Despite working in a field that relies on criticism of society and humanity—her current research is exploring what the phrase “rape culture” means—Alisa Kessel believes political theory can be a source of hope and optimism. “If you can look at all that’s wrong in the world and still imagine that justice is possible—that’s the calling of political theory,” she says. “I think that’s pretty powerful.” As a professor of politics and government, she encourages her students to apply concepts they’ve learned in the hopes of creating a better world for themselves and others.