The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI) will sponsor at Colgate University for the academic year, 2017-2018, a Thucydides reading cluster, led by Elizabeth L’Arrivee.  Dr. L’Arrivee, a visiting lecturer at Colgate, earned a Ph. D. in political science in 2015 at Notre Dame University.  She is a specialist in Hellenistic political philosophy and will lead an intensive, cover-to-cover reading of Thucydides’s classic The History of the Peloponnesian War.

Dr. Elizabeth L’Arrivee

Participants will meet one hour a week for a total of 18 sessions (9 sessions per term) to discuss what is widely regarded as one of the greatest works of history and political thought ever written. Thucydides, an Athenian general from the 5th century BC, not only invented the genre of evidence-based historical writing, but founded the “political realism” theory of political behavior that is still making headlines today (he is even quoted in the blockbuster hit Wonder Woman).

The reading cluster will kick-off on Tuesday, Sept. 5, at 7 pm at Colgate University (in Lawrence Hall, room 115-116) with a discussion led by Prof. Mary Nichols, Department of Political Science, Baylor University, who is also an AHI senior fellow.  Dr. Nichols is the author of Thucydides and the Pursuit of Freedom(Cornell University Press, 2015).

Professor Mary Nichols, AHI Senior Fellow


Through an in-depth, cover-to-cover reading of the text, participants in the group will address such questions as, What motivates political behavior between individuals and states? What role do emotions such as fear and self-interest play in political life? How do political leaders use techniques of persuasion to lead large groups of individuals? What is the natural human response to crisis? How do bias and prejudice affect our understanding of the past? The present? Our expectations for the future? What is politics, broadly defined? What is the status of human freedom in relation to history and necessity?  The Landmark edition of Thucydides’s History will be provided free of charge by AHI.

Open to the public.  For information contact Dr. L’Arrivee at or AHI Executive Director Robert Paquette at