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John Langton

John Langton

Prof Political Science
 WH 241
 +1 (573) 592-5295
  • Political Science


I have been teaching at Westminster College and living in Fulton, Missouri with my wife and two daughters since 1981. But before that I had never been further west than Pittsburgh. I was born in New York City, moved to Miami when I was about three, and then moved to Norristown, PA, about twenty miles from Philadelphia, when I was ten. I went to Albright College in Reading, PA, and, after receiving my B.A. there, I went to Georgetown University in Washington, DC., where I received my Ph.D. in 1980. I worked for about a year as a lobbyist for the railroads before coming to Westminster, which was quite a change of pace or orientation for me because I had been a member of the counterculture in the 1960s and an opponent of the "the system." Today, I am a liberal Democrat, but I number many Republicans among my best friends.

At Westminster I mostly teach courses on political theory or philosophy, my area of specialization as a graduate student, but I also teach more practical courses, such as Introduction to Political Science, Parties and Elections and even, once in a while, Public Administration. I also regularly teach a course on the American Jury system, as part of the Westminster Seminar Program. I served on a jury in a wrongful death case here in Callaway County a few years ago, and this eye-opening experience encouraged me to become a student of the American jury system. I am now doing research on jury decision making from the perspective of evolutionary psychology, which I hope to turn in to a book in the near future.

In addition to serving as Chair of the Political Science Department and Chair of the Social Science Division, I am also the Coordinator of Westminster's Legal Careers Advisory Committee and the faculty advisor to our pre-law chapter of Phi Alpha Delta, the International Law Fraternity. I take great pride in the fact that over the last two decades, Westminster has sent more than 200 of its graduates to more than 30 law schools, and that almost all of our students have managed to graduate in at least the top half of their law school classes.

I love working at Westminster, where I can really get to know my students and where I can really help them to grow and mature and to develop the skills and knowledge to lead happy, productive, and meaningful lives.

On July 31, 2016,  I delivered an honorary “Last Lecture” at the first Westminster Summer Alumni Retreat. That Lecture- “Are We F**ked By Climate Change?”- was subsequently published in December,  2016 in the new online, peer reviewed Journal of Sustainability Studies.

Between the fall of 2015 and the spring of 2017, more than 200 of my former students, colleagues, family and friends contributed over a million dollars to endow the “Dr. John Langton Professorship of Legal Studies and Political Science.” After I retire, funds from the Langton Professorship will be used to recruit and support outstanding scholars, who will teach political science and pre-law  courses.

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