American University: The Three Pillars of Liberalism

Three pillars

Political Theory Institute: “The Three Pillars of Liberalism: Freedom, Markets, and Morals from the Enlightenment to the Present”


The Political Theory Institute at American University, a JMC partner program, will host Alan S. Kahan, of the Université de Versailles/St. Quentin, for a lecture on the principles of liberalism and their development since the Enlightenment.

Monday, April 22, 2019 • 5:30 PM
Kerwin Hall, Room 301 • American University

Free and open to the public

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Alan S. Kahan is a Professor of British Civilization at the University of Versailles/St. Quentin, as well as an historian, political theorist, translator, travel writer, and resident of Paris. His research interests include liberalism, Tocqueville, and the friction between capitalism and intellectualism. Professor Kahan is the author of several books and articles, including Tocqueville, Democracy, and Religion: Checks and Balances for Democratic Souls (Oxford University Press, 2015), Mind vs Money: The War Between Intellectuals and Capitalism (Transaction Publishing, 2010), and Liberalism in Nineteenth-Century Europe: The Political Culture of Limited Suffrage (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2003).

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The Political Theory Institute at American University’s School of Public Affairs encourages the serious study of the great questions of political theory and brings insights of political theorists to bear on current issues and events. American University has a long tradition of vigorous political debate. Behind every serious political controversy, however, lies a disagreement about political principles, justice, what constitutes “the good life,” or fundamental assumptions about human nature. A thoughtful and morally serious engagement with the controversies of the day, therefore, requires serious reflection on the underlying questions of political theory.

Open to all ideas and perspectives, the Political Theory Institute promotes vigorous and thoughtful discussion and critical engagement by American University faculty, the national and international political theory community, and policy makers with the problems confronting liberal democracies. It supports scholarship that informs and enriches the larger conversation about political ideas. Above all, the Political Theory Institute fosters a spirit of enlightened citizenship—at once thoughtful and engaged—that takes intellectual disagreements seriously without being ideological.

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