Apply Now: UATX Symposium on Leo Strauss’s Natural Right and History

Apply Now: University of Austin Symposium on Leo Strauss’s On Natural Right and History


The University of Austin is hosting a symposium this January on Leo Strauss’s lecture series on Natural Right and History.

The one-week symposium is being offered to graduate students and advanced undergraduates (i.e., current juniors, seniors, and the recently graduated), and young adults (21-35) with an interest in Leo Strauss.

Instructors will include Mark Blitz, Chris Lynch, Chris Nadon, Loren Rotner, and Devin Stauffer:

“If our principles have no other support than our blind preferences, everything a man is willing to dare will be permissible. The contemporary rejection of natural right leads to nihilism—nay, it is identical with nihilism…”

“[Classical political philosophy] reproduces, and raises to its perfection, the magnanimous flexibility of the true statesman, who crushes the insolent and spares the vanquished. It is free from all fantasticism because it knows that evil cannot be eradicated and therefore that one’s expectations from politics must be moderate. The spirit which animates it may be described as serenity or sublime sobriety.”

Leo Strauss’s writings point the way to a radical recovery of the full meaning of philosophy in the West. He wrote interpretations of works by a wide range of figures, including not only Plato, Aristotle, Thucydides, Marsilius of Padua, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke, Rousseau, Burke, Nietzsche, Weber, and Carl Schmitt, but also the Bible, Aristophanes, Xenophon, Lucretius, Al-Farabi, Judah Halevi, Maimonides, Lessing, Moses Mendelssohn, Herman Cohen, and Heidegger. He is widely known for defending natural right, especially in its classical form, against the challenges of relativism and historicism, reopening the quarrel between the ancients and the moderns in political philosophy, emphasizing philosophy as a way of life, sharply criticizing value-free social science, stressing the centrality of the theological-political problem, and distinguishing between the exoteric and esoteric teachings of writers of the past.

Students will investigate these themes through one of Strauss’s major works, Natural Right and History and in his pathbreaking essay, “What is Political Philosophy?”. In addition to seminars, students will enjoy the opportunity to explore Austin through various events and activities.

The symposium will take place January 2-7, 2023 in Austin, Texas. All participants traveling from outside the greater Austin region will receive a $300 travel stipend to help defray the costs of travel associated with participation in the program.

Due to the generous support of donors, tuition is free. Accommodations will be provided for participants living outside Austin, TX. Meals are also provided to all participants. All other expenses, including the purchase of books, are the responsibility of participants.


Participants must be currently enrolled undergraduate juniors or seniors or recently graduated seniors in any field; currently enrolled graduate students (master’s or doctorate) in any field; or anyone between the ages of 21-35 with an interest in Leo Strauss.

Questions? Please email Ben Crocker, UATX Academic Programs Manager:

Click here to learn more and to apply >>

The application deadline is November 12, 2023, and applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis. Space is limited and there is a competitive application process.



View JMC’s entire list of academic opportunities on the Academic Opportunities page >>



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