University of Portland

William Curtis PhD

Political Science, Professor

William Curtis PhD



Buckley Center 447

Title IX Responsible Employee

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Professor Bill Curtis teaches courses on political theory/philosophy, the history of political thought, and Constitutional law. He is also the University of Portland’s Pre-Law Advisor and faculty advisor to the Mock Trial Team. Before coming to the University of Portland in 2007, he held visiting positions at the University of Vermont and the University of Alabama, Birmingham. He has an A.B. in Government from Dartmouth College, a J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, an M.A. in Philosophy from Stanford University, and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Duke University. His research interests include: theories of liberalism, classical liberalism and the free market, religion and politics, politics and literature, US Constitutional law, and American pragmatism (Dewey, James, Rorty). He has published articles in academic journals such as: Political Theory, Contemporary Political Theory, and Contemporary Pragmatism. His book, Defending Rorty: Pragmatism and Liberal Virtue, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2015.

Prof. Curtis briefly practiced corporate and real estate law in Denver, Colorado, and clerked at the Colorado Supreme Court for Justice Rebecca Love-Kourlis. Major Curtis (ret.) is a member of the Oregon State Bar and practiced law as an Oregon Army National Guard Judge Advocate (JAG) from 2009-2018.

Professor Curtis originally hails from Missoula, Montana, and is an avid Montana Grizzly football fan, as well as a long-suffering Oakland Raiders fan, which makes up for him being a fairly spoiled Duke Blue Devils basketball fan. He also, of course, roots for the UP Pilots and the Portland Timbers. He enjoys various outdoor pursuits, like skiing on Mt. Hood, hiking and camping, and golf, even though he agrees with the quip often attributed to Mark Twain that the latter tends to be a good walk spoiled.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, Duke University
  • Master of Arts, Stanford University
  • Doctor of Jurisprudence, University of California, Hastings College of Law
  • Bachelor of Arts, Dartmouth College

Curriculum Vitae