Matthew Spencer Whitt

Lecturing Fellow* of Thompson Writing Program

External Address: 
Campus Box 90025, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0025


Matt S. Whitt's research examines the formal and informal boundaries of democracy, especially the ways that democracies shape ideals of ‘good' citizenship by excluding, differentiating, or criminalizing ‘bad' citizens and ‘aliens’. His work contributes to debates on the ethics of immigration, the philosophy of punishment, and democratic theory. In one current project, he examines the testimonial injustices faced by pre-trial jail detainees when they speak out about the conditions of their incarceration, and the relevance of this for local democracy.

Representative publications include:

  • "Felon Disenfranchisement and Democratic Legitimacy." Social Theory & Practice. Forthcoming.
  • "Other People’s Problems: Student Distancing, Epistemic Responsibility, and Injustice." Studies in Philosophy & Education. 2016.
  • "Democracy’s Sovereign Enclosures: Territory and the All-Affected Principle." Constellations. 2014.
  • "Review of Joseph Carens, The Ethics of Immigration." Ethics & Global Politics. 2014.

More information about Matt's teaching and research can be found at

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., Vanderbilt University 2010

Whitt, MS. "Sovereignty, community, and the incarceration of immigrants." Death and Other Penalties: Philosophy in a Time of Mass Incarceration. April 1, 2015. 174-192.

Whitt, MS. "Felon Disenfranchisement and Democratic Legitimacy (Accepted)." Social Theory and Practice: an international and interdisciplinary journal of social philosophy 43.2 (2017).

Whitt, MS. "Other People’s Problems: Student Distancing, Epistemic Responsibility, and Injustice." Studies in Philosophy and Education 35.5 (September 2016): 427-444. Full Text

Whitt, M. "Democracy's Sovereign Enclosures: Territory and the All-affected Principle." Constellations 21.4 (December 2014): 560-574. Full Text

Whitt, MS. "The Ethics of Immigration." Ethics & Global Politics 7.3 (January 2014): 137-141. Full Text