Rafael Khachaturian

Rafael Khachaturian

Lecturer in Penn’s Critical Writing Program

Rafael Khachaturian is a Lecturer in Penn’s Critical Writing Program. 

At the Writing Program, Dr. Khachaturian teaches seminars on topics such as neoliberalism, human rights, mass incarceration, and the history of democratic thought. Prior to joining the Critical Writing Program, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Penn’s Andrea Mitchell Center for the Study of Democracy.

Dr. Khachaturian holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Indiana University Bloomington, an MA in Politics from the New School, and a BA in Philosophy and Social Inquiry, also from the New School. His research focuses on the intersection of contemporary democratic theory, critical theory, and the history of the social sciences. Much of his work is linked by an interest in the changing character of capitalist-democratic regimes since the Cold War, and their effect on democratic subject formation, conceptions of the state, and social movements. His particular area of expertise is in critical theories of the state. His secondary field of interest is the history and politics of the post-Communist world, especially contemporary Russia and the Caucasus. 

Dr. Khachaturian’s dissertation, Discipline, Knowledge, and Critique: Marxist Theory and the Revival of the State in American Political Science, 1968-1989, won the 2018 Stephen E. Bronner Dissertation Award from the Caucus for a Critical Political Science. His work has appeared in journals such as Polity, Contemporary Political Theory, Political Research Quarterly, Perspectives on Politics, Historical Materialism, Science & Society, Sociology of Power, New Political Science, Philosophy & Global Affairs, and Rethinking Marxism. 

Dr. Khachaturian is currently working on three projects. His book manuscript in progress, The Rediscovery of the StateCrisis and Knowledge Production in Postwar Political Science, is a study of how the emergence of critical perspectives on social science helped revive theorizations of the state among political scientists between the 1960s and 1990s. He is also a co-editor of Capitalist States and Marxist Theory: Enduring Debates, New Perspectives, under contract with Palgrave. Another edited volume in development is the translation of revolutionary legal and political theory in the Soviet Union between 1917 and 1930.

Dr. Khachaturian's public writing has appeared in The Nation, Jacobin, Dissent, New Politics, Logos, and other venues. In addition to these activities, he is an associate faculty member of the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research and host of the podcast of Penn’s Andrea Mitchell Center.