Dr. Lane has taught Politics at Harvard University (1992-1993), Hampden-Sydney (1993-1999), Bowdoin College (1999-2000), as well as Emory & Henry College (2000-present).   He teaches courses on American politics, political theory, and politics and literature including: Politics of the United States, Constitutional Interpretation, Parties and Elections, History of Political Philosophy, and American Political Thought.  Since 2009, Dr. Lane has served as Director of the Honors Program and instructor in the first-year Honors Seminar.  He also writes political commentary for the Encyclopedia Britannica’s blog site, “Smart Talk.”  His essays on American politics are regularly published on-line at

Dr. Lane’s research centers on the narrative structure of works of political theory and the political dimensions of literary narratives.  I have published on Politics and Literature, American Political Thought, Classical and Early Modern Political Philosophy, and the importance of narrative in untangling the evolution of American Constitutional Thought.  His work has been published in many Political Science journals including the American Political Science Review, Political Theory, and Review of Politics.  He co-wrote the Deconstitutionalization of America and is currently completing two projects on the roots of modern environmentalism: Greening the Canon is an exploration of the points of connection between the traditional canon of political theory and modern environmentalist thought.  This collection of essays is co-edited with Peter Cannavo of Hamilton College.  It will be published in the 2011-2012 academic year. Two Natures is a book-length essay on Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the root narratives of western environmentalism.  It will be completed in 2011.  Dr. Lane’s next major project will explore the evolution of political claims about the “strict construction” of the U.S. Constitution.


  • R. Barrus, J. Easby, Joseph H. Lane, D. Marion, and J. Pontuso.  The Deconstitutionalization of America: The Forgotten Frailties of Democratic Rule. Lexington Books, 2004.
  • Two Natures: Rousseau and the Roots of Environmentalist Thought, Book-length essay to be published in 2012.
  • Greening the Canon: Classic Political Theory and Environmentalist Questions.  A collection of essays on connections between the canon of political philosophy and contemporary environmentalist thought. Co-edited with Peter Cannavo (Hamilton College).
  • “Reverie as Political Argument: Rousseau and the Experience of Convergence in Environmental Political Thought,” Review of Politics, Volume 68 (Summer 2006): 474-499. 
  • “The Solitary Walker in the Political World: The Paradoxes of Rousseau and Deep Ecology.”  With Rebecca Clark, Political Theory, Volume 34 (February, 2006): 62-94.
  • “Thucydides Beyond the Cold War: The Recurrence of Relevance of Classical Historians.”  POROI: The Project on the Rhetoric of Inquiry, Volume 4 (July, 2005).
  • “The Stark Regime and American Democracy: A Political Reinterpretation of Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men.” American Political Science Review, Volume 95 (December, 2001): 811-828.
  • “Strict (de-)Constructions” and the Political Invocation of Constitutionalism.”  Research Project currently in the design and literature search stage.

Primary Research Interests:

Role of Narrative Structure in the Presentation of Political Philosophy, Rhetoric in Democratic States, Politics and Literature, Connections between Classic Works of Political Philosophy and Contemporary Environmental Political Thought, American Political Literature

Student Research:

I have supervised 23 Honors Theses in ten years at Emory & Henry College, including two projects that are underway during the 2010-2011 academic year.  Highlights include

  • Jessica Don Edmunds, “The Social Impact of Public Policies on Payday Leading.”  Defended April 19, 2007.
    Honors in Sociology and Political Science
    Won the first Undergraduate Research Prize from Emory & Henry College
  • Justin Levi Hoover, “The Constitutional Confusion of the Establishment Clause in the Aftermath of Perry v. Van Orden and McCreary County v. ACLU.” Defended April 21, 2008.
    Won the second Undergraduate Research Prize from Emory & Henry College 
  • Ashley R. Griffith, “A Reformation of Pharmaceutical Tort Law: A Case Study of United States v. The Purdue Fredrick Company, Inc. 495 F. Supp. 2d 569 (2007).” Defended April 28, 2009.
    Finalist for the Pi Sigma Alpha Prize for Best Undergraduate Honors Thesis in Political Science in the U.S. 
  • Jason Botkins, “Federalizing Elections as an Extension of U.S. Supreme Court Reasoning in Reapportionment Cases and Bush v. Gore.”  Defended on April 17, 2002.
    Finalist for the Pi Sigma Alpha Prize for Best Undergraduate Honors Thesis in Political Science in the U.S.
  • Megan Brooke Mullins, “Cleaning Up the Takings Law Mess: An Analysis of What is Needed to Restructure Current Takings Jurisprudence.”  Defended April 12, 2006.
    Finalist for the Pi Sigma Alpha Prize for Best Undergraduate Honors Thesis in Political Science in the U.S.

Current undergraduate thesis projects include Carlie Fogleman on “Supreme Court Nominations and Defining American Presidencies” and Richard Johnson on “California’s Proposition 8 and the Evolution of Equal Protection Analysis.”

Educational Background

  • B.A., Hampden-Sydney College (Political Science and Classics)
  • Ph.D., Boston College (Political Science)