Mary (Molly) Scudder

Molly Scudder; Purdue University

About Me

I am an associate professor of Political Theory in the Department of Political Science at Purdue University. I recently returned from Paris where I was visiting faculty at the Centre for Political Research (CEVIPOF) at Sciences Po. I am currently guest-editing a special issue of Political Communication on the topic of democratic listening. 

My research focuses on democracy, deliberation, and inclusion. I have published two books and several journal articles on these topics. My first book, Beyond Empathy and Inclusion the Challenge of Listening in Democratic Deliberation (Oxford University Press 2020), establishes the centrality of listening for meaningfully democratic deliberation. There, I develop a "listening act theory" to show how ​in listening to our fellow citizens, we recognize their moral equality of voice. It is now out in paperback. I have also developed a "Listening Quality Index," a novel measure of democratic listening to be used in empirical political communication research. 

My second book, The Two Faces of Democracy: Decentering Agonism and Deliberation, ​with Stephen K. White, is now out with Oxford University Press (April 2023). The book examines the tension and congruence between the deliberative model, or “face,” of democracy, with its emphasis on reason and consensus, and the agonistic face of democracy with its emphasis on conflict and resistance. We argue that while each of these models captures essential intuitions about democracy, the underlying moral infrastructure that connects them is poorly understood. The book offers an account of the key values needed to do justice to both faces of democracy: autonomy and the moral equality of voice.

I received my PhD from the University of Virginia. I grew up in San Francisco, CA and completed my undergraduate degree at Santa Clara University. ​