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!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

AU Students Partner with Ashland Middle School to Launch 1girl Chapter

On October 10, AU History Visiting Instructor Dr. Emily Hess and AU students Halle Hershberger, Katie Fossaceca, and Morgan Miller, will launch a local chapter of the afterschool program 1girl at Ashland Middle School.  Lead by facilitators like Halle (also chapter president), Katie and Morgan, 1girl "empowers middle school girls to develop the skills they need to be successful" including public speaking, creative problem solving, critical thinking, goal setting, and conflict resolution skills. 

In the words of Dr. Hess, "1girl is an incredible organization that not only pours into young, undergraduate women, but equips them to facilitate a leadership program for middle school girls.  I'm very excited to see how this intergenerational mentorship program will change the lives of middle school girls and undergraduate women this fall."

From Left to Right:
   Katie Fossaceca (junior political science major)
   Morgan Miller (junior political science and philosophy major)
   Halle Hershberger (senior history and political science major)
   History Visiting Instructor Dr. Emily Hess
   Ashland Middle School Counselors Wendy Packard and Kymberle Irwin

Ashland's is the only college chapter in Ohio outside of The Ohio State University.  To learn more about the unique opportunities AU's History and Political Science Program provides, visit our website.