Ashbrook Colloquium to Feature Baylor University Political Science Professor

Ashbrook Colloquium to Feature Baylor University Political Science Professor

10/23/15 ASHLAND, Ohio – Mary Nichols, professor of Political Science at Baylor University, will be speaking on the topic of “Leaders and Leadership in Thucydides’ History” at the Ashbrook Center Colloquium on Friday, Nov. 13, at 3 p.m. in the Ashbrook Center, located on the eighth floor of the Library on the Ashland University campus.

The colloquium is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Jennifer Nixon at (419) 207-6094 or

According to Nichols, many readings of Thucydides’ history of the Peloponnesian War emphasize the extent to which political leaders are constrained by forces beyond their control. But if human life allowed no scope for human agency, there would, strictly speaking, be no leadership. Thucydides shows how leadership itself demonstrates human freedom, although in different ways and to different degrees, depending on the characters of individual leaders, the regimes that guide their actions and aspirations, and their self-understanding of their limits and possibilities.

Nichols will look at four influential leaders in Thucydides’ work (Pericles, Brasidas, Alcibiades, and Nicias).

“Through their various successes and failures, Thucydides teaches us that however much the actions of human beings respond to circumstances, they also come from the choices that human beings make,” she said. “Freedom is a potential, not a necessity, although it is necessary for full humanity. It must be claimed, taken and exercised.”

Nichols has written many books and articles on politics, literature, and film, history of political thought and women and political theory. Her contributions to the study of film include work on classic and contemporary American westerns, and on directors Woody Allen, John Ford and Alfred Hitchcock.

Nichols is on the editorial boards of the American Political Science Review, the Review of Politics and Perspectives on Political Science and is a senior fellow at the Alexander Hamilton Institute in Clinton, N.Y.

The Ashbrook Center, located on the campus of Ashland University, seeks to restore and strengthen the capacities of the American people for constitutional self-government. Through undergraduate, graduate and civic programs, the Ashbrook Center aspires to be the leading national educator in the enduring principles and practice of free government in the United States. ###

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