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Strategic Plan 2008 and Beyond

Events and News


Friday, April 19, 2013
218 Woodburn Hall
12.-1.30 p.m.

Christine D. Hendernson

Senior Fellow, Liberty Fund, Indianapolis

'Being a Citizen of No City': the Essais and the Political

This paper explores the theme of the political in Montaigne's Essais in three dimensions: 1. What kind of guidance does Montaigne offer us about good political life?; 2. What type of regime(s) would be most conducive to Montaigne's views?; 3. What would a regime of Montaigne look like?


Bio: Christine Dunn Henderson is Senior Fellow at Liberty Fund, Inc. She received her Ph.D. in political science from Boston College. She is the contributing editor of Seers and Judges: American Literature as Political Philosophy, co-editor (with Mark Yellin) of Joseph Addison's "Cato" and Selected Essays, and co-translator (with Henry Clark) of Encyclopedic Liberty: Political Articles from the "Dictionary" of Diderot and D'Alembert. Her publications and research interests include Tocqueville, Beaumont, French liberalism, and politics and literature.


Friday, April 5, 2013

Tocqueville Room, Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, 513 N. Park Avenue
12:00-1:30 p.m.

Absent from the Universe? Latin American Political Theory in the Age of Nation-Building

José Antonio Aguilar Rivera
Visiting Fellow, Kellogg Institute for International Studies,
Notre Dame University,

The mistake of the Latin American "constitutional moment" explanation was to assume that there was a well-established theoretical model that can be followed. There were three general problems with this interpretation, First, there were different and often contradictory interpretations of the same doctrine-separation of powers being one example. Second, because of limited governing experience, it was impossible to correctly assess the relative effectiveness of several of the model's institutional components. Finally, there were many holes in the theoretical structure of liberalism. Many Latin Americans saw themselves as heirs and agents, rather than creators, of the liberal institutional model under construction. The results obtained with the application of the model were not systematized to create general theories about representative government. Since representative governments were established in all Latin American nations, it is plausible to imagine that what occurred there would aid them to critically reconsider their principles and institutions. The experiment tested several institutional components of the model. The result could have served to revise suppositions and, ultimately, first principles. Nonetheless, this type of reflection occurred only a handful of times in Latin America. In my presentation, I will try to explore several moments when critical revisions of theories and of adopted systems occurred and to examine their consequences for political theory as a whole.

José Antonio Aguilar Rivera (Ph. D. Political Science, University of Chicago) is Professor of political science at the División de Estudios Políticos, CIDE (Mexico City). He has been a Visiting Fellow at the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, University of Notre Dame, the Institute for Advanced Studies, Warwick University and Visiting Scholar at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris. He is the autor of several books including El sonido y la furia. La persuasión multicultural en México y Estados Unidos (México: Taurus, 2004), En pos de la quimera: reflexiones sobre el experimento constitucional atlántico (Mexico: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2000), La geometría y el mito. Un ensayo sobre la libertad y el liberalismo en México, 1821-1970 (Mexico: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2010) and Ausentes del Universo. Reflexiones sobre el pensamiento político hispanoamericano en la era de la construcción nacional, 1821- 1850 (México: Fondo de Cultura Económica/CIDE, 2012). Most recently, he edited Liberty in Mexico. Writings on Liberalism from the Early Republican Period to the Second Half of the Twentieth Century (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2012). He publishes regularly in Nexos, one of the leading Mexican intellectual magazines.
The talk is sponsored by the Tocqueville Program and the Ostrom Workshop.


Events co-sponsored by the Tocqueville program in the Fall 2012 semester

During the Fall 2012 semester, the Tocqueville Program will continue to co-sponsor (in collaboration with, among others, the Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis and the Department of Political Science) a series of stimulating lectures and events. They are free and open to the public and are addressed to a wide and cross-disciplinary audience. The list of events will be updated periodically and the available papers will be posted on the site of the program in due course.

September 17, 2012 (Monday).

Patrick Deneen. Constitution Day lecture.
Co-sponsored by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, Wilmington, Delaware.
Woodburn Hall, 4-6 pm.

Patrick J. Deneen is Frank Potenziani Associate Professor of Constitutional Studies in the Department of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame. He has previously taught at Georgetown and Princeton universities.

Patrick Deneen

October 5, 2012 (Friday),

Tracy Strong, "Max Weber, Magic, and the Politics of Social Scientific Objectivity."
Woodburn 218, 12-1.30 pm

(Political Theory Series, co-sponsored by the Department of Political Science and the Center for the Theoretical Inquiry in Humanities)

Tracy Strong is Distinguished Professor of Political Theory in the Department of Political Science at the University of California, San Diego.

October 22, 2102 (Monday).

Venelin Ganev, "Mores and Institutions: Tocquevillian Insights and Postcommunist Democratizations."
513 N. Park, Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, 12-1.30 pm.

Venelin Ganev is Associate Professor of Political Science at the Miami University of Ohio and a specialist on post-communist transitions to democracy. politicalscience/user/19. His talk will be co-sponsored by the Ostrom Workshop.

October 26, 2012 (Friday).

Olivier Zunz. "Was Tocqueville Ever American?"
513 N. Park, Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, 12-1.30 pm.

Olivier Zunz is Commonwealth Professor of History at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, and a prominent Tocqueville scholar. His talk will be co-sponsored by the Center for Philanthropy at IU and the Ostrom Workshop and will be based on his introduction to Democracy in America just published in the new Library of America Paperback Classics series.

November 2, 2012 (Friday)

Ronald Beiner, "Civil Religion: A Window into Perennial Themes of Political Philosophy"
Woodburn Hall, 218, 11.30-1 pm.

This talk, a Horizons of Knowledge Lecture, will be co-sponsored by the Departments of Political Science, History, Religious Studies, Germanic Studies, Philosophy, French and Italian, the Center for the Theoretical Inquiry in the Humanities, and the Poynter Center.

ABSTRACT. Civil religion is a notable theme within our tradition of political thought because many of the leading thinkers of modernity – Machiavelli, Hobbes, Harrington, Spinoza, Locke, Bayle, Montesquieu, Rousseau – came to the view that religion poses a decisive political problem, and were determined to seek out a variety of strategies for domesticating religion politically, civil religion (the political appropriation of religion in the service of the ends of politics, not those of religion) being one of those strategies. The full story is told in my book on Civil Religion (Cambridge University Press, 2011). In this talk, I sketch some major

themes of the book. But I also try to pose some broader questions: What form of intellectual activity is enacted in reading and interpreting such texts? Is the purpose necessarily to solve specific practical predicaments in a particular time and place, or are the thinkers of the theory canon oriented towards more universal concerns? Arguably, civil religion as formulated by, for instance, Hobbes and Harrington was fairly quickly trumped by competing strategies of domesticating religion within the liberal tradition. Why, then, do the texts in which the civil- religion idea was articulated continue, centuries later, to exercise the degree of fascination that they do?

Ronald Beiner is Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto. A leading contemporary political theorist, he is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. His books include Political Judgment (1983); What's the Matter with Liberalism? (1992); Philosophy in a Time of Lost Spirit (1997); and Liberalism, Nationalism, Citizenship (2003). His latest book, Civil Religion (2011), explores how thinkers from Machiavelli to Rawls have addressed the problem of politics and religion. He is also editor of Hannah Arendt's Lectures on Kant's Political Philosophy.

December 7, 2012 (Friday)

Joohyung Kim, "Niklas Luhmann's Reluctant Normativism"
Woodburn 218, 11.30-1 pm (Political Theory Series)

ABSTRACT: Niklas Luhmann's social and political theory has been widely considered "anti- normative" or "normatively tonedeaf" and rejected on account of its allegedly pernicious normative implications. This paper explains why this kind of characterization, for which Habermas is largely responsible, is ill-informed and misleading. It then shows that Luhmann's skeptical voice on many social and political issues is rooted in his analysis of the core structural features of modern society as well as in his sustained considerations on the conditions of knowledge in modernity. The last part of the paper connects what I call Luhmann's "reluctant normativism" to the way he conceptualizes politics as one of the subsystems of modern society and critically discusses this conceptual strategy of locating politics.

Joohyung Kim is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Political Science at Indiana University and is currently completing a doctoral dissertation on the political thought of Niklas Luhmann. His talk will be co-sponsored by the Department of Political Science.

During the Spring semester 2013, we will host, among others, lectures on the role of the executive power (January 18, by David Orentlicher, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, and author of Two Presidents Are Better Than One: The Case for a Bipartisan Executive Branch, NYU Press, 2013), on Condorcet’s writings on America ( January 25, by Guillaume Ansart, IUB), on Tocqueville and abolitionist (February 8, by Seymour Drescher, University of Pittsburgh), and on Tocqueville’s new science of politics (April 9, by Christine Henderson, Senior Fellow, Liberty Fund). More information will be posted on this website soon.