Michelle T. Clarke

Academic Appointments

Associate Professor of Government

My research focuses on the history of republican political thought, and especially debates about the meaning of liberty in ancient Rome and Renaissance Italy.  I have a particular interest in Machiavelli's contribution to these debates, as well as his enduring legacy in the modern political tradition.  I'm drawn to Machiavelli's political thought because it reflects my own sense that political theory, done properly, refuses to abstract from the messy, inconvenient, and often distasteful realities of political life.  For Machiavelli, as for me, the work of political theory is to guide us through this world, mindful of the possibility that it may speak to us in a different voice than moral philosophy.  I also think a lot about why it's important to study political ideas historically and how to do that well.


Silsby 205
HB 6108


  • B.A. Tufts University
  • M.A. Yale University
  • M. Phil. Yale University
  • Ph.D. Yale University

Selected Publications

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Works In Progress

A book about how Machiavelli rethinks the nature and value of republican politics in opposition to Cicero.