Michael Palmer

Professor of Political Science

B.A. University of Toronto
Ph.D. Boston College

Dr. Michael Palmer, Ph.D., is the Director of the new UMaine Program in Western Civlization and American Liberty which he founded in  2007 and the Abraham Lincoln Professor of Political Philosophy since 2008. He has published three books of political philosophy and numerous articles on key figures in the history of political philosophy in distinguished scholarly journals. So far this year he has written two book chapters—one on the most radical and influential right-wing thinker of the 20th century, Martin Heidegger; one on the most radical and influential left-wing thinker in the 20th century, Alexandre Kojève—which have been accepted for publication. He also wrote an academic article on Thucydides’ War of the Peloponnesians and the Athenians which is currently under review for publication. Professor Palmer has lectured, taught preceptorials, and third-year seminars in the Honors College for the past 27 years. He has published three books of Political Philosophy.

  • Why I teach in Honors:

I get to read and discuss great books—a very diverse set of books, all of which, however, can be made to speak our current concerns, if read with care—with some of the best students in the university.

  • My philosophy for teaching in Honors:

The preceptorial is a collaborative learning experience; except for the common lecture once a week, this is definitely not a lecture course. While I believe that some interpretations of texts are simply incorrect—at which point in our discussions I will assert my authority on the subject—I enjoy very much the experience of watching, and, I hope, helping the students to struggle with these very interesting books to find things relevant, and sometimes revelatory, to their own lives in our very troubled times.

  • Recent Honors lectures:

The Republic, Plato (Hon 111)
The Symposium
, Plato (Hon 111)
The Prince
, Niccolò Machiavelli (Hon 112)
The Tempest
, William Shakespeare (Hon 211)
The New Atlantis & the Great Instauration
, Francis Bacon (Hon 211)