Elizabeth Amato

Dr. Elizabeth Amato

Associate Professor Political Science and International Relations


  • Ph.D., Baylor University
  • M.A., Baylor University
  • B.A., Berry College


Dr. Elizabeth Amato is an Associate Professor of Political Science for the Department of Social Science. Her teaching responsibilities include courses connected with American politics and political theory such as Constitutional Law, Presidency & Congress, American Political Parties, American Politics, and Modern Political Philosophy. She contributed a chapter to A Political Companion to Walker Percy and has published an article on Tom Wolfe’s novels in Perspective on Political Science.

Dr. Amato is the faculty adviser for the Pre-Law Society, a club that helps students explore and prepare for a career in law.

Dr. Amato earned her B.A. at Berry College (Rome, GA), her M.A. and Ph. D. at Baylor University (Waco, TX) in political science. The title of her dissertation is The Pursuit of Happiness and the American Regime, which takes a politics and literature approach to understanding the pursuit of happiness. Before coming to Gardner-Webb University, she taught at James Madison College at Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI).

Dr. Amato’s scholarly interests include the study of happiness, ancient and modern political thought (particularly, Aristotle, Thucydides, Machiavelli, Locke, and Nietzsche), politics, literature and film, American political thought, the American presidency, constitutional law (particularly, executive detention cases, the Taft Court, and 14th Amendment Due Process cases), and political revolutions. Her non-academic past times include drinking coffee, making frequent references to Plato and Aristotle in conversation, watching action films especially from the 1980s, the study of ancient warfare, baking and candy-making, reading children’s books, watching cartoons, growing herbs and container gardening, packing bento boxes, feeling smug for using reusable bags, feeling guilty for not composting more, running, finding new ways to add jalapenos and serrano peppers to food, and reading poetry on Sundays.

Selected Publications

The Pursuit of Happiness and the American Regime: Political Theory in Literature (Lexington Books, 2018)