Melissa A Orlie

If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile

Research Interests

Classical, modern, and contemporary political theory
Marx, Nietzsche, Freud
Democratic theory and practice
Ecological thinking and practice

Professional Information

Melissa Orlie's teaching and writing engage tensions and convergences among political, ecological, psychoanalytic and ethical concerns.

Orlie is currently finishing a book manuscript entitled The Nietzsche we need now (including chapters on "Nietzsche's new materialism," "Masochism as a developmental achievement," "Making beautiful by learning to love what is necessary" "Wakefulness itself," "Singularly loving earthly life: Becoming lover, parent, land steward" and "Commonly loving earthly life: From modern political economy to ecological commonwealth").

Her next project, Changing Nature and Politics (a number of essays for which are already published or in press), elaborates distinctly democratic and ecological criticisms and alternatives to modern political economy. Drawing upon the impersonal materialism of Nietzsche's most affirmative thinking, Orlie argues we need to confront the disjunctures between the scale of space and time imagined by modern political economy and those required for the cultivation of ecological resilience and political efficacy.

Orlie's longest term work in progress, Local Wisdom, is a collection of essays on thinkers who explain and exemplify the important relationship between wise judgment and the cultivation of intellectual and affective capacities attentive to the singularity of place and time (including essays on Socrates, Machiavelli, Montesquieu and Tocqueville, Darwin, Nietzsche, Simone Weil, D.W. Winnicott, Aldo Leopold, and Wendell Berry). While each figure is well aware that the aim of thinking is to generalize, each also presses us to acknowledge how the singular features of locale effect wise judgment and advisable action. Each figure explores practical ways of incorporating such singularity into meaningful theoretical statements.


Classical Political Theory (PS 371 & PS 571)
Modern Political Theory (PS 372 & PS 572)
Contemporary Political Theory (PS 377 & PS 579)

Office Address

407 DKH

Office Phone

(217) 333-3881

Education/Academic qualification

Department of Politics, Ph.D., Princeton University

… → 1991

Department of Politics, M.A., Princeton University

… → 1987

Department of Politics, B.A., University of California at Santa Cruz

… → 1984

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the expert's scholarly documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

  • 7 Similar Profiles

Research Output

Living Ethically, Acting Politically

Orlie, M. A., 1997, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. 248 p. (Contestations: Cornell Studies in Political Theory)

Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook

The psychoanalytic Winnicott we need now: On the way to a real ecological thought

Orlie, M. A., Jan 31 2017, D.W. Winnicott and Political Theory: Recentering the Subject. Palgrave Macmillan, p. 87-109 23 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

For the Love of Earthly Life: Nietzsche and Winnicott between Modernism and Naturalism

Orlie, M. A., Apr 10 2014, The Aesthetic Turn in Political Thought . Kompridis, N. (ed.). Bloomsbury Academic Press, p. 169-188

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Orlie, M. A., Oct 2014, The Encyclopedia of Political Thought. Gibbons, M. T. (ed.). Wiley-Blackwell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary

  • Tragic Realism and Credible Democratic Hopes: Practical Means for an Ecological Future

    Orlie, M. A., Jan 1 2014, Radical Future Pasts: Untimely Political Theory. Coles, R., Reinhardt, M. & Shulman, G. (eds.). University Press of Kentucky, p. 459-488 30 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    • 2 Editorial activity

    Journal of Sport and Social Issues (Journal)

    Melissa A Orlie (Editorial board member)


    Activity: Editorial work typesEditorial activity

    Educational Theory (Journal)

    Melissa A Orlie (Editorial board member)


    Activity: Editorial work typesEditorial activity