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Commemorating Oakeshott

CC Hosts International Oakeshott Meeting for the Third Time

Commemorating Oakeshott

The Michael Oakeshott Association is holding its international meeting here at Colorado College.  The association met here twice before in 2003 and 2006.  Timothy Fuller, professor of political science and a prominent editor and analyst of Oakeshott’s work, tells us about his importance to political thought and to generations of students at CC:

Michael Oakeshott was one of the most important British political thinkers of the 20th century and he has a long connection to CC.  This began when he came here in 1974, the college’s centennial, to give the first in a series of centennial lectures on the state of education.  The talk was “A Place of Learning,” delivered as the Abbott Memorial Lecture in the Social Sciences on September 17, 1974.  The essay was first published by Colorado College Studies, and has been widely reprinted in books on the philosophy of education, and is included in the collection of Oakeshott’s essays on education I edited, “The Voice of Liberal Learning,” published by Yale University Press in 1989.

Oakeshott spent a week on campus after that occasion, meeting with faculty and students for numerous informal conversations.  He returned to CC in 1982 to be awarded an honorary degree.  Many of my students went to study with him at the London School of Economics, and many of them eventually pursued academic careers and are now successful tenured faculty at distinguished institutions, including Paul Franco ’78 of Bowdoin College who was the convocation speaker this year.

Oakeshott died in 1990 and in 2001 the Michael Oakeshott Association was founded and held its initial meeting at the London School of Economics, where Oakeshott taught for many years.  The second meeting was held here at CC in 2003.  The third meeting was to be held at Tulane University in New Orleans in 2005, but Katrina intervened.  We moved the third meeting back to CC on an emergency basis, with generous support from the college, and finally got the meeting going in 2006.  Thereafter, the normal schedule resumed.  We have since then met in Germany in 2007, at Baylor University in 2009, at the University of Tulsa in 2011, and now back here for 2013.

This meeting will bring about 30-40 scholars from around the world.  We will have — in addition to Americans, Canadians, and British — visitors from Australia, Continental Europe, China, and other spots around the world.  All the meetings will be free and open to the public.  — Tim Fuller

Fuller’s books include “The Intellectual Legacy of Michael Oakeshott” (2005), “Reassessing the Liberal State” (2001), “The Voice of Liberal Learning:  Michael Oakeshott on Education” (1989), and he recently contributed to “Political Philosophy in the Twentieth Century, Authors and Arguments” (2011).  He was co-editor with Shirley Letwin of a multi-volume series for the Yale University Press, “Selected Works of Michael Oakeshott.”  He has edited Colorado College Studies since 1974.  He was the second president of the Michael Oakeshott Association.