Workshop Dates: February  8-9, 2014

Location: Texas A&M University- Allen Building Room 2115 Campus Map

Lead Organizer: Diego von Vacano (Texas A&M Political Science)

Co-Sponsor: Thomas Pangle (UT Austin Government Department)

Student Organizer: Guillaume Bogiaris (Texas A&M Political Science)

Supported by the Political Theory Convocation, the Melbern G. Glasscock Center for Humanities Research, and the Joe Long Chair in Democratic Studies, UT Austin

(Workshop is open to the public.)

Participants: Thomas Pangle (UT Austin); Maurizio Viroli (UT Austin); Harvey C. Mansfield (Harvard); Nathan Tarcov (University of Chicago); Clifford Orwin (University of Toronto); Erica Benner (Yale); Jarrett Carty (Concordia, Canada); Mikael Hornqvist; Diego von Vacano (Texas A&M); Cary J. Nederman (Texas A&M); Guillaume Bogiaris (Texas A&M); Megan K. Dyer (Texas A&M); Steven Smith (Yale); William Parsons (Carroll College, MT).

Overview of Workshop:

There is a strong and continuous tension between new and old, i.e. the past and the future, in Machiavelli’s work. Machiavelli’s self proclaimed goal is to instill ‘new modes and orders.’ Yet, as Leo Strauss noted, Machiavelli’s magnum opus seems to seek the rebirth of something far from ‘new’: the Ancient Roman Republic. Furthermore, Machiavelli tells us that the truth comes out of history. Sometimes, however, his own account of history is tweaked or modified, when not outright invented. And as the first few paragraphs of the Discorsi illustrate very vividly, it is easy to focus on the wrong things of the past in our search for answers. Nevertheless, one of Machiavelli’s most famous injunctions to princes is to use the past creatively to shape the present and the future. Thus the reader is left to wonder if this might not be what Machiavelli himself is doing in his work, and encouraging political thinkers to do as well.

The aim of this conference is to address this tension in Machiavelli’s work from a variety of angles, such as religion, ethics, virtue, methodology and the relationship of Machiavelli’s political theory to that of modern or ancient thinkers. Since our conference marks the tail end of a year of many such meetings at various universities (Duke, Harvard, Sao Paulo) for the occasion of the 500th anniversary of The Prince, we would also like to invite our speakers to reflect back on this eventful year in Machiavelli scholarship, and perhaps use it as a stepping stone to suggest the future directions Machiavelli scholarship should take in the future.