Books and Ideas
Tuesday, November 12, 2013, 7 PM
Reservations Begin: Thursday, October 31, 2013, 9 AM
Are we living in an era in which expectations of freedom and the proliferation of tyranny are intensifying simultaneously? Does the removal of tyranny itself guarantee that people will naturally become democrats—or might they want to exact revenge against their former oppressors, thereby becoming oppressors themselves? Waller Newell, along with Barry Strauss and Ryan Balot, explored the contest in today's world between tyranny and freedom, which reminds us that democratic self-government was first experienced in ancient Greece, along with an awareness of the threat posed to democracy by tyranny. This event marked the publication of Professor Newell’s new book, Tyranny: A New Interpretation (Cambridge University Press, 2013).
Professor of Political Science
University of Toronto
Ryan Balot is Professor of Political Science and Classics at the University of Toronto. The author of Greed and Injustice in Classical Athens (Princeton University Press, 2001); Greek Political Thought (Blackwell, 2006); and Courage in the Democratic Polis: Ideology and Critique in Classical Athens (Oxford University Press, forthcoming), and editor of A Companion to Greek and Roman Political Thought (Blackwell, 2009), Balot specializes in American, early modern, and classical political thought. He received his doctorate in Classics at Princeton University and BA degrees in Classics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and Corpus Christi College, Oxford, which he attended as a Rhodes Scholar. Before moving to political science at Toronto, he taught for nearly a decade in the Classics departments at Union College and Washington University in St. Louis, as both a Greek historian and a classical philologist. Balot’s research has been funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the Teagle Foundation of New York. His essays and reviews have appeared in Political Theory, Ancient Philosophy, Social Research, Review of Politics, Arion, American Journal of Philology, Classical Quarterly, The Journal of Hellenic Studies, and Rhetorica. His current projects include work on Machiavelli’s republicanism and Hegel’s conception of freedom.
Waller R. Newell
Professor of Political Science and Philosophy
Waller R. Newell is Professor of Political Science and Philosophy at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. He was educated at the University of Toronto (BA, MA) and at Yale University (PhD). He has been a Visiting Fellow at the University of London’s School of Advanced Study, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the National Humanities Center, and the Whitney Humanities Center at Yale. He has held a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for University Teachers and a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Postdoctoral Fellowship. He has been an invited lecturer or keynote speaker at Peterhouse College Cambridge, Harvard University, Yale University, Cornell University, the University of Notre Dame, the University of Toronto, the University of London, and the Onassis Cultural Center in New York. His books include Ruling Passion: The Erotics of Statecraft in Platonic Political Philosophy (Rowman and Littlefield, 2000); What Is A Man? 3000 Years of Wisdom on the Art of Manly Virtue (Harper Collins, 2000); The Code of Man: Love, Courage, Pride, Family, Country (Harper Collins, 2003); The Soul of a Leader: Character, Conviction, and Ten Lessons in Political Greatness (Harper Collins, 2009); and Tyranny: A New Interpretation (Cambridge University Press, 2013). He is the author of numerous articles on classical, Renaissance, and modern European political philosophy and literature in various journals, including The American Political Science Review, Political Theory, and History of European Ideas.
Bryce and Edith M. Bowmar Professor in Humanistic Studies
Barry Strauss, Bryce and Edith M. Bowmar Professor in Humanistic Studies and Chair of the Department of History at Cornell University, is an acclaimed historian and classicist and an award-winning teacher. He received his BA in history at Cornell and his PhD at Yale University in 1979. His primary interests are ancient history and military history, specifically that of Greece and Rome, and he is also interested in modern military history and East Asian history.
He has written many books, most recently Masters of Command: Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, and the Genius of Leadership (Simon & Schuster, 2012). His Battle of Salamis: The Naval Encounter that Saved Greece—and Western Civilization (Simon & Schuster, 2004) was named one of the best books of 2004 by the Washington Post. Masters of Command was on Bloomberg’s list of the best books of 2012, and Spartacus War (Simon & Schuster, 2009) was named one of the favorite books of 2009 by Books & Culture. His books have been translated into nine languages. An avid rower, Professor Strauss published Rowing against the Current: On Learning to Scull at Forty in 1999. He is editor of The Princeton History of the Ancient World, a series of books to be published by Princeton University Press. He also sits on the editorial boards of MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History; Historically Speaking: The Bulletin of the Historical Society; and The International Journal of the Classical Tradition. Professor Strauss has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, , the American Academy in Rome, the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, the MacDowell Colony for the Arts, the German Academic Exchange Service, and the Korea Foundation. He has been featured in more than a dozen television documentaries and frequently appears on the History, Discovery, and National Geographic Channels. He has published op-ed pieces in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and Newsday and on online sites such as The Atlantic, Huffington Post, and RealClearPolitics. He has also been interviewed on NPR and the BBC. Professor Strauss was named an honorary citizen of the city of Salamis, Greece, in recognition of his highly regarded book The Battle of Salamis.
The New York Public Library
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
South Court Auditorium
Ostracon bearing the name Themistocles. Terracotta potsherd, 5th century BC (In Classical Greece, ostraca were used when there was a fear of tyranny to ostracize politicians considered dangerous for democracy.) AgoraMuseumAthens. Photo © Gianni Dagli Orti / The Art Archive at Art Resource, NY
Discussion on November 12, 2013: Costas Picadas
Photo Credit for Ryan Balot: Karyn Gorra
Photo Credit for Barry Strauss: Dede Hatch