Skip to main content
Skip to McMaster Navigation Skip to Site Navigation Skip to main content
McMaster logo

Ingram James, Associate Professor

photo of James Ingram

James Ingram

Associate Professor

Department of Political Science

Institute on Globalization & the Human Condition

Area(s) of Interest:


James Ingram’ s research interests are in modern, especially continental political theoryfrom Rousseau and Kant via Marx to Critical Theory, deconstruction, genealogy, and other contemporary approaches.

James’ s last major project focused on the idea of cosmopolitanism. It sought to salvage the idea from the taint it had acquired not only by its association with the interventionist policies of the 2000s, but from its long entanglement with different imperialisms. This work culminated in his 2013 book, Radical Cosmopolitics, and continues in ongoing work around universalism and the politics of human rights.

His current major project, supported by a SSHRC Insight Grant, looks at how the idea of ‘ the political’ has been redefined and contested in western political thought over the course of the twentieth century. Starting with Max Weber and Carl Schmitt in interwar Germany and proceeding to contemporary radical democracy and calls for a ‘ realist’ or ‘ political’ turn in analytical political philosophy, this work applies the tools of intellectual history to the recent past in order to show that there is always a ‘ politics of the political,’ and to uncover what some of its politics have been.

Alongside these projects, James maintains a lively interest in new debates in critical as well as democratic theory. He has also worked extensively as a translator from French (Étienne Balibar, Jacques Rancière, Jacques Derrida) as well as German (Axel Honneth, Reinhart Koselleck, Christoph Menke).


PhD, New School for Social Research

MA, Queen’s University

BA, University of Alberta (Hons.)




  • 2OO6 – Political Theory 
  • 3VV3 – Democratic Theory
  • 4HH3 – Critical Theory


  • Politics and Its Others
  • Cosmopolitanism and Its Critics
  • Political Thought (Critical Theories of Freedom)




Radical Cosmopolitics: The Ethics and Politics of Democratic Universalism (Columbia University Press – “New Directions in Critical Theory,” 2013).

Political Uses of Utopia: New Marxist, Anarchist, and Radical Democratic Perspectives, co-edited with S.D. Chrostowska (Columbia University Press, 2017).

Translation: Étienne Balibar, Equaliberty: Political Essays (Duke University Press, 2013). Translation: Axel Honneth, Pathologies of Reason: On the Legacy of Critical Theory (Columbia University Press, 2009). 



“Limits of Law, Limits of Legal Theory,” Contemporary Political Theory 16, no. 2 (2017): 258-263.

“The Point of the Lesson: On Samuel Chambers’ Lesson of Rancière,” Syndicate (online) 2016.

“La politique révolutionnaire des droits humains” (tr. Martin Deleixhe), Raison publique (online) 2016.

“Cosmopolitanism from Below: Universalism as Contestation,” Critical Horizons 17, no. 1 (2016): 66-78.

 “The Revolutionary Origins of Human Rights: History, Politics, Practice,” Zeitschrift für Menschenrechte 9, no. 1 (2015): 9-25.

“Quem É ‘O Povo’? Sobre o Sujeito Impossivel da Democracia” (tr. Fernanda Pradal), Direito, Estado e Sociedade 39 (2011): 98-118.

“Rights, Norms, and Politics: The Case of German Citizenship Reform,” co-authored with Triadafilos Triadafilopoulos, Social Research 77, no. 1 (Spring 2010): 353-82.

“What Is a ‘Right to Have Rights’? Three Images of the Politics of Human Rights,” American Political Science Review 102, no. 4 (Nov. 2008): 401-16.

“The Politics of Claude Lefort’s Political: Between Liberalism and Radical Democracy,” Thesis Eleven 87 (Nov. 2006): 33-50.

“Can Universalism Still Be Radical? Alain Badiou’s Politics of Truth,” Constellations 12, no. 4 (Dec. 2005): 561-73.


“Populism and Cosmopolitanism,” Oxford Handbook on Populism, ed. Paulina Ochoa Espejo, Cristóbal Róvira Kaltwasser, Pierre Ostiguy, and Paul Taggart (Oxford University Press, forthcoming).

“Utopia and Politics,” Political Uses of Utopia, ed. Ingram and Chrostowska (Columbia University Press, 2017), xi-xxxvi.

“Democracy and Its Conditions: Étienne Balibar and the Contribution of Marxism to Radical Democracy,” Thinking Radical Democracy: The Return to Politics in Postwar France, ed. Martin Breaugh, Christopher Holman, et al. (University of Toronto Press, 2015), 210-233.

“Honneth, Axel,” “Koselleck, Reinhart,” and “Universalism/Universalization,” Blackwell Encyclopedia of Political Thought, gen. ed. Michael T. Gibbons (Wiley/Blackwell, 2014).

“Praktische Idee oder vernünftiger Glaube? Aporien moralisch-politischen Fortschritts und kommende Demokratie” (tr. Markus Wolf), Politische Philosophie und Dekonstruktion. Beiträge zur politischen Theorie im Anschluss an Jacques Derrida, ed. Andreas Niederberger and Markus Wolf (transcript, 2007), 99-117.

“The Subject of the Politics of Recognition: Hannah Arendt and Jacques Rancière,” Socialité et reconnaissance. Grammaires de l’humain, ed. Georg Bertram, Robin Celikates, Christoph Laudou, and David Lauer (l’Harmattan, 2006), 229-45.


Divide and Rule: Native as Political Identity by Mahmood Mamdani, Perspectives on Politics 15, no. 1 (2015): 34-35.

Dignity in Adversity: Human Rights in Troubled Times by Seyla Benhabib, Political Theory 41, no. 2 (2013): 346-350.

Democracy against the State: Marx and the Machiavellian Moment by Miguel Abensour, Radical Philosophy 174 (2012): 36-37.

Hatred of Democracy by Jacques Rancière, Constellations 17, no. 1 (2010): 155-158.

Multiculturalism and Law: A Critical Debate, ed. Omid Payrow Shabani, Canadian Journal of Law and Society 25, no. 2 (2010): 255-56.


Étienne Balibar, Equaliberty: Political Essays (Duke University Press, 2014).

Loïc Wacquant, Punishing the Poor, co-translated with the author (Duke University Press, 2009).

Loïc Wacquant, Deadly Symbiosis: Race and the Rise of Neoliberal Penality, co-translated with the author (Polity, 2006).

Jacques Derrida, “Capital Punishment, another ‘Temptation of Theodicy’” in Pragmatism, Critique, Judgment: Essays for Richard J. Bernstein, ed. Seyla Benhabib and Nancy Fraser (MIT, 2004).

Franck Poupeau and Thierry Discepolo, Olivier Christin, Patrick Champagne, and Loïc Wacquant in Pierre Bourdieu and Democratic Politics, ed. Wacquant (Polity, 2005).

Patrick Champagne, Julien Duval, Eric Darras, and Erik Neveu in Bourdieu and the Sociology of Journalism: A Field Theory Approach, ed. Rodney Benson and Erik Neveu (Polity, 2004).

Axel Honneth, Pathologies of Reason: Essays in Critical Theory (Columbia University Press, 2009).

Carl Schmitt, Reinhart Koselleck, Hermann Lübbe, Stefan Breuer, and Herfried Münkler, in High-Speed Society: Social Acceleration, Power, and Modernity, ed. Hartmut Rosa and William E. Scheuerman (Penn State University Press, 2009).

Axel Honneth in Honneth and Nancy Fraser, Redistribution or Recognition? A Political-Philosophical Exchange, (Verso, 2003).