J Y Pillay Visiting Distinguished Professor, Bryan Garsten: Rethinking Solitude

11 March 2014 (Tuesday), 5pm to 6pm
Bryan Garsten, J Y Pillay Visiting Distinguished Professor

Bryan Garsten is Professor of Political Science at Yale University. He is the author of Saving Persuasion: A Defense of Rhetoric and Judgment, as well as articles on political rhetoric and deliberation, the meaning of representative government, the relationship of politics and religion, and the place of emotions in political life.  Professor Garsten is now finishing a book called The Heart of a Heartless World that examines the ethical, political and religious core of early nineteenth century liberalism in the United States and France. He has also just edited Rousseau, the Enlightenment, and Their Legacies, a collection of essays by the Rousseau scholar Robert Wokler. His writings have won various awards, including the First Book Prize of the Foundations of Political Theory section of the American Political Science Association.

Professor Garsten teaches “Introduction to Political Philosophy,” “Aristotle’s Political Thought,” “Political Representation,” “Problems in Political Theory,” and “Directed Studies: History & Politics,” among other courses. His work in the classroom earned him the 2008 Poorvu Family Prize for Interdisciplinary Teaching.

Professor Garsten is currently Acting Chair of the Humanities Program at Yale. He has also served as Director of Undergraduate Studies for Yale’s major in Ethics, Politics and Economics and the Director of Graduate Studies for the Department of Political Science. He is the co-chair of the International Conference on the Study of Political Thought, serves on the editorial board of Philosophy and Rhetoric, and is one of the coordinators of Yale’s Macmillan Initiative on Religion, Politics & Society. He also participates in, and serves on the University Advisory Council for, the Yale National Initiative to Strengthen Teaching in the Public Schools.

From 2009-2011 Professor Garsten was a Fellow of the National Forum on the Future of Liberal Education. In 2012-2013 he served as Chair of a committee overseeing the development of a common curriculum in the liberal arts for Yale-NUS College in Singapore.


Modern communications technology offers to reduce the amount of time that people spend by themselves. How should we evaluate this development? Professor Garsten draws on a number of thinkers from the history of political thought to help articulate what is lost when solitude is threatened, but also finds reminders of problems that come with romanticizing solitude.


Please click here to register for this lecture. Registration closes on 10 March 2014.