Virtue & Power
Consider the relationship of virtue to political power.
Is the best way of life to be found in the life of political action? Or is the best life the one spent contemplating the highest things? In this two-week course, students will examine these two ways of life – the life of the philosopher and the life of a statesman – through close readings of Aristotle and Shakespeare.
For the first week, led by Professor Robert Bartlett, students will focus on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and Politics. They will investigate the relations between virtue and happiness and virtue and politics in a systematic inquiry. Over the second week, led by Professor Vickie Sullivan, students will explore how literary works can reveal the direct effect of politics on individuals in a way a political treatise cannot. By study of Shakespeare’s Henry V and Macbeth, they will consider how Shakespeare’s work “[shows] most vividly and comprehensively the fate of tyrants, the character of good rulers, the relations of friends, and the duties of citizens.”
Robert Bartlett on Aristotle's Guide to the Good Life
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.
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.
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, Xenophon, and Aristotle.
He is the author or editor of eight books, including Sophistry and Political Philosophy: Protagoras’ Challenge to Socrates, The Idea of Enlightenment, Plato’s Protagoras and Meno, and Xenophon’s The Shorter Socratic Writings. He is also the co-translator of a new edition of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics (University of Chicago Press, 2011). He has also published articles in the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Politics, Journal of Politics, Review of Politics, and other leading scholarly journals.
Before coming to Boston College, Robert Bartlett served as the Arthur M. Blank/National Endowment for the Humanities Distinguished Teaching Professor at Emory University. He is a graduate of the University of Toronto and holds an MA in Classics and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Boston College.
Vickie Sullivan is the Cornelia M. Jackson Professor of Political Science and teaches and studies political thought and philosophy. She also maintains teaching and research interests in politics and literature. She has published extensively on Montesquieu and Machiavelli and is the co-editor of Shakespeare’s Political Pageant.
Vickie Sullivan is the Cornelia M. Jackson Professor of Political Science and teaches and studies political thought and philosophy. She also maintains teaching and research interests in politics and literature.
She has published the monographs Montesquieu and the Despotic Ideas of Europe (2017); Machiavelli, Hobbes, and the Formation of a Liberal Republicanism in England (2004); and Machiavelli’s Three Romes: Religion, Human Liberty, and Politics Reformed (1996 and 2020). She is the editor of The Comedy and Tragedy of Machiavelli ; the co-editor of Shakespeare’s Political Pageant: Essays in Politics & Literature ; and the co-author of “Machiavelli’s Political Thought” in Oxford Bibliographies.
Her articles have appeared in The American Political Science Review, History of European Ideas, History of Political Thought, Political Theory, Polity, and Review of Politics.
Study Plato’s Republic, perhaps the greatest work of political philosophy ever written.
Explore the work of Leo Strauss, one of the twentieth century’s most consequential teachers and scholars of political philosophy.
Reflect on the enduring value of liberal education and its importance for a free society.
Jenna Silber Storey
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.
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.
Antón Barba-Kay is Associate Professor of Philosophy in the School of Philosophy at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He is finishing a book on the political philosophy of the internet, which he began while a Visiting Fellow in the James Madison Program at Princeton University.
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.
James W. Ceaser
James W. Ceaser is Harry F. Byrd Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia, where he has taught since 1976, and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. He has written several books on American politics and political thought, including Presidential Selection and Liberal Democracy and Political Science.
Richard M. Reinsch II
Richard M. Reinsch II is the founding editor of Liberty Fund’s online journal Law and Liberty and the host of LibertyLawTalk. He writes frequently for such publications as National Affairs, Modern Age, National Review Online, The Weekly Standard, and The University Bookman, among other publications.
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.
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.