Bettina Scholz's research interests are in contemporary liberal political theories, including theories of deliberative democracy, multiculturalism, feminism, and cosmopolitanism. She is specifically interested in how liberalism balances the demands of individual liberty with the challenges of national as well as international social and cultural diversity, especially when the latter includes illiberal practices.

Her recent book, The Cosmopolitan Potential of Exclusive Associations: Criteria for Assessing the Advancement of Cosmopolitan Norms, expands contemporary liberal cosmopolitan political theory by developing criteria that can determine whether a transnational voluntary association advances cosmopolitan norms (such as respecting the moral equality of strangers) even if it is an unintended consequence of an association's actions. Three cases are explored in detail in the dissertation: Doctors without Borders, the Anglican Church, and the Olympic Movement.

She teaches courses that analyze classical, modern, and contemporary political and moral theories to explore how political theory can help to inform social science research and fundamental moral questions in our society today. She also coordinates the Political Science and International Studies Senior Honors Thesis Program.


  • Ph.D., Political Science, Harvard University
  • M.A., Political Science, Harvard University
  • B.A., Political Science, Wellesley College

Courses Taught

  • American Political Thought
  • Citizens of the World
  • Contemporary Political Theory
  • Dirty Hands: Moral Dilemmas
  • Power, Order & Justice

Selected Publications

  • The Cosmopolitan Potential of Exclusive Associations, Rowman & Littlefield 2015
  • Op-ed: “The real Olympics debate: Games would be a statement about us.” CommonWealth Magazine (February 11, 2015) 
  • “Mansbridge, Jane J.” In The Encyclopedia of Political Thought edited by Michael T. Gibbons (Wiley-Blackwell, 2014)