Little Platoon Seminar: Machiavelli’s The Prince

March 31-31, 2023
Lewis E. Haines Meeting Room, UAA/APU Consortium Library, Room 307, at the University of Alaska, Anchorage

Machiavelli was the first writer to call for philosophers to step into political life and re-order it. He did so over and against both the biblical and classical understandings of virtue. In our first session (reading the dedicatory letter and chapters 1–14), we examine key aspects of his attack on the biblical understanding, looking especially at his presentations of Moses, David, Cesare Borgia, and Pope Alexander VI and their “modes and orders.” In our second session (reading chapters 15–26), we examine his own introduction of “new modes and orders,” his redefinition of the virtues and of man, his foxy conspiracy, and his call for the conquest of Fortuna.

Participants: Fifteen selected students who are high school juniors or seniors or college undergraduates—participants will receive certificates of participation

Required Reading: Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince, ed. Harvey C. Mansfield—a book by this careful, devious, and profound writer and thinker, given to each participant upon registration, to be read carefully beforehand: each participant is required to take an active part in the discussion

Seminar Faculty: Timothy W. Burns, Professor of Political Science at Baylor University; sessions will be moderated by Forrest A. Nabors and James W. Muller, Professors of Political Science at the University of Alaska, Anchorage

Co-sponsors: Department of Political Science, University of Alaska, Anchorage, with funding from the Intercollegiate Studies Institute

Date: Friday, March 31

Location: Lewis E. Haines Meeting Room, UAA/APU Consortium Library, Room 307, at the University of Alaska, Anchorage

Parking: Free on Friday in lots adjacent to the library

Timothy W. Burns

Timothy W. Burns is Professor and Graduate Program Director in the Department of Political Science at Baylor University. For the 2022–23 academic year he is the John and Daria Barry Visiting Research Scholar at Princeton University. His most recent book is Leo Strauss on Democracy, Technology, and Liberal Education. He is also the author of Shakespeare’s Political Wisdom, co-author (with Thomas L. Pangle) of The Key Texts of Political Philosophy: An Introduction, editor of Brill’s Companion to Leo Strauss’ Writings on Classical Political Thought, co-editor (with Peter Lawler) of The Future of Liberal Education, co-editor (with Bryan-Paul Frost) of Philosophy, History, and Tyranny: Re-examining the Debate Between Leo Strauss and Alexandre Kojève, editor of Recovering Reason: Essays in Honor of Thomas L. Pangle, and editor of After History? Francis Fukuyama and His Critics. He has published in The American Political Science Review, The Journal of Politics, Interpretation, The Review of Politics, The Review of Metaphysics, Perspectives on Political Science, Polis, Logos, The Political Science Reviewer, Shakespeare Jahrbuch, and First Things. He has written on Homer, Plato, Thucydides, Xenophon, Aristophanes, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, St. Augustine, Shakespeare, Hobbes, Turgot and the Federalists, G. K. Chesterton, John Courtney Murray, Putnam, modern liberal republican theory, and liberal education. He co-edits (with Thomas L. Pangle) Palgrave MacMillan’s “Recovering Political Philosophy” series, and he is editor-in-chief of Interpretation: A Journal of Political Philosophy.

James W. Muller

James W. Muller is a professor of political science at University of Alaska, Anchorage, where he has taught since 1983. He also serves as chairman of the Board of Academic Advisers of the International Churchill Society. Educated at Harvard University and the Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris, he is a by-fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge. He served as a White House fellow in 1983–84 and won the Alaska Governor’s Award for Distinguished Service to the Humanities in 2008.

Last year Professor Muller completed his definitive edition of The River War: An Historical Account of the Reconquest of the Soudan by Winston Churchill after more than 30 years of meticulous work. This is the first time in over a century that the story has been told and published in its entirety. Muller’s book, published by St. Augustine’s Press in two volumes, is the first unabridged edition to appear since Churchill himself published the first edition in 1899.

Prior to his most recent accomplishment, Professor Muller edited two books about Winston Churchill, Churchill as Peacemaker (Cambridge University Press, 1997) and Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” Speech Fifty Years Later (University of Missouri Press, 1999), and new editions of two of Churchill’s interwar books, Thoughts and Adventures (ISI Books, 2009) and Great Contemporaries (ISI Books, 2012).

Forrest A. Nabors

Dr. Nabors joined the Department of Political Science at the University of Alaska, Anchorage, in 2011 and now serves as the chairman of the department. Educated at Claremont McKenna College, the University of Chicago, and the University of Oregon, he has taught American government and political philosophy at Oregon State University and the University of Oregon. His current scholarly research is focused on the changing character of American government leading up to the Civil War and Reconstruction. His first book, From Oligarchy to Republicanism: The Great Task of Reconstruction (University of Missouri Press, 2017), was recognized by the American Political Science Association as the best book of the year in American political thought. 

Prior to becoming a professor, Dr. Nabors was a high technology business executive in Portland, Oregon. He has remained actively engaged in supporting economic and civic development in his communities.

Dr. Nabors is from Fair Haven, New Jersey.