Stephen L. Esquith


Office: C210G Snyder Hall
Phone: (517) 355-0212


Ph.D., Princeton University, Department of Politics and The Program in Political Philosophy
AB, Harvard University
Stephen L. Esquith

Stephen L. Esquith is the dean of the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities at Michigan State University. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Princeton University, where he received his Ph.D. in politics. He served as the chair of the MSU Department of Philosophy before becoming the founding dean of RCAH. He received MSU's Teacher-Scholar Award in 1984 and the Honors College Distinguished Contributions to Honors Students Award for 2008-09.

He has been a Fulbright Scholar in Poland and then later in Mali. He is the author of Intimacy and Spectacle (Cornell, 1994) and The Political Responsibilities of Everyday Bystanders (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2010), the editor of several edited collections on democracy and development, and the author of numerous articles, most recently on children's human rights, democratic political education, and peace building. He is currently working on several local peace building projects in Mali and similar peace education projects for refugee children in Michigan. He has taught philosophy for children in middle schools in Michigan and Mali over the past fifteen years, and has facilitated the co-creation of four children’s picture books in French, Bamanankan, and English for a peace building project in Mali. He teaches courses in RCAH on civic engagement and political theory.


Recent Interviews:

"Impact Exposure with City Pulse: Dean Esquith & Moussa Traore," January 21, 2015

"Impact Exposure with City Pulse: Dean Esquith,"January 7, 2015

Recent Publications:

“The Political Responsibility of Bystanders: The Case of Mali,” Journal of Global Ethics, Vol. 9, no. 3, December 2013

"Motivating Responsibility for Children in Poor Countries," in Child Rights: The Movement, International Law, and Opposition, ed. Clark Butler (Purdue University Press, 2012)

"Re-framing the Responsibilities of Bystanders through Film," Political Theory, Vol. 41, no. 1, February 2013  

Stephen L. Esquith, The Political Responsibilities of Everyday Bystanders (Penn State University Press, 2010)

Stephen L. Esquith and Fred Gifford, eds., Capabilities, Power, and Institutions: Toward a More Critical Development Ethics (Penn State University Press, 2010)

Recent Conference Papers:

“Including Refugees and Immigrants through Art and Civic Engagement,” American Philosophical Association, Pacific Division, Annual Meeting, Seattle, WA, April 12-15, 2017

“From Compassion to Political Responsibility,” Human Development and Capabilities Association, Washington, DC, September 10-12, 2015

“Philosophy for Kids in Mali,” Philosophy Learning and Teaching Conference, Seattle, WA, June 29-30, 2015

Recent Courses Taught:

Fall 2016

RCAH 292A -- Peace and Peace Building
RCAH 492 -- Seminar on Refugees and Immigrants

Spring 2016

RCAH 203 -- Transcultural Relations Through the Ages

Fall 2015

RCAH 202 -- Mythic Heroes of War

Spring 2015

RCAH 292A -- Philosophy for Children

Spring 2014

RCAH 192 -- Justice

RCAH 292A -- Big Ideas for All Ages

Spring 2013

RCAH 292B -- Big Ideas for Little Kids