Saturday, November 18, 2017

Update from Brian Le in South Korea

Brian Le's study abroad experience in South Korea is turning out to be more interesting perhaps than he expected.  One of the two photos below shows him at an historical site in Seoul, and the other is a picture he took of a South Korean border guard in the DMZ between the South and the North; two North Korean border guards peer into the room through the window, trying to intimidate the visitors inside.

He also wrote this on Friday:  "If you have not heard by now, a 5.6 magnitude earthquake struck the southeastern coast of South Korea with its epicenter a mere 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) away from my school on Wednesday afternoon. By Wednesday night, all of the international students had been moved to a nearby church where we rested and were fed. On Thursday morning, state officials inspected the buildings and declared all the dormitory buildings to be safe to enter, and Thursday night, we returned to our dorms. There is supposed news that a larger, magnitude 7-8 earthquake will hit, but only time will tell. Until then, the school has officially paused all campus activities and classes, to be resumed on December 4th, the last week of classes, and then finals week. My credits will still be viable, but in regards to what I will be doing in class those last two weeks, I have no idea. I wanted to let you and the other History/Poli-Sci professors and the Ashbrookers know that Jakson Kennedy and myself are safe, and that as of right now, I am taking advantage of our two week break to go to Seoul and obtain a visa to go to China and visit Beijing on an impromptu solo trip."

Monday, October 30, 2017

Brian Kilmeade Lectures on Andrew Jackson

Brian Kilmeade, the co-host of Fox and Friends and host of the nationally syndicated radio show, “The Brian Kilmeade Show”, will deliver the second Peter W. Schramm Memorial Lecture on Friday, November 3, 2017 at 7:30 PM, at the beautiful Renaissance Theatre in Mansfield, Ohio.  The title of the lecture is "Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans."

Peter W. Schramm, was a long-time member of the Department of Political Science and Executive Director of the John M. Ashbrook Center.  The Lecture is sponsored by Samuel H. and Maria Miller. 

For more information or to purchase tickets, please contact
Carrie Clever at or call toll-free 877-289-5411.

Brian has written 4 books, 3 of which were New York Times best sellers: ”The Games Do Count”, “It’s How You Play the Game” and more recently, “George Washington’s Secret Six” and “Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates” cowritten with Don Yaeger. His fifth book “Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans” is due out in the fall of 2017, again teaming up with Yaeger with the hope of mirroring their previous success.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Introducing New Faculty: Gregory McBrayer

The Department is extremely pleased to welcome three new faculty members this year.  One of them is Dr. Gregory A. McBrayer, Assistant Professor of political science and Director of the AU Core Curriculum (the others will be introduced in subsequent posts).  Dr. McBrayer teaches courses in political philosophy and international relations.  Prior to Ashland, he taught at Morehead State University and Gettysburg College and was a postdoctoral fellow at Emory University.  His research interests are primarily in Classical Political Thought with a secondary interest in Medieval Political Thought, especially Arabic or Islamic Political Thought. He has published articles in Interpretation: A Journal of Political Philosophy and Kentron: Revue Pluridisciplinaire du Monde Antique, and reviews in a variety of professional journals.  He is the author (with Mary Nichols and Denise Schaeffer) of Plato’s Euthydemus (Focus, 2011) and is the editor of Xenophon: The Shorter Writings (forthcoming from Cornell University Press). 

Dr. McBrayer was educated at Emory University (B.A.), the University of Georgia (M.A.), and the University of Maryland (Ph.D.).  

An Air Force brat, Dr. McBrayer grew up all over the world, including Colorado Springs, CO, and Berlin, Germany, when the Berlin Wall was still standing.  Some of his earliest reflections on politics came from pondering this enormous edifice that separated peoples and, to his mind, held citizens hostage by refusing to let them leave.  But he’s always called Georgia home, and his parents, sister, and extended family still reside there.

Dr. McBrayer says that his interest in liberal education was sparked in large part by accident.  He was fulfilling a humanities requirement by taking a class called “Classical Political Thought,” and he can remember saying to himself, “This will be the most boring class you take in college.” Instead, an outrageous claim made by the philosopher Socrates in Plato’s dialogue Protagoras that no one voluntarily does wrong left him at a loss, and he began his studies of the liberal arts in earnest. His interest in precisely this question carried all the way through to his doctoral studies: he wrote his dissertation on Aristotle’s treatment of Socrates’s claim, often called the Socratic Paradox, in the Nicomachean Ethics

Among his hobbies are working out, playing and watching baseball (he’s a big Braves fan), reading, writing, and traveling. 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Return of the Polis, Starring History and Polsc Faculty

Department Faculty and Ben Kunkel star in a new feature in the Star Wars series: "Return of the Polis." Here's the poster (created by a freshman Ashbrook Scholar, who has been studying Xenophon's Education of Cyrus).

Friday, October 6, 2017

Brian Le Studies Abroad in Seoul, South Korea

Brian Le is a History, Political Science, and International Political Studies triple major (!), as well as an Ashbrook Scholar, who is studying abroad this semester at Handong Global University in South Korea.  He’s studying lots of American legal and constitutional thought as well as Korean foreign policy and even some Chinese political theory.  Happily, he says that South Koreans are less worried about North Korea than Americans seem to be.  

He recently spent a week in Seoul, where he visited gates and palaces from the Chosun (Joseon) Dynasty, which ruled for five centuries from the late 14th Century until 1897.  One of the nearby photos shows Brian at the inner gate to the throne plaza at the Gyeongbokgung Palace. The large statue of a golden man is King Sejong (the Great), the fourth king of the Joseon Dynasty, who is credited with the creation of the modern day Korean language and the Hangul alphabet. 

Brian says he’s signed up for a trip to the DMZ and will send pictures when that happens. 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

New Ashland Prof Quoted in Forbes Magazine

We're a little late getting to this, but Dr. Greg McBrayer, who joined the Department this year, was quoted by David Bahr in Forbes Magazine in May.  Mr. Bahr writes a weekly profile on the classics of the Western Canon for the business magazine and this article was on Xenophon.  Here is what he quoted Dr. McBrayer as saying:
Insofar as Xenophon was a student of the philosopher Socrates, the Anabasis shows the practical benefits of a philosophic education. Indeed, Xenophon seems to indicate his success depended on the education he received from Socrates. But I enjoy the book, above all, because it shows us that philosophers can be more than just pasty-faced wastrels!