With its ascendancy in American political discourse during the past few years, hope has become a watchword of politics, yet the rhetoric has failed to inquire into the actual function of hope in political life. This essay examines elpis, the Greek word for ‘‘hope,’’ in Thucydides’ History and offers a theoretical account of this concept and its connection to successful political action. I suggest that a complex understanding of hope structures Thucydides’ narrative: Hope counts as among the most dangerous political delusions, yet it also offers the only possible response to despair. Thucydides’ text educates the judgment of his readers, chastening hope while showing its importance despite its flaws. The History thus offers an alternative for considering the politics of hope, one that challenges hope’s ardent proponents today.Here is a link to a preview of the article. Email me at schlosser (at) deepsprings.edu and I'll happily send you the full version.
Saturday, January 26, 2013
I'm thrilled to announce that my article on hope and Thucydides, entitled "'Hope, Danger's Comforter': Thucydides, Hope, Politics," has now been published by The Journal of Politics. In the abstract, I describe the article as follows:
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
One week into the winter semester here at Deep Springs, I have finalized syllabi for the three courses I'm teaching this winter: Public Speaking; Antigone: Feminism, Tragedy, Politics; and Freedom and the State in Modern Political Thought. Links to the syllabi are under "Teaching" above. Enjoy.
Thursday, January 3, 2013
Welcome! This is the homepage for Joel Alden Schlosser, Julian Steward Chair in the Social Sciences at Deep Springs College. My teaching and writing focuses on understanding democratic life through historical and philosophical inquiry. My book, What Would Socrates Do?, reconstructs Socrates' practice of philosophy in democratic Athens and engages contemporary figures such as Hannah Arendt, Judith Butler, Michel Foucault, Bruno Latour, and others, to translate these Socratic practices to the present. In addition to completing my book on Socrates, I am also currently working on two other book projects: a manuscript on Herodotus (tentatively titled Why Social Scientists Should Read Herodotus) and one examining hope and its connection to democratic politics in ancient Athens and contemporary America. I have published work in The Journal of Politics, Political Research Quarterly, Foucault Studies, and The Bryn Mawr Classical Review. You may find a fuller description of my book manuscript, published work, and current projects under "Research" (tab above) as well as my thoughts on teaching college and links to my course syllabi from Deep Springs, Carleton College, and Duke University under "Teaching" (tab above). Please avail yourself of my context, and if you have any questions email me at schlosser (at) deepsprings.edu.