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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

Fall 2022 Events

All events 5:30-7:00 pm ET.

9/15: Steven Smith, Yale University, on “Is Patriotism Worth Preserving?” Constitution Day event. Live online conversation with Sarah Houser.

10/6: Arthur Herman, Hudson Institute, on “The Idea of the Decline of the West.” Live online with Alan Levine.

10/18: Zena Hitz, St. John’s College-Annapolis, on "Why You Shouldn't Want to Rule the World (Or Take Another Internship)." Lincoln Scholars Lecture. In person at AU.

10/24: Robert Pepperman Taylor, University of Vermont, on “Lessons from Walden: Thoreau and the Crisis of American Democracy.” Live online conversation with Alan Levine.

11/9: Celebration of The Black Intellectual Tradition by Anika Prather (Howard University) and Angel Adams Parham (University of Virginia). In person at AU.

New Date, 12/5: John McWhorter, Columbia University, on “Anti-Racism as Practiced Today: A Dissent.” Live online conversation with Alan Levine.

American University School of Public Affairs

Political Theory Institute Guest Lectures

Videos in this playlist

To play a specific video, use the playlist icon in the player or view each video on YouTube.

  1. American University School of Public Affairs

    Cornel West and Robert George Talk About the Purpose of a Liberal Education

  2. American University School of Public Affairs

    "Lessons from Walden: Thoreau & the Crisis of American Democracy" w/ Robert Pepperman Taylor

  3. American University School of Public Affairs

    2022 Lincoln Scholars Lecture: “Why You Shouldn’t Want to Rule the World w/ Zena Hitz

  4. American University School of Public Affairs

    Political Theory Institute's The Idea of Decline in Western History

  5. American University School of Public Affairs

    The Political Theory Institute Presents: "Is Patroitism Worth Preserving"

  6. American University School of Public Affairs

    When is Dialogue Damaging? Nietzsche on the Conditions of Creating New Moralities

  7. American University School of Public Affairs

    Catching Up with Ralph Ellison: The Blackness of Blackness

  8. American University School of Public Affairs

    The Crush of Democracy: Tocqueville and the Egalitarian Mind

  9. American University School of Public Affairs

    What is Identity Politics, and Does it Undermine our Liberal Polity?

  10. American University School of Public Affairs

    Why We are Restless: On the Modern Quest for Contentment

  11. American University School of Public Affairs

    Populism, Polarization, and National Identity w/ Francis Fukuyama

  12. American University School of Public Affairs

    What Can We Learn from Political History?: Strauss and Aron on Thucydides

  13. American University School of Public Affairs

    The Political and Constitutional Thought of Alexander Hamilton

  14. American University School of Public Affairs

    Progressivism and the Successor Ideology w/ Author Wesley Yang

  15. American University School of Public Affairs

    What Went Wrong with Modernity? w/ Rémi Brague

  16. American University School of Public Affairs

    Democratizing the Great Books w/ Roosevelt Montas

  17. American University School of Public Affairs

    PTI: The Life and Work of Gertrude Himmelfarb

  18. American University School of Public Affairs

    PTI Event: After the Backlash: Immigration, Populism, and Liberal Nationalism

  19. American University School of Public Affairs

    What is the National Interest? w/ Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster

  20. American University School of Public Affairs

    "Does Conservatism Have a Future in the United States?" w/ Patrick Deneen

  21. American University School of Public Affairs

    Does Socialism Have a Future in the United States? w/ Bhaskar Sunkara

  22. American University School of Public Affairs

    Does the Center Have a Future in the United States?” w/ William Galston, Brookings Institution

  23. American University School of Public Affairs

    Do the Humanities Have a Future? The Liberal Arts Between Technocracy and Radicalism”

  24. American University School of Public Affairs

    Facebook Live: Lincoln Scholar Lecture with Danielle Allen

  25. American University School of Public Affairs

    Free Speech on Campus

  26. American University School of Public Affairs

    Fashion, Identity, and Freedom of Expression w/ Gwenda-lin Grewal

  27. American University School of Public Affairs

    PTI Webinar: Athens’ Plague and Ours

  28. American University School of Public Affairs

    Facebook Live: Immigration, What Should U.S. Policy Be?

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Politics and Humanities

Politics and the Humanities is a podcast hosted by Tom Merrill (SPA Government) and Sarah Marsh (CAS Literature) on books, ideas, and liberal education.

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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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