Two Roads from 1787: Elective Dictatorship or Deadlock?
Princeton University Constitution Day Lecture
Alan Ryan, Lecturer with the Rank of Professor in Politics, Princeton University
Commentators: Peter Brooks, Sterling Professor of Comparative Literature Emeritus, Yale University and George Kateb, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics Emeritus, Princeton University
Alan Ryan is currently Lecturer with Rank of Professor in the Department of Politics at Princeton University and Emeritus Professor of Political Thought at the University of Oxford. He is also a Fellow of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, and served as Acting Director of the Values and Public Life certi cate program at the Center for Human Values in 2012-13. And he teaches the seminar “Roads Not Taken: Some Critics of American Society, 1880-1960” in the Program in American Studies. Previously, he was Professor of Politics here from 1988-96. From 1996- 2009, he served as Warden of New College, Oxford, and was the founding Director of the Rothermere American Institute. He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1985.
From 2000 to 2010, he taught at UVA Law School a course on the UK Human Rights Act of 1998, drawing on the shared (until 1776) and divergent (after 1776) constitutional and political histories of Britain and the United States.
His extensive list of highly esteemed publications includes the following: The Philosophy of John Stuart Mill (1970), The Philosophy of the Social Sciences (1970), Property and Political Theory (1984), Bertrand Russell: A Political Life (1987), John Dewey and the High Tide of American Liberalism (1994), Liberal Anxieties and Liberal Education (1998), John Stuart Mill on Liberty and The Subjection of Women, and Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill on Utilitarianism. His most recent publication is On Politics: A History of Political Thought: From Herodotus to the Present, published in 2012, and widely hailed as a magisterial work rmly positioning him as one of the most important political theorists of our time. His collected essays, The Making of Modern Liberalism, also appeared from Princeton University Press in 2012.
George Kateb is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics Emeritus at Princeton. An influential political theorist with an international reputation, he is a champion of democratic individuality and a critic of its many challengers. He is the author of Emerson and Self-Reliance (1994), Patriotism and Other Mistakes (2006), and Human Dignity (2011).
Kateb came to Princeton in 1987 after 30 years on the faculty at Amherst College. At Princeton, he was a dynamic lecturer and a legendary adviser of graduate students. He served as director of the Program in Political Philosophy and was a member of the executive committee of the University Center for Human Values, of which he also served as director. In 1997, he was awarded Princeton’s Behrman Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Humanities. He retired from the faculty in 2002. He was elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has served on the editorial boards of the leading journals in his field.
Peter Brooks is the Sterling Professor of Comparative Literature Emeritus at Yale University, where he was the Founding Director of the Whitney Humanities Center, and currently Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Scholar in the University Center for Human Values and the Department of Comparative Literature, Princeton University. He also served as chair of the Department of French, and of Comparative Literature, at Yale, and as University Professor and Director of the Program in Law and Humanities at the University of Virginia. He is the author of several books, including Enigmas of Identity, Henry James Goes to Paris, Realist Vision, Troubling Confessions: Speaking Guilt in Law and Literature, Psychoanalysis and Storytelling, Body Work, Reading for the Plot, and The Melodramatic Imagination; and also two works of fiction, The Emperor’s Body and World Elsewhere. At Princeton, he directs the “Ethics of Reading” seminar, and will early next year publish a book based on it, The Humanities and Public Life.
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