Mary K. Ryan, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Political Science; Public Policy Program Director
Dr. Ryan received her Ph.D. in the interdisciplinary Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought program at Virginia Tech. She also holds an M.A. in Public Service and a B.A. in Political Science. As an Assistant Professor in Political Science/Public Policy at W&J, she teaches classes on inequality, public administration, and public policy.
Dr. Ryan’s research interests include democratic theory and practice, social justice, race and racism, sociopolitical trends in film and theater, and public policy (especially related to identity issues and inequality). She has published dozens of articles in journals including Fast Capitalism; Activist History Review; Theoria; and the Journal for the Study of Peace and Conflict as well as numerous books including Poverty in American Popular Culture; Surveillance, Race, Culture; Protecting Whiteness: Whitelash and the Rejection of Racial Equality; Spaces of Surveillance; Critical Reflections: Civil Rights Literature Past and Present; and The New Colonialism: The American Model of Human Rights.
Dr. Ryan has presented her research at dozens of conferences domestically and around the world. She is the recipient of the 2018 Best Paper Award in Identity Politics at the Northeastern Political Science Association for her paper on Harvesting U.S. Democracy: The Kerner Commission on Police Brutality, White Supremacy, and Race.
Before beginning her doctoral work, Dr. Ryan worked for ten years with statewide and national nonprofits on issues like anti-racism education, literacy, hunger relief, prison reform, electoral reform, and child welfare. She is excited to bring this real-world experience into her work at W&J and share her knowledge on working for change as an executive director, program manager, and lobbyist. Reach out if you want to work on public policy issues or learn more about how you can use public policy to influence social and political change!