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Joseph S. Devaney

History and Political Science
Assistant Professor of Political Science

Conger 304


Conger 304 229.391.5073

Office Hours: Monday, Friday 10:00am-12:30pm

Tuesday, Thursday 2:00-3:15pm; 5:00-6:00pm

Wednesday 10:00-10:30am

and by appointment

Dr. Joseph S. Devaney is an Assistant Professor of Political Science in the Department of History and Political Science at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. He graduated magna cum laude from The University of Scranton, Scranton, Pennsylvania, where he earned a B.S. in political science with minors in history and philosophy. He earned a J.D. from The Columbus School of Law at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Following law school, Dr. Devaney earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in political theory from The Catholic University of America.

He is a recipient of the H.B. Earhart Fellowship from the H.B. Earhart Foundation (2001-02, 2002-03, 2003-04), the Marguerite Eyer Wilbur Fellowship from the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal (2005-06), and the Richard M. Weaver and Salvatori (declined) Fellowships from the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (2003-04).

Dr. Devaney serves on the editorial advisory board of Anamnesis, A Journal for the Study of Tradition, Place, and ‘Things Divine’ and is former Associate Editor of The Political Science Reviewer. He is a member of the Academy of Philosophy and Letters, The Ciceronian Society, The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, and The Philadelphia Society.

His dissertation, The Bill of Rights and Federalism: An Interpretation in Light of the Unwritten Constitution, argues that the Bill of Rights occupies a much more complex place in the constitutional scheme than is commonly assumed. While individual rights did constitute an important theme during the ensuing debate concerning the importance of a bill of rights, they were not the only theme or even the prevailing theme. A historically, philosophically, and textually informed examination of the Bill of Rights reveals that it was attentive to constitutional structure and was intended to reinforce the commitment to federalism in the original Constitution. The Federal government could not intrude upon the subtle and often fragile social and legal arrangements pertaining to such matters which evolved over a long period of time at the state level. These prerogatives were protected by the several state constitutions, state statutes, and the unwritten common law. This study challenges the conventional wisdom and decades of constitutional jurisprudence, which have assumed that the purpose of the Bill of Rights was to guarantee individual rights. If properly interpreted, the Bill of Rights would serve to decentralize authority, leaving many more decisions to the states and what Robert Nisbet described as “autonomous associations.”

His research interests include Constitutional Law, American political thought, jurisprudence, and Christian political thought, especially the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Dr. Devaney teaches in the ABAC Honors Program and the Politics and Modern Cultures track of ABAC’s Rural Studies Program. He also serves as ABAC’s faculty pre-law advisor.

He is a native of Pennsylvania.