Gavel on desk

Politics and the Human Soul

We human beings are strange animals…the one and only political animals. Why do human beings alone organize ourselves into political regimes and govern ourselves with laws? How should we order our political communities so as to encourage the flourishing of our distinctive nature? Explore questions such as these with the aid of great thinkers from Plato to Alexis de Tocqueville.

Meet the Faculty

Hear from the Students

In 2020-2021, Bella Dickenson, a student in the Politics and the Human Soul program, wrote an opinion piece for The Paladin student newspaper called “Engaged Living: A Welcome Source of Community During the Pandemic”.

Fall Course

FYW 1300: Politics and the Good Life

Have you ever asked yourselves the most profound questions about political life? For example: why do human beings alone organize themselves into political regimes and govern themselves with laws? Why do we argue about what is good, what is beautiful, what is holy? How can such arguments become enjoyable, ennobling, and useful rather than divisive, degrading, and stifling? How can thinking about these questions to help us recover the sense of common identity and purpose so lacking in our time?

In the fall course (FYW 1300, “Politics and the Good Life”), we will attempt to answer these questions by plumbing the depths of J.R.R Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. A great way to learn how to write well and research with confidence is to explore themes, images, and character arcs in literature. Don’t remain satisfied with the films; enter a new world through the power of the written word.

Spring Course

POL 103: Introduction to Political Thought

POL 103 considers the comprehensive political questions:  justice, the best regime, and the good human life. With the help of some of the great texts of political philosophy, this course explores the enduring philosophical problems – the meaning of virtue and happiness, the origins of legitimate authority – toward which our everyday political disagreements point. This class fulfills the “Ultimate Questions” GER.

Faculty Mentors

Aaron Zubia

Dr. Zubia serves as faculty for Politics and the Human Soul and teaches the POL 103 Introduction to Political Thought class. He is a Postdoctoral Fellow with The Tocqueville Program in the Department of Politics and International Affairs at Furman University. In 2019-20, he was a Thomas W. Smith Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Politics at Princeton University. Dr. Zubia specializes in the moral and political philosophy of the Scottish Enlightenment and the American founding. His current research focuses on the thought of eighteenth-century Scottish philosopher David Hume. He is working on a book manuscript that examines how David Hume and his predecessors elaborated a philosophy of nature and human nature that shaped the modern political imagination. His scholarly work has appeared in Interpretation: A Journal of Political Philosophy. He has also written in The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Washington Examiner, and Public Discourse. He holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University, an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, and a B.B.A. in Marketing from the University of Texas at El Paso.

 

Rob L’Arrivee

Dr. L’Arrivee serves as faculty for Politics and the Human Soul and teaches FYW 1300: Politics and the Good Life.  He is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics and International Affairs. Dr. L’Arrivee began his academic career studying philosophy at the University of Winnipeg in the hopes of learning more about the relationship between theology and political life. There he encountered Islamic political philosophy through the works of Abu Nasr al-Farabi, a 10th century Muslim philosopher who was the first to unite a wide range of intellectual topics circulating in the Islamic miliue during his time. His particular focus centers on how al-Farabi brings together Greek philosophy and Islamic ideas into a systematic whole in order to explain the integration of theology, religion, and politics. After graduating from the University of Winnipeg, he enrolled in graduate school at the University of Notre Dame where he studied early Christian thought, political theory, and international relations. Since earning his PhD, he has taught at Colgate University, Skidmore College, and held a research position at the James Madison Program at Princeton University.

 

In most years, Politics and the Human Soul is led by Dr. Benjamin Storey and Dr. Jenna Storey.  They will be on sabbatical for 2021-2022.

 

Benjamin Storey

Benjamin Storey teaches the history of political philosophy, and is Director of the Tocqueville Program at Furman University. He is winner of the 2016 Alester G. and Janie Earle Furman, Jr. Award for Excellence in Teaching as well as the 2011 Francis Bonner “American Scholar” Award, presented by Furman’s Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. In 2016-17, Storey was a Visiting Fellow at the James Madison Program at Princeton University. His writings have appeared in the Journal of Politics, the Review of PoliticsThe New AtlantisCity Journal, and many other venues. With Jenna Silber Storey, he is co-author of a book entitled Why We are Restless: The Modern Quest for Contentment, which will appear from Princeton University Press in the Spring of 2021.

 

Jenna Storey

Jenna Silber Storey is Assistant Professor in Politics and International Affairs at Furman University. She is also Executive Director of the Tocqueville Program at Furman, an intellectual community dedicated to the investigation of the moral and philosophic questions at the heart of political life. As Executive Director, Dr. Storey works with her colleagues to oversee a society of undergraduate fellows, an engaged living program, a political thought club, a course-and-lecture series, a summer placement program and a postdoctoral fellowship. Dr. Storey is also a Board Member of Veritas Preparatory School in Greenville, SC, where her three children are currently studying.

Dr. Storey received her Ph.D. from the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago, where she was a John M. Olin Junior Fellow, and her B.A. from the University Professors Program at Boston University, where she also worked as Executive Assistant to the Superintendent for the Boston University-Chelsea Schools Partnership. She interned at the Pioneer Institute in Boston, a think tank devoted to state and local politics in Massachusetts. Her work has appeared in edited volumes as well as Perspectives on Political Science, realclearbooks.com, The New Atlantis, The Weekly Standard, The Claremont Review of Books, VoeglinView, and The Boston Globe. She has published work on Carl Schmitt and Pierre Manent. Most recently, she has co-authored a book with Benjamin Storey entitled Why We are Restless: The Modern Quest for Contentment. It will be published by Princeton University Press in the Spring of 2021. In 2018-2019 she won the Silas N. Pearman award for her teaching in the Engaged Living Program.

Politics students sit outside reading together at Furman

Want to learn more?

Information sessions are great time to talk to faculty about the programs, courses, and out-of-class opportunities. You can also hear about the student experience and ask questions before applying!

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