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.

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.

Aaron Zubia

Postdoctoral Fellow, The Tocqueville Program

Robert L’Arrivee

Assistant Professor, Politics & International Affairs
Want to learn more?

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!