Please join us for the beginning of the spring 2014 Dean's Lecture and Concert Series. All lectures are free and open to the public. See below for times and locations.
Machiavelli’s very large enterprise can be studied from his use, just once in all his writings, of the phrase Verità Effettuale (The Prince, ch. 15). This phrase opens the door to modern method and epistemology, in particular to the critique of imagination and the discovery of “fact,” a modern word that today “everyone knows”--only too well. Machiavelli laid the ground for modern philosophy as well as modern morality and modern politics.
Harvey C. Mansfield is the William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Government at Harvard University. He was chairman of the department from 1973 to 1977,has held Guggenheim and NEH fellowships, and has been a fellow at the National Humanities Center. He won the Joseph R. Levenson Award for his teaching at Harvard, received the Sidney Hook Memorial Award from the National Association of Scholars, and in 2004 accepted a National Humanities Medal. In 2007, he delivered the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Jefferson Lecture. He has hardly left Harvard since his first arrival in 1949 and has been on the faculty since 1962, having been awarded his doctorate in philosophy the previous year.
For more than 40 years, Mansfield has been writing and teaching about political philosophy, examining both contemporary politics and their historical origins. His 14 books delve into the words of past thinkers such as Edmund Burke and Machiavelli. Mansfield also is a frequent contributor to numerous periodicals, including The Wall Street Journal, The New Republic, National Review, and New York Times Literary Supplement.
Given the challenges to the legitimacy of mankind and of the most concrete menaces that loom at the horizon, can we do with a “weak” version of what is good? If we want to give grounds for a “humanism,” we will have to step back from the modern search for a comfortable social life and even from the virtues of the Aristotelian tradition to Plato’s Idea of the Good.
Rémi Brague is emeritus professor of Medieval and Arabic philosophy at the University of Paris I. He teaches also at the Ludwig-Maximilian-Universität of Munich, where he holds the Romano Guardini chair. He was visiting professor at the Pennsylvania State University, Boston University, Boston College- U.S., the Universidad de Navarra in Pamplona, and the University San Raffaele in Milan. Brague is member of the Institut de France (Academy of Moral and Political Sciences).
Elizabeth Samet will be talking about some of the ways in which characters in Shakespeare surrender to and attempt to escape the plots in which they find themselves.
Elizabeth D. Samet is the author of Soldier’s Heart: Reading Literature Through Peace and War at West Point (FSG), which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Current Interest and was named one of The New York Times’ 100 Notable Books of 2007, and Willing Obedience: Citizens, Soldiers, and the Progress of Consent in America, 1776-1898 (Stanford UP). Her essays and reviews have been published in various publications, including The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, and The New Republic. She also has appeared on the News Hour with Jim Lehrer, NPR, and the BBC World Service. Samet is the editor of a forthcoming anthology, Leadership: Essential Writings by Our Greatest Thinkers (Norton); her book No Man’s Land will be published by FSG next fall. She is professor of English at West Point. The opinions Samet expresses in this lecture are her own and do not necessarily represent those of the U.S. Military Academy, the Department of the Army, or the Department of Defense.
Téa Obreht’s first novel, The Tiger’s Wife, won the 2011 Orange Prize for Fiction and was a finalist for the 2011 National Book Award. She will read from her work and discuss the art of writing.
Téa Obreht was born in 1985 in the former Yugoslavia and spent her childhood in Cyprus and Egypt before eventually immigrating to the United States in 1997. Her writing has been published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harper’s, Zoetrope: All-Story, The New York Times, and The Guardian, and it has been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Non-Required Reading. She has been named by The New Yorker as one of the 20 best American fiction writers under 40 and included in the National Book Foundation’s list of 5 Under 35. Téa Obreht lives in Ithaca, New York.
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is a masterpiece of Sanskrit literature, yet can be difficult to understand and apply. Many kinds of yoga are mentioned, all pointing toward the same goal of connecting our individual, changing, outer consciousness to our universal, unchanging, inner light of awareness. What does “practice” mean beyond the physical postures? Where does “mindfulness” fit in? How can inner quiet help us manage outer responsibilities?
Nicolai Bachman has been teaching Sanskrit, chanting, yoga philosophy, and Ayurveda since 1994. He has a knack for synthesizing and organizing complex topics into simple and understandable presentations. His education combines informal, traditional study with the academic rigor of university classes. He has studied extensively at the American Sanskrit Institute, the Ayurvedic Institute, the American Institute of Vedic Studies, and the Vedic Chant Center. He holds a master of arts degree in Eastern philosophy, a master of science degree in nutrition, and is eRYT500 certified. He also has written several Sanskrit book/CD learning tools.