (chapter for The Oxford Handbook on Republicanism, in progress)