On 7 July, the AHI concluded its first annual summer seminar. To judge by the comments of students, faculty, and observers–some of whom traveled hundreds of miles from as far away as Canada to participate–the two-day event proved intellectually stimulating and rewarding.
The AHI would like to thank Mary and David Nichols of Baylor University for assuming a lead role in organizing the event. They and Michael and Catherine Zuckert from Notre Dame University led the attendants during five sessions in searching discussion of fundamental questions about the human condition and of the challenges posed by the quite different responses to these questions in Machiavelli’s and Shakespeare’s writings.
One of the graduate student attendants thanked the AHI for providing an opportunity to explore understudied issues in political theory and republicanism. “As a young scholar with a serious intellectual interest in the traditional ways of studying the Western civilization and the Western intellectual tradition,” he added, “it is indeed encouraging to see that there are places like the AHI where such endeavors are taken so seriously.”
Said one informed layperson who traveled to the seminar from Batavia, New York: “It was an honor to be in the audience and listen to the analysis and interpretations of the professors and graduate students . . . .This seminar provided many opportunities for introspection and laughter as we enjoyed reviewing the different human qualities and flaws and motivations of the authors and their literary characters in relation to each other and their duties. . . . These professors evoked in me a desire to return to college.”
Impressed by the quality of the conversation from the attending graduate students from Notre Dame and Baylor, AHI co-founders Douglas Ambrose and Robert Paquette noted that the graduate programs in political science at both universities set an admirably high standard that would be a challenge for the best undergraduates at elite institutions like Hamilton College who might be thinking of attaining an advanced degree in the field.