Fred Baumann came to Kenyon in 1980 to direct the Public Affairs Conference Center. He has taught full-time since 1986, mostly about political thought.  

Areas of Expertise

Humanism, fraternity, political reciprocity

Education

1973 — Doctor of Philosophy from Harvard University

1966 — Bachelor of Arts from Cornell University

Courses Recently Taught

This course explores the relationship between the individual and society as exemplified in the writings of political philosophers, statesmen, novelists and contemporary political writers. Questions about law, political obligation, freedom, equality and justice and human nature are examined and illustrated. The course looks at different kinds of societies such as the ancient city, modern democracy and totalitarianism, and confronts contemporary issues such as race, culture and gender. The readings present diverse viewpoints and the sessions are conducted by discussion. The course is designed primarily for first-year students. Students enrolled in this course will be automatically added to PSCI 102Y for the spring semester. Offered every fall.

This course explores the relationship between the individual and society as exemplified in the writings of political philosophers, statesmen, novelists and contemporary political writers. Questions about law, political obligation, freedom, equality and justice and human nature are examined and illustrated. The course looks at different kinds of societies such as the ancient city, modern democracy and totalitarianism, and confronts contemporary issues such as race, culture and gender. The readings present diverse viewpoints and the sessions are conducted by discussion. The course is designed primarily for first-year students. Offered every spring.

This course examines and evaluates the world revolutionary challenge to classical political philosophy posed by such writers as Machiavelli in his "Prince," Hobbes in the "Leviathan," and political writings of Locke, Rousseau and Nietzsche. We will consider these authors' differing views on how best to construct healthy and successful political societies; the role of ethics in domestic and foreign policy; the proper relations between politics and religion, and between the individual and the community; the nature of our rights and the origin of our duties; and the meaning of human freedom and the nature of human equality. This course is required for the major. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or first-year students enrolled in PSCI 102Y. Offered every spring.

This course explores perennial issues of politics broadly understood, as they are treated in literature. Topics vary from year to year. Most recently the course has focused on the question of freedom and tyranny by reading works that span periods, such as Xenophon's "Hiero," Shakespeare's "Julius Ceasar," Büchner's "Danton's Death," Dostoevsky's " Demons" and Platenov's "The Foundation Pit." Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Offered every two years.

This course is devoted to a careful reading of Thucydides’ "History of the Peloponnesian War." Course themes will be Thucydides’ account of international relations, the connections between foreign and domestic politics, and his account of human nature and of political morality. This counts toward the seminar requirement for the major. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Offered every three years.

Nietzsche's thought is in one sense the culmination of the tradition of political philosophy, in another its destruction, and in yet another, the chief obstacle and point of perpetual return to his successors. Students will read one book, "Beyond Good and Evil," with great care and that will help us understand the paradoxical way in which Nietzsche writes, the implications of his radical relativism for thought, culture and politics and whether he has a political teaching at all, and if so, what kind. This counts toward the seminar requirement for the major. Prerequisite: sophomore standing.

Individual study in political science is available to students who want to pursue a course of reading or complete a focused research project on a topic not regularly offered in the department's curriculum. To enroll, a student must prepare a proposal in consultation with a member of the political science faculty who has suitable expertise and is willing to work with the student over the course of a semester. The proposal should include a statement of the questions the student plans to explore, a preliminary bibliography, a schedule of assignments, a schedule of meetings with the faculty member and a description of the elements that will be factored into the course grade. The student also should briefly describe any prior coursework that particularly qualifies him or her to pursue the project independently. The department chair must approve the proposal. The department expects the student to meet regularly with the instructor for at least the equivalent of one hour per week. Reading assignments will vary depending on the topic but should approximate a regular departmental course in that field. Students should expect to write at least 30 pages over the course of the semester for an individual study bearing 0.50 units of credit. The chair must receive proposals by the third day of classes. Because students must enroll for individual studies by the end of the seventh class day of each semester, they should begin discussion of the proposed individual study preferably the semester before, so that there is time to devise the proposal and seek departmental approval before the established deadline.