Foundations of Political Philosophy
Explore the differences between ancient and modern political philosophy, with a focus on texts by Aristotle and Machiavelli.
This two-week course explores the contributions of literature and rhetoric to the study of politics.
The first week, led by Professors Benjamin and Jenna Storey, will examine Plato’s meditation on eros in the Symposium and the natural connections between love, ambition, and fidelity to the polity. What is the relation of the love of beauty, sexual pleasure, and education to virtue? How does eros relate to moral excellence, and to moral failure? Is political ambition an extension or betrayal of the love for another human being? What exactly do we desire from erotic partnership—do lovers seek to complete themselves by merging with their “other halves,” or is love ultimately a longing for immortality that no other human being could satisfy? Peopled by political figures implicated in both the greatness and the collapse of Athens, the Symposium invites its readers to investigate the complexity of properly ordering our loves, an endeavor necessary both to fulfilling private lives and to a strong and decent public order.
The second week, led by Professor Paul Cantor, will study Shakespeare’s Roman plays to explore the interaction between man and city, each taken to its dramatic height. From classical antiquity down to the eighteenth century and such thinkers as Montesquieu and the American Founding Fathers, Rome has been one of the perennial themes of political theory. Shakespeare’s Roman plays (Coriolanus, Julius Caesar, and Antony & Cleopatra) are his contribution to the longstanding debate about Rome, and also occupy a very important place in his comprehensive understanding of the human condition. The plays are evidence of the crucial importance of politics in Shakespeare’s view of human nature, as well as of his sense of the limits of politics.
Paul Cantor lectures on Coriolanus
This two-week course will take place in Washington, DC. It is a full-time commitment for Monday–Friday, with required sessions in the morning, afternoon, and some evenings.
Benjamin Storey is Associate Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Furman University. His interests focus on the history of political philosophy. He is currently completing a book entitled The Restless Age: Four French Thinkers on the Quest for Self-Understanding in an Unsettled Modernity.
Benjamin Storey is Associate Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Furman University. At Furman, he is Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Tocqueville Program, which aims to revivify traditional liberal education in a modern context.
His publications have appeared in First Things, The New Atlantis, The Weekly Standard, The Claremont Review of Books, Doublethink Quarterly, The Journal of Politics, The Review of Politics, Perspectives on Political Science, and Society. He is currently completing a book entitled The Restless Age: Four French Thinkers on the Quest for Self-Understanding in an Unsettled Modernity.
In 2016-2017, he was a Visiting Fellow at the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University. He is the winner of Furman’s 2016 Meritorious Teaching Award, and of the 2011 “American Scholar” Award given by Furman’s chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.
He received his MA and PhD from the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago, and his BA in History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Jenna Silber Storey is Assistant Professor in Politics and International Affairs at Furman University. Her research and writing is focused on the relation of politics and theology in the work of Carl Schmitt and Pierre Manent.
Jenna Silber Storey is Assistant Professor in Politics and International Affairs at Furman University. She is also Managing Director of the Tocqueville Program at Furman, an association of students interested in cultivating the ability to reflect on contemporary issues with a perspective informed by the study of the history of political thought.
Her work has appeared in edited volumes as well as The Boston Globe, The New Atlantis, The Weekly Standard, and The Claremont Review of Books. She has published work on Carl Schmitt and Pierre Manent, and has recently completed the manuscript of a co-authored book with Benjamin Storey entitled The Pursuit of Happiness: Four French Thinkers on Our Restless Quest for Contentment.
Dr. Storey received her PhD from the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago, where she was a John M. Olin Junior Fellow, and her B.A. from the University Professors Program at Boston University, where she also worked as Executive Assistant to the Superintendent for the Boston University-Chelsea Schools Partnership.
Paul Cantor is the Clifton Waller Barrett Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Virginia. He has written on a wide range of subjects, including Shakespeare, Romanticism, Austrian economics, and contemporary popular culture.
Paul A. Cantor is Clifton Waller Barrett Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Virginia, where he has taught since 1977.
From 1992 to 1999, Cantor served on the National Council on the Humanities, the governing board of the National Endowment for the Humanities. He has published extensively on Shakespeare, including his books Shakespeare’s Roman Trilogy (University of Chicago Press, 2017), Shakespeare’s Rome: Republic and Empire (Cornell, 1976), and the Hamlet volume in the Cambridge Landmarks of World Literature series (Cambridge University Press, 1989, 2004). He has also published essays on The Merchant of Venice, Henry V, As You Like It, Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, King Lear, Timon of Athens, Antony and Cleopatra, and The Tempest, as well as on general issues of Shakespeare criticism.
In addition to Shakespeare, he has written about other English Renaissance dramatists, including Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson, Cyril Tourneur, and John Ford. Among the other fields he has worked in are British Romantic literature and American popular culture. His book Gilligan Unbound: Pop Culture in the Age of Globalization (Rowman & Littlefield, 2001) was named one of the best nonfiction books of 2001 by the Los Angeles Times. In the Fall of 2007 and 2012, Cantor was a Visiting Professor of Government at Harvard and taught a course on Shakespeare and Politics, which he also taught in the Spring of 2015.
Cantor received his BA in 1966 and his Ph.D. in 1971 from Harvard University, where he was an assistant professor of English from 1971 to 1977.
Reflect on the enduring value of liberal education and its importance for a free society.
Robert C. Bartlett is the Behrakis Professor of Hellenic Political Studies at Boston College. His principal area of research is classical political philosophy, with particular attention to the thinkers of ancient Hellas, including Thucydides, Plato, and Aristotle. He is the co-translator of a new edition of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics.
Vickie Sullivan is a Professor of Political Science at Tufts University who teaches and studies political thought and philosophy. She has published extensively on Machiavelli, including the monograph Machiavelli’s Three Romes: Religion, Human Liberty, and Politics Reformed.
Laurence Cooper is Professor of Political Science at Carleton College. Most of his research has addressed the question of human flourishing—what it is, how we can know what it is, what it requires from education and politics, and the risks that arise from misunderstanding it.
Bryan Garsten is Professor of Political Science at Yale University. He writes on questions about political rhetoric and deliberation, the meaning of representative government, the relationship of politics and religion, and the place of emotions in political life.
Amy A. Kass
Amy Apfel Kass (1940 – 2015) was a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, Senior Lecturer Emerita in the humanities at the University of Chicago, and coeditor of What So Proudly We Hail: The American Soul in Story, Speech, and Song. She was an award-winning teacher of classic texts.
Leon R. Kass
Leon R. Kass, M.D., is the Addie Clark Harding Professor Emeritus in the Committee on Social Thought and the College at the University of Chicago and the Madden-Jewett Chair at AEI. He was the chairman of the President’s Council on Bioethics from 2001 to 2005. He has been engaged for more than 40 years with ethical and philosophical issues raised by biomedical advances and, more recently, with broader moral and cultural issues.
Diana J. Schaub is Professor of Political Science at Loyola University Maryland and a member of the Hoover Institution’s task force on The Virtues of a Free Society. From 2004 to 2009 she was a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics.
Jakub J. Grygiel
Jakub Grygiel is an Associate Professor at the Catholic University of America. From 2017–18, he was a member of the Policy Planning Staff at the U.S. Department of State. His most recent book is Return of the Barbarians: Confronting Non-State Actors from Ancient Rome to the Present.
Peter Berkowitz is the Tad and Dianne Taube Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He studies and writes about, among other things, constitutional government, conservatism and progressivism in America, liberal education, national security and law, and Middle East politics.