Dr. Justin Garrison

Assistant Professor
Department: Public Affairs
Office: 121 Francis T. West Hall
Phone: 375-5265



Ph.D., Politics, The Catholic University of America

M.A., Politics, The Catholic University of America

B.A., History R/IAP, Russian Studies (Double Major), Mercyhurst College

Course List

Research & Teaching Interests:

Introduction to political theory, ancient political thought, modern political thought, American political thought, politics and the imagination, morality and politics, culture and democracy, literature and politics, Russian political thought, Russian literature and politics, introduction to American government, U.S. Congress, American Presidency, American political ideologies


"An Empire of Ideals:" The Chimeric Imagination of Ronald Reagan, Routledge, 2013

“An Empire of Ideals” provides an original and groundbreaking analysis of Ronald Reagan’s imagination as it was expressed mainly in his presidential speeches. The book argues that the predominant strain of Reagan’s imagination is “chimeric,” that is, imbued with a high degree of optimism, romantic dreaminess, naiveté, and illusion. “An Empire of Ideals” challenges a number of existing assumptions about Reagan. Among other things, it draws into question Reagan’s self-proclaimed status as a conservative and as a faithful adherent to the ideas of the American Founding. The book concludes that Reagan’s vision contains many dubious elements that present dangers for practical politics. It also claims that the enduring popularity of Reagan’s imagination among Americans indicates a problematic self-understanding. “An Empire of Ideals” surpasses existing works on Reagan’s ideas and speeches. The book systematically explains the general quality and major components of Reagan’s vision, and it draws upon political theory, aesthetics, and American political thought to analyze his imagination. Although the book is a rigorous work of scholarship, it is not a highly “technical” study accessible only to academic specialists. It will be of deep interest to general readers as well as scholars. 

Recent Publications:

“‘The Land of Limitless Possibilities’: Ronald Reagan, Progress, Technology, and the Modest Republic,” in The Culture of Immodesty in American Life and Politics: The Modest Republic, Palgrave, 2013

“‘God’s Middle Children’: Metaphysical Rebellion in Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club,Humantias, Vol. XXV, Nos. 1 and 2 (2012): 79-106.

“A Covenant with All Mankind: Ronald Reagan’s Idyllic Vision of America in the World,” Humanitas, Vol. XXI, Nos. 1 and 2 (2008): 34-63.

Available as a Media resource for the following topics:

U.S. Constitution

American Presidency

Morality and Politics

Literature and Politics

Willing to speak to professional, social or civic groups on:

U.S. Constitution

American Presidency

Morality and Politics

Literature and Politics