Susan Collins on the Ancient Political Order in Sparta

Tyrrhenian Group, Fallow Deer Painter

James Madison College: “The Spartans and the Ancient Regime: Political Order in a World of War”


On March 23, 2020, Susan Collins will appear as the 2020 Jack Paynter speaker at James Madison College at Michigan State University, a JMC partner program:

Although a talk about the Spartans may seem a natural for Michigan State, contemporary scholars looking for models of good government among the ancient regimes are unlikely to take their bearings from Classical Sparta. In earlier eras, however, many thinkers admired the good order, civic virtue, and freedom of the Spartan regime, all of which they connected with its success in managing internal conflict and external war. This talk examines the reasons for this admiration across the history of thought, the challenge that the Spartan regime poses especially for the classical political philosophers, and the ways in which a consideration of this regime can inform problems of political order today.

Monday, March 23, 2020 • Reception at 5:30 PM – Lecture at 6:00 PM
Room Big Ten C • Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center

Free and open to the public. Registration required.

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Photo of Susan CollinsSusan Collins is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame and book review editor of the Review of Politics. She specializes in Ancient Political Philosophy though her teaching and research range the history of political thought. Her most recent book is a translation of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, with Robert Bartlett (University of Chicago, 2011), including notes, glossary, and interpretive essay. She is also the author of Aristotle and the Rediscovery of Citizenship (Cambridge 2006), co-author and translator of Empire and the Ends of Politics: Plato’s “Menexenus” and Pericles’ Funeral Oration (Focus 1999), and co-editor of Action and Contemplation: Studies in the Moral and Political Thought of Aristotle (SUNY 1999). Her other publications include peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and review essays. She is currently working on a book-length study of the Spartan regime in classical political philosophy, a project that was awarded a 2018 fellowship by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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The Jack Paynter Endowed Lecture annually celebrates the life of James Madison College founding faculty member Jack Paynter. It is funded generously by gifts from former students, friends, family, and colleagues. The Paynter lecture brings renowned speakers to James Madison College to discuss historical, philosophical, social, legal, and political subjects in the spirit of Jack’s career and intellectual curiosity.

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James Madison College, a JMC partner program, is a Michigan State University school that focuses upon politics, government, and public policy. The students and faculty share a common goal of addressing and examining the major political, legal, social, and economic issues affecting our world. Each major within the college allows students to examine a unique aspect of public affairs while developing strong communication, analytic and problem-solving skills. Graduates of James Madison College go on to careers in government, politics, business, education, and human services, as well as continue their education at top graduate and law schools.

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