Melissa Yates, Ph.D.


College of Arts and Humanities


  • Presented her work in contemporary critical theory and political philosophy at national and international conferences
  • Published in peer-reviewed journals in social and political philosophy and in edited volumes focusing on the work of Jürgen Habermas and Rainer Forst
  • Earned the Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence at Rutgers University in Camden, NJ, and has been a member of numerous pedagogically focused faculty fellowships

Melissa Yates is a professor of moral and political philosophy. She earned her Ph.D. in philosophy at Northwestern University researching theories of public reasoning developed by John Rawls and Jürgen Habermas. She teaches courses in normative and applied ethics, social and political philosophy, and feminist theory.

Yates’ research addresses social, political, and ethical philosophical questions about the ways citizens exercise power, and the institutions that constrain, enable and coerce citizen engagement in public life. In her manuscript in progress, Democracy as Strangers: Governing without Ties of Intimacy, she argues that current democratic theory fails to account for one of the most important realities of contemporary democratic life, namely the fact that the vast majority of democratic citizens are fundamentally strangers to one another. The manuscript draws connections between democratic estrangement and algorithmic personalization in the context of democratic digital public spheres, and on the idea of trans-temporal relationships of power that are particularly relevant in the context of increased migration caused by climate change.