Melissa A Orlie

1986 …2017
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Personal profile

Research Interests

  • Classical, modern, and contemporary political theory
  • Marx, Nietzsche, Freud
  • Democratic theory and practice
  • Psychoanalysis
  • 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.


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

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Research Output 1986 2017

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


Making Sense of Negative Liberty: Berlin's Antidote to Political Rationalism

Orlie, M. A., Dec 20 2012, Isaiah Berlin and the Politics of Freedom: ‘Two Concepts of Liberty’ 50 Years Later. Baum, B. & Nichols, R. (eds.). Routledge Taylor & Francis, p. 143-154 (Routledge Innovations in Political Theory).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Activities 1995 2000

  • 2 Editorial activity

Educational Theory (Journal)

Melissa A Orlie (Editorial board member)

Activity: Editorial work typesEditorial activity

Journal of Sport and Social Issues (Journal)

Melissa A Orlie (Editorial board member)

Activity: Editorial work typesEditorial activity