Skip to main content
Expand AU Menu

Political Theory Institute


Political Theory Institute

Political Theory Institute
4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016
  • Megan McArdle, left, will debate Bhaskar Sunkara, right
  • Isabel Sawhill, left, and William Darity, right
  • Loading video...
  • Janus Forum Debate
  • 2013 PTI Conference
  • Speaking to a crowd at a lecture series event

Welcome to PTI

The mission of the Political Theory Institute (PTI) is to encourage the serious study of the great questions of political theory and to bring the insights of political theorists to bear on current issues and events.

Mission Statement

Fall 2016 Lectures

Tuesday, September 27th

Mary Graydon Center, Room 2, 5:30-7:00 PM
Robert Goldberg, "On the Opposition of Law and Liberal Education in Plato's Laws"

Robert Goldberg is a tutor at St. John's College, Annapolis. Goldberg earned his bachelor's from St. John's and his doctorate from Harvard University. He taught at the University of Toronto and Kenyon College before joining the faculty at St. John's College in 1995.

Tuesday, October 4th

Mary Graydon Center, Room 200, 5:30 PM
Jan Blits, University of Delaware, "Deadly Virtue: Shakespeare's MacBeth"

Thursday, October 27th

Palmer-Kettler Lounge, 5:30 PM
Robert Gannett, Jr., Chicago community organizer and noted political theorist, "Participation Outside the Voting Booth: Saul Alinsky, Tocqueville, and Why Community Organizing is Important"

Please RSVP and join us for this event.

Tuesday, November 1st

McDowell Formal Lounge, 5:30 PM
Yuval Levin, editor of National Affairs and fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, "The Fractured Republic"

Please RSVP and join us for this event.

Thursday, December 1st

MGC 200, 5:30 PM
Leslie Rubin, "Aristotle on the Virtues of Political Life"

Please RSVP and join us for this event.

Spring 2016 Events

January 14, 2016

McDowell Formal Lounge, 5:30-7:00 PM
Scott Yenor, Boise State University, "Marriage: A Contract or a Community?"

February 1, 2016

SIS Founders Room, 8:00-10:00 PM
Janus Forum Debate: Causes of Poverty

February 25, 2016

MGC 245, 5:30-7:00 PM
Daniel Doneson, Benjamin Franklin Project, MIT, "Aristotle's Regime and the Problem of Justice"

March 1, 2016

SIS Founders Room, 8:00-10:00 PM
Janus Forum Debate: Can Capitalism Be Fixed?

March 3, 2016

Mary Graydon Center, Room 247, 5:30-7:00 PM
Leslie Paul Thiele, Professor of Political Science and Director of Sustainability Studies at the University of Florida, "The Future of Human Nature: Rights and (Wrongs) in the Anthropocene?"

March 17, 2016

Butler Boardroom, 5:30-7:00 PM
Colleen Sheehan, Villanova University, "The Mind of James Madison"

April 21, 2016

Mary Graydon Center, Room 200, 5:00-6:30 PM
Thomas W. Merrill, Book Launch, Hume and the Politics of Enlightenment
John T. Scott of University of California, Davis, and Jerry Weinberger of Michigan State University will discuss.
Listen to the Podcast

Previous Fall 2015 Events

September 18, 2015

Ward Circle Building, 5:30-7:00PM
Jean Yarbrough, Bowdoin College, "Teddy Roosevelt and the Founders' Constitution"

September 24, 2015

Ward Circle Building 6, 5:30-7:00PM
Paul Carrese, US Air Force Academy, "Tocqueville's Philosophy of Moderation"

October 23, 2015

Mary Graydon Center Room 2-3, 5:30-7:00PM
Harvey Flaumenhaft, St. John's College, Annapolis, "Reluctance, Risk, and Reputation: George Washington Decides to Preside"

November 20, 2015

Susan Collins, Notre Dame, "Sparta and the Problem of War in Ancient Political Philosophy"

Director Alan Levine


A specialist in the history of Western political thought, Professor Levine's teaching and research interests include the theoretical principles of the United States, the concept of "America," and ancient, renaissance, modern, and postmodern political theory.

PTI Faculty

Associate Director Thomas Merrill

Read More

An Archive of Theory

  • View videos of our Janus Forum Debates on Gay Marriage (Rauch v. Raimondo) the 2012 Election (Kristol v. Galston), and U.S. Foreign Policy (Preble v. Fly). 
  • Watch each of the three panels of our conference on the "Morality of Capitalism."
  • Review a list of our 2012-2013 lectures and speakers.

Event Videos

The Role of Art in Democracy

Annual Conference 2014

Debate on Economic Inequality