My research explores the character of violence, the meaning and purposes of politics and the possibilities of nonviolence.

My most recent book Freedom Without Violence (Oxford University Press, 2016) tells the long and compelling story of violent and nonviolent attempts to gain political freedom in the West. It aims to offer a critical appraisal of the commonplace idea that violence is necessary to obtain, secure and defend freedom and develop a conception of nonviolent freedom grounded in the thought of Arendt, Kant and Gandhi.

My first book Toward a Credible Pacifism (SUNY Press, 2009) lays the groundwork for a distinctly political brand of nonviolence. The central claim of the work is that physical violence is no more reliable than other methods of conducting politics. Power exercised in conjunction with violence is no more likely to succeed than power exercised without it.

In a related article in Perspectives on Politics I synthesize the work of sociologists, military analysts, political scientists, and international relations scholars to develop a new theory of pragmatic pacifism. In the European Journal of Political Theory, I extend the argument to the complicated relationship between terror and power. I have also published articles in Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Human Rights Review, International Studies Quarterly, Political Research Quarterly, History of Political Thought  and symplokē.

I have taught numerous core and specialty courses in political theory and I received the Tanner Award for Teaching Excellence at the University of North Carolina in 2002.

I am active in the Association for Political Theory and served as co-chair (with Keally McBride) of the Program Committee for the 2010 meeting. I occasionally contribute to the website Waging Nonviolence.

I was appointed Associate Professor of Political Science at LSU in 2013 and have been on faculty since 2008. I have also held appointments at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and SUNY-Oswego. I received degrees from the University of Michigan (A.B. 1995), the University of Chicago (A.M. 1996) and the University of North Carolina (Ph. D. 2005).

Dustin Ells Howes

David J. Kriskovich Distinguished Professor of Political Science