Comparative Political Theory and global challenges

A public lecture by Dr. Vasileios Syros

By reappraising recent methodological trends in the field of Comparative Political Theory, Dr Vasileios Syros will look at the need for a new set of conceptual tools to study the global history of political thought.

Dr Syros is a Senior Research Fellow at the Academy of Finland and also serves as KNAW/Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts & Sciences Visiting Professor at Radboud University Nijmegen. His teaching and research interests focus on Comparative Political Theory and the history of Christian/Latin, Jewish, and Islamic political thought.

In his lecture, he will also examine to what extent the cross-cultural exploration of diverse political traditions can generate new approaches to current challenges on a global scale, such as religious and ethnic diversity and food security.

Syros has published Marsilus of Padua at the Intersection of Ancient and Medieval Cultures and Traditions of Learning (University of Toronto Press, 2012); Die Rezeption der aristotelischen politischen Philosophie bei Marsilius von Padua (Brill, 2007); and Well Begun is Only Half Done: Tracing Aristotle’s Political Ideas in Medieval Arabic, Syriac, Byzantine, and Jewish Sources (ACMRS, 2011).

His work has appeared in a number of international peer-reviewed journals, including:
* History of Political Thought,
* Journal of World History,
* Medieval Encounters,
* Philosophy East & West,
* Journal of Early Modern History,
* Revue des Études Juives, and
* Viator.

Dr Syros is the principal investigator for the research project “Political Power in the European and Islamic Worlds” (2014–18). He has taught previously at Stanford University, McGill University, The University of Chicago, and the École Pratique des Hautes Études (Paris) and has received fellowships from Columbia University, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
The session will be chaired by the British Academy Research Chair in Political Theory, Professor Lawrence Hamilton.

Professor Ian Shapiro‘s public lecture at Wits

Sterling Professor of Political Science Ian Shapiro was invited to speak by NRF/British Academy Research Chair in Political Theory, Professor Lawrence Hamilton.

Shapiro is also the Henry R. Luce Director of the MacMillan Centre for International and Area Studies at Yale University.
His lecture Democratic Competition: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly’ was an evaluation of different democratic arrangements in light of the elections and referenda of 2016. Shapiro argues that recent trends to decentralize decision-making and the governance of political parties in the name of enhanced democratic control have been self-defeating, and he proposes appropriate remedies.

Shapiro has written widely and influentially on democracy, justice, and the methods of social inquiry. He was born in South Africa but has been teaching in the Yale Political Science Department since 1984.

He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is a past fellow of the Carnegie Corporation, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. He has held visiting appointments in Cape Town, Tokyo and Oxford.