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Political Theory Institute

"The unexamined life is not worth living."
–Socrates

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

spring 2020 Lecture Series

February 18, Mary Graydon Center 3-4, 5:30-7PM
Terrence Johnson, Georgetown University, on “The Souls of Black Folk: Double Consciousness and the Grammar of Black Politics.”

March 3, Mary Graydon Center 3-4, 5:30-7PM
Yuval Levin, Director of Social, Cultural, and Constitutional Studies at the American Enterprise Institute and the editor of National Affairs, on “A Time to Build.”

March 23, McDowell Formal Lounge, 5:30-7PM
Remi Brague, University Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris I), emeritus, “What Went Wrong with Modernity?”

April 7, Kerwin 301, 5:30-7PM
Roosevelt Montas, Director of the Great Books Program at Columbia University, “Democratizing the Great Books.”

April 21, Butler Board Room, 5:30-7PM
“The Life and Work of Gertrude Himmelfarb” – a panel discussion featuring: Matthew Continetti, Founding Editor of the Washington Free Beacon and adjunct professor at American University; Jerry Muller, Catholic University; Samuel Moyn, Yale University; William Kristol, Director, Defending Democracy Together and former Sine Fellow at American University.

Lincoln Scholar Lecture with Danielle Allen

Does the Declaration of Independence still speak to us today? The document famously expresses American aspirations to liberty and equality for all, yet it was written at a time marked by slavery and racial injustice. In the inaugural Lincoln Scholars lecture, based on her book Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality, Dr. Danielle Allen discusses how old texts can reveal unexpected perspectives and transformative possibilities.

Immigration, What Should U.S. Policy Be?

Immigration is a divisive issue in U.S. politics. Americans are divided over who and how many immigrants to admit as well as how we should think about illegal immigration. Join us, as Shikha Dalmia of the Reason Foundation and Ramesh Ponnuru of The National Review help us think through these issues.

Funding for this project was provided by the Institute for Humane Studies.

The Purpose of a Liberal Education

Robert George and Cornel West led a discussion on the purpose of a liberal education at American University.

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2018 Students

The Political Theory Institute prepares students for a diverse array of graduate programs and career paths.

Jonathan Rauch's Top Ten Reasons Not to Silence Speech

Jonathan Rauch's Top Ten Reasons Not to Silence Speech

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Civil War Cannon

Research ·

Professors Link Relevance of Civil War to Political Debate Today

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Upcoming Lecture Series

February 18, Mary Graydon Center 3-4, 5:30-7PM
Terrence Johnson, Georgetown University, on “The Souls of Black Folk: Double Consciousness and the Grammar of Black Politics.”

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