Lee University’s Department of History, Political Science & Humanities recently held its third annual Undergraduate Intercollegiate Political Science and Philosophy Symposium. A two-day event, the symposium was held in the Helen DeVos College of Education and focused on the political thought of Shakespeare.
After registration and coffee on Friday afternoon, students broke out into discussion seminars scattered throughout the afternoon on both Friday and Saturday. Each seminar delved into the political wisdom underlying one of Shakespeare’s plays, including the tragedy “Othello,” the comedy “Merchant of Venice,” the history “Henry V,” and the romance “The Tempest.”
"The thing I appreciate about this symposium is that it’s completely voluntary,” said Dr. Thomas Pope, associate professor of political science at Lee. “Students don’t get credit for doing it, which means the people that show up just do it because they love it. It provides for a refreshing conversation rather than drudgery.”
Dr. Timothy Burns, professor of political science and graduate program director at Baylor University, provided the keynote lecture on Friday evening. His presentation, titled “One That Loved Not Wisely But Too Well: Devotional Love and Politics in Othello,” focused on the challenges of individual desire clashing with the demands of the political community. Burns is the author of the book “Shakespeare’s Political Wisdom,” and his research interests range from the history of political philosophy to politics and literature.
Along with Lee students and faculty, Lee’s campus also hosted visitors from Belmont Abbey College, Covenant College, St. Vincent College, and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. A total of 35 students, in addition to accompanying faculty, participated in the discussion seminars and attended the student paper panel on Saturday morning, where students were able to present their own undergraduate research.
“I’ve appreciated the opportunity for Lee students to interact with the broader academic world,” said Dr. Pope. “It gives them a lot of confidence that what they’re learning here allows them to compete with students around the country. It also provides a nice vision of scholars in the broader academic community should they decide to pursue graduate studies.”
For more information about Lee’s Department of History, Political Science & Humanities, call 614-8137 or visit https://leepoliticalscience.wordpress.com/.