Teaching focuses on ancient Greek and Roman political theory, especially Plato; also explores topics in knowledge and politics, environmental ethics and political theory, modern political thought, and the humanities more broadly.
My undergraduate teaching focuses on ancient political theory and associated topics in the history of political theory and political philosophy, as well as broader topics in the humanities and environmental humanities. In 2015, I was awarded one of two annual Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Prizes by the graduating class of Phi Beta Kappa students at Princeton.
In 2020-21 (due to sabbatical leave) and 2019-20 (due to other reasons of force majeure) I have not engaged in undergraduate teaching or advising. I will teach POL 301-CLA 301, ‘Political Theory, Athens to Augustine,’ in Fall 2021, and plan to turn it into a MOOC in partnership with Professor Jed Atkins, Classical Studies, Duke University.
In 2018-19, my undergraduate teaching was focused on a Junior Workshop on ‘Political Office in Political Theory’ which is limited to students enrolled as concentrators in Politics. I also advised a number of students on their junior and senior independent work.
From time to time I also teach ‘Political Theory’ (POL 210), in alternation with Professor Anna Stilz or another colleague. I pioneered the teaching of this course with an optional CBLI (Community-Based Learning Initiative) component, in which students led community precepts based on the course material with community auditors and groups of high school students in Trenton, Ewing, and elsewhere in the local area.
- The Environmental Nexus (ENV 200): I was one of four faculty leading this large new interdisciplinary course in environmental studies, and was responsible for leading the track in Ethical Theory and Moral Values (ENV 200C)
- The Fall Humanities Sequence (HUM 216 / HUM 217): Homer to Dante, as part of an interdisciplinary team; my lectures were on Herodotus, Plato’s Symposium, Livy, Tacitus, the Hebrew Bible (II), and Augustine’s Confessions
- ‘Science and Democracy’ (POL 404 / CHV 404)
- ‘Greece and Rome as Political Models’ (POL 411 / CLA 411)
- The Professor Amy Gutmann Freshman Seminar in Human Values in Spring 2012 (FRS 146), on ‘Reading Plato’s Republic’.
At Princeton, 9 of the 16 students whose undergraduate theses I have advised have won one or more prizes for their thesis:
- 2018-19: Daniel Shepard (Philosophy): ‘Individual Responsibility for the Structural Injustice of Climate Change,’ awarded Class of 1869 Prize in Ethics and the Environmental Studies Book Prize in Humanities.
- 2018-19: Delaney Thull (Philosophy), ‘Political Unity in Plato’s Republic ,’ awarded Class of 1869 Prize in Ethics.
- 2016-17: Colleen O’Gorman (Politics): ‘Lessons from Emily Doe: A Survivor-Centric Approach to Sexual Assault’, awarded the New. York Herald Prize in Politics; the Suzanne Huffman Prize in Gender and Sexuality Studies; and a University Center for Human Values (UCHV) Senior Thesis Prize, awarded to one or more senior theses that make an outstanding contribution to the study of human values.
- 2016-17: Nabil Shaikh (Politics): ‘‘Global Access to End-of-Life Care: An Intrinsic Dignity-Based Theory of Holistic Health Justice’, awarded Global Health Program Senior Thesis Prize
- 2014-15: Cameron Langford (Politics): ‘Epistemic Ecosystems: A Theory of Science Communications’, won the New York Herald Prize in Politics in 2015, established by James Gordon Bennett, and awarded to the senior who has presented the best thesis on a subject of contemporaneous interest in the domestic or foreign policy of the United States government, as well as a University Center for Human Values Senior Thesis Prize
- 2014-15: Yung In Chae (Classics): ‘The Classical Emergence of Examination’ was jointly awarded the John J. Keaney Prize for the best senior thesis in the Department of Classics
- 2013-14: Robert Lee Stone III (Politics): ‘Socrates Satisfied: John Stuart Mill, Plato, and the Athenian Political Ideal’ won a University Center for Human Values Senior Thesis Prize for 2014, awarded to one or more senior theses that make an outstanding contribution to the study of human values.
- 2011-12: Brian Lipshutz (Politics) ‘“An Outside Force”: Woodrow Wilson’s Critique of the Constitution, 1885-1908’ won the Stephen Whelan ’68 Senior Thesis Prize awarded by the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions in 2012, for the best senior thesis on a topic relating to the study of public or constitutional law.
- 2009-10: Inae Kim (Politics): ‘Disobedience and the Good: Reviving the Good in Politics’ won the Philo Sherman Bennett Prize in Politics in 2010, for the junior or senior writing the best essay discussing the principles of free government.
I have advised Junior Papers (JPs) in Politics, Classics, and Philosophy, on topics including studies of Hayek and Soros; the relationship between Cicero and Plato; Plato’s Republic; Rousseau’s Discourse on the origins of inequality; Machiavellian republican reforms to international organizations; virtue in the political theory of the American constitution; the normative status of homeownership in public policy; and sustainable development.
In graduate teaching I am dedicated to teaching ancient Greek political thought both to students with Greek (primarily those enrolled in the interdepartmental Program in Classical Philosophy or certificate in Classical Philosophy) and to students without Greek interested in these subjects (primarily those enrolled in political theory). I also advise and occasionally formally teach on environmental ethics, political theory, and climate change. I have advised many students in graduate research at PhD and Master’s level in ancient political theory, and also in modern political theory and normative political philosophy.
The following students on whose committees I have served at Princeton have completed their PhDs (in Politics unless otherwise noted):
- Emily Hulme Kozey (Classics), 2019: Philosophia kai Philotechnia: the Techne Theme in the Platonic Dialogues: Seymour Reader in Ancient History and Philosophy, Ormond College, Melbourne
- Merrick Anderson (Philosophy), 2018: Justice and Prospering: Ancient Debates, Disagreements, and Dilemmas: Keeling Research Fellow, Philosophy, UCL
- John P. DiIulio, 2018: Completely Free: J.S. Mill on Individuality and Sociality: James N. Perry Scholar of Philosophy, Politics, and Society in the Program for Research on Religion and Urban Civil Society; previously postdoctoral fellow in the Madison Program, Princeton
- Theodore (Ted) Lechterman, 2016: Donors’ Democracy: Private Philanthropy and Political Morality (PhD 2016): research fellow at the Institute for Ethics in AI at the University of Oxford; previously, postdoctoral fellow at Justitia Amplificata, Frankfurt; postdoc at the Stanford McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society & Center for Philanthropy and Civil Society, Stanford
- Trevor Latimer, 2015: The Localist Tradition in America: previously, Lecturer, Dartmouth University; previously, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Georgia and Postdoctoral fellow, Political Theory Project at Brown
- Michael Lamb, 2014: A Commonwealth of Hope: Virtue, Rhetoric, and Religion in Augustine’s Political Thought: Assistant Professor of Politics, Ethics, and Interdisciplinary Humanities and Director of the Program in Leadership and Character at Wake Forest University; previously McDonald-Templeton Post-Doctoral Fellowship in the Faculty of Theology and Religion, Oxford University
- Joseph Clair (Religion), 2013: Discerning the Good in the Letters and Sermons of Augustine: Dean of the College of Christian Studies, Liberal Arts, and Honors, and Associate Professor of Theology, George Fox University
- Melissa Moschella, 2012: Parental Rights in Education: Assistant Professor of Medical Ethics in the Department of Medicine at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons; previously, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Catholic University of America
- Julie Rose, 2012: Leisure: The Resource of Time in Theories of Distributive Justice: Associate Professor of Government, Dartmouth College, previously, postdoctoral fellowships at the Center for Ethics and Society at Stanford and in the Political Theory Project at Brown
- Joshua Vandiver, 2012: Ambition and Rebellion: Citizen Motivation and the Spirited Passions in the Political Thought of Plato and Xenophon: Assistant Professor, Ball State University; previously, Visiting Assistant Professor at Williams and at the University of Chicago
In most alternating years (next scheduled for Fall 2021), I offer a graduate seminar or reading course now titled ‘Political Theory, Athens to Augustine’. This course normally attracts a large enrollment of graduate students from several departments, often including Classics, English, History, Philosophy, and Religion as well as Politics.
Graduate seminars that I have taught at Princeton include:
- S 2020: POL 507 / CLA 507 / PHI 507 / HLS 507, Plato’s Statesman (half-seminar)
- S 2019:POL 507 / CLA 507 / PHI 507 / HLS 507, Plato’s Republic Books 8 and 9 (half-seminar); POL 562, Political Theory and Climate Change (half-seminar)
- F 2015: POL 510, Texts in Ancient and Medieval Political Theory
- S 2015: POL 507 / CLA 507 / PHI 507 / HLS 507, Plato’s Statesman (half-seminar with additional optional reading course in Greek)
- S 2014: POL 501, Solitude and Sociability
- F 2010: POL 511, Knowledge and Politics
- S 2010: POL 510, Founder-Legislators in Plato, Rousseau, and Nietzsche
I have also taught bespoke graduate reading courses – designed in conjunction with particular students, a special strength of the Princeton graduate program – on the following topics (noting that I was on leave from teaching in 2017-18):
- F 2017: Plato’s Laws Book III half-course: one Politics graduate student; graduate student auditors from Classics (1), Philosophy (5), and Comp Lit (1); postdoctoral auditor, Philosophy (one); faculty auditors, Philosophy and Classics (one each)
- S 2016: Classical Rhetoric half-course: two Politics graduate students (one a visiting Procter student); also auditing, two from Classics and six from Philosophy
- S 2015: Reading Plato’s Statesman in Greek half-course: one Politics graduate student, one from Religion, one (visiting) from Philosophy, one auditing from Classics, one auditing from Philosophy
- S 2015: Platonic Political Theory half-course: four Politics graduate students
- F 2013: Ancient and Medieval Political Theory: two Politics graduate students, one from Philosophy
- S 2012: Platonic Thought (POL 787): one graduate student from Politics, two from Religion, one from Classics
- F 2011: Ancient and Medieval Political Theory (POL 702): three Politics graduate students
My PhD students at the University of Cambridge, where I taught from 1994-2009, were registered variously in the Faculties of History and Philosophy, and worked on topics including theoretical and practical knowledge in Plato’s thought, Nietzsche’s late political thought and its relationship to that of Plato, migration, climate change, human rights, and the capability to be healthy. Among them are:
- Sridhar Venkatapuram, on the capability to be healthy, appointed to a permanent lectureship (equivalent to an American tenured post) in the Public Policy School of King’s College London and to the directorship of the graduate master’s level programme in Global Health and Social Justice, from 2013 onward; appointed Senior Lecturer at King’s College London in 2016.
- Katy (Catharine) Long, on the political theory of refugee repatriation, appointed to a permanent lectureship (equivalent to an American tenured post) in International Development in the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh from autumn 2013; resigned for personal reasons; remains active in research and policy fields.
- Hugo Halferty-Drochon, on Nietzsche’s political theory, appointed to a five-year postdoctoral research fellowship at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Cambridge from 2013 onward; appointed Lecturer at the University of Nottingham in 2017.
(One other completed his PhD as a mature student and has not sought full-time academic employment; two others successfully received their PhDs but eventually left academia, one from a tenure-track position in Canada and the other post-PhD to return to a family business.)
At Master’s level (M.Phil. in Cambridge), my students’ topics for the inter-faculty M.Phil. in Political Philosophy and Intellectual History included Plato, Augustine, and Nietzsche’s writings on the Greeks, as well as a wide range of topics in modern political theory. I also advised students for the M. Phil. in Classics (Faculty of Classics) on topics including the interpretation of Plato’s Laws and George Grote’s reading of Plato.
I have examined a number of doctoral dissertations at the University of Cambridge (for the Faculties of Classics, History, and Social and Political Sciences) and also served as an external PhD examiner for the London School of Economics and for Birkbeck, University of London. I was the first External Examiner of the M.A. in the History of Ideas at Birkbeck, University of London, serving from 2006-08.