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Brian Smith

Associate Professor, Political Science and Law

Dickson Hall 250
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Ph.D., Government, Georgetown University, 2008
M.A., Security Studies, Georgetown University, 2005
B.A., History, University of California, Los Angeles, 2002

I teach a range of courses in political theory and international affairs. My classes tend to follow my research, which focuses on the history of political economy, the relationship between political philosophy and statecraft, and on using literature as a source for political thinking. I recently completed my first book on the novelist and essayist Walker Percy, which is currently under contract. My current book project deals with what I term civic militarism, the idea that military service and war generate virtues in citizens or benefits for states as a whole. I have published essays on thinkers such as Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, Carl von Clausewitz, and Alexis de Toccqueville.


History of Political Thought
International Affairs


Office Hours


10:00 am - 11:15 am
10:00 am - 11:15 am


Research Projects

Adam Smith, the Concept of Leisure, and the Division of Labor

Interpretation: A Journal of Political Philosophy, Vol. 34, No. 1 (Fall/Winter 2006), pp. 23-46

The Rift in the Modern Mind: Tocqueville and Percy on the Rise of the Cartesian Self

Co-authored with Matthew Sitman, Perspectives on Political Science, Vol. 36, No. 1 (Winter 2007), pp. 15-22. Republished in Democracy Reconsidered, ed. Elizabeth Kaufer Busch and Peter Augustine Lawler (Lexington Books, 2009), pp. 101-117

Democracy in America and the Possibilities for Law without the State

The Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 21, No. 2 (Summer 2007), pp. 21-44

Adam Smith and the Culture of Enterprise

Perspectives on Political Science, Vol. 37, No. 4 (Fall 2008), pp. 200-205

Statesmanship and the Problem of Theoretical Generalization

Co-authored with J. Furman Daniel III, Polity, Vol. 42, No. 2 (April 2010), pp. 156-184

Smith and Tocqueville on the Commercial Ethos

Journal of Markets and Morality, Vol. 13, No. 1 (Spring 2010), pp. 29-44

Losing Sight of Man: Tocqueville and Percy on the Fate of the Human Sciences

Perspectives on Political Science, Vol. 40, No. 3 (July-September 2011), pp. 140-146

Edmund Burke and the Limitations of Historical Thought

Anamnesis, Vol. 1, No. 2, (Summer 2012), pp. 5-27.

A Political Companion to Walker Percy

Co-edited with Peter Augustine Lawler, University Press of Kentucky, Hardcover 2013, Paperback 2014.

Includes my article "Walker Percy's Last Man: Love in the Ruins as a Fable of American Decline," pp. 179-206

Burke and Clausewitz on the Limitation of War

Co-authored with J. Furman Daniel, III, Journal of International Political Theory, Vol. 11, No. 3 (October 2015), pp. 313-330