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The John M. Olin Center for Inquiry into the Theory and Practice of Democracy

The Lessons of Classical Political Thought for the Twenty-First Century

Autumn Quarter
Winter Quarter
Spring Quarter
Futher Information


Our seminar series is meant to be a serious, open-minded, and far-ranging exploration of what we may learn today from classical (primarily Greek) political thought. Our speakers may choose to develop specific applications of classical political thought to problems newly emerging in the dawning century. Alternatively, on the grounds that what we most need to learn now from the classics is what human beings have always most needed to learn, they may choose to reinterpret the central lessons of classical political thought. Most presentations will focus on a single author or text, but our paper-givers also have the option of taking a broader approach. Our series will have ten seminars (see enclosed schedule). It will feature some of the leading senior scholars today in the field of classical political thought, such as Seth Benardete, Steven Førde, Josiah Ober, and Catherine Zuckert, but also some of the most interesting of today's younger scholars.

The seminar will typically be held from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday afternoons (note on the enclosed schedule that Prof. Josiah Ober's seminar will be on a Thursday afternoon). The seminar will not be widely advertised, and we will expect about 40 graduate students and faculty to be in attendance. The bulk of the time will be spent in discussion. The paper givers will present only a summary of a paper that will be distributed in advance. We will expect all seminar participants to read the paper in advance and come to the seminar prepared to discuss it.


Autumn Quarter

Wednesday, October 6
Steven Førde, Department of Political Science, University of North Texas
Thucydides on Peace
Wednesday, October 20
Devin Stauffer, Department of Political Science, Kenyon College
The Question of Justice in the Opening Sections of Plato's Republic
Wednesday, November 3
SS 302
Catherine Zuckert , Department of Government and International Relations, University of Notre Dame
Who's a Philosopher? Who's a sophist?
Wednesday, November 17
SS 302
Christopher Nadon, Department of Political Science, Trinity College, Connecticut
Xenophon on the Inescapability of Politics

Winter Quarter

Wednesday, January 12
F 505
Sara Monoson, Department of Political Science, Northwestern University
Plato on Popular Culture: Theory and Theatricality in the Republic and Laws
Wednesday, January 26
F 505
Robert Bartlett, Department of Political Science, Emory University
Protagoras and the Problem of "Relativism" in Plato

Wednesday, February 9
F 505
Paul Ludwig, St. John's College, Annapolis
Eros and Law in the Symposium
Wednesday, February 23
F 505
Patrick Deneen, Politics Department, Princeton University
Against Cosmopolitanism: Resisting the Sirens' Song

Spring Quarter

Thursday, April 6Josiah Ober, Department of Classics, Princeton University
Quasi-Rights: Political Boundaries and Social Diversity in Democratic Athens
Wednesday, April 12Seth Benardete, Department of Classics, New York University
Law: Written and Unwritten

Further Information

All seminars in Winter Quarter will be in Foster 505 (1130 E. 59th St.).

All seminars are at 4:30 p.m.

Persons who believe they may need assistance please call Stephen Gregory in advance at 702-3423
or email stephen-gregory@uchicago.edu.

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©1999, 2000 The John M. Olin Center for Inquiry into the Theory and Practice of Democracy, University of Chicago
Revised: January 2nd, 2000