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Travis D. Smith, PhD

Associate Professor, Political Science

Travis D. Smith, PhD
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 5604

Professor Smith is principally interested in the intersection of politics, religion, and science, especially in early modern political philosophy. He is also interested in the relationship between storytelling and education.

His publications include examinations of the ideas of Francis Bacon, Thomas Hobbes, and Alexis de Tocqueville.

"that which I am forced to receive is not a benefit."
--Seneca, On Benefits II.19.2


PhD (Harvard University)
AM (Harvard University)
BA (Honours) (McMaster University)

Research interests

Early Modern Philosophy, Religion & Science.
Politics, Fiction, and Popular Culture.

Professor Smith is a member of the Groupe de recherche en philosophie politique de Montréal

Teaching activities

LBCL 298/SCOL 398 Great Thinkers, Great Ideas, Great Debates
POLI 206                 Introduction to Western Political Theory
POLI 317                 Special Topics in Political Theory: Character
POLI 371                 Early Modern Political Philosophy
POLI 373                 Late Modern Political Philosophy
POLI 384                 Principles of Political Theory
POLI 401                 The American Political Tradition
POLI 415                 Modern Political Theory and Religion
POLI 425                 Foundations of Liberalism
POLI 433                 Critics of Modernity
POLI 490                 Advanced Seminar in Political Theory: Totalitarianism
POLI 495                 Honours Thesis
POLI 496/685          Honours Seminar
POLI 625                 Policy Discourse of Biotechnology
POLI 631                 Political Texts
POLI 632/804          Seminar in Political Theory
POLI 685P/814C      Happiness

Professor Smith also conducts the Reading Lab in Political Theory


"Ajzenstat Versus the Oligarchs." [Forthcoming in 2022]

"Thomas Hobbes, Comedian." Political Science Reviewer 44(1) (2020): 147-73.

"Alexis de Tocqueville and the Uneasy Friendship Between Reason and Freedom." Co-authored with Jin Jin. In Critics of Enlightenment Rationalism. Edited by Gene Callahan and Kenneth B. McIntyre (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020), 33-46.

Superhero Ethics (Templeton Press, 2018).
Ética y superpoderes, trad. Maia Figueroa Evans (temas de hoy, 2019).
アメコミヒーローの倫理学 [Ethics of the American comic hero], trans. Shinnosuke Horiuchi & Kenji Tsukagoshi (Parco, 2019).

Flattering the Demos, co-edited with Marlene K. Sokolon (Lexington Books, 2018).

"Comedy and Comic Books." In Flattering the Demos (Lexington Books, 2018), 69-86.

"The Hobbesian Foundations of Modern Illiberal Education." In Liberal Education, Civic Education, and the Canadian Regime. Edited by David W. Livingstone (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2015), 268-86.

"Harvey Mansfield: Teaching Not Differently, But Further Than the Parties." In Teaching in an Age of Ideology. Edited by John von Heyking and Lee Trepanier (Lexington Books, 2012), 217-43.

“Forgiving Those Not Trespassing Against Us: Hobbes and the Establishment of the Nonsectarian State Church.” In Civil Religion in Political Thought: Its Perennial Questions and Enduring Relevance in North America. Edited by Ronald Weed and John von Heyking (Catholic University of America Press, 2010), 93-120.

“Amoral Dilemmas and the Temptation to Tyranny in A Simple Plan.” In Damned If You Do: Dilemmas of Action in Literature and Popular Culture. Edited by Margaret Hrezo and John Michael Parrish (Lexington Books, 2010), 189-209.

“Being Altogether Bad, Becoming Altogether Good.” In The Arts of Rule: Essays in Honor of Harvey Mansfield. Edited by Sharon R. Krause and Mary Ann McGrail (Lexington Books, 2009), 167-84.

“Hobbes on Getting By with Little Help from Friends.” In Friendship and Politics: Essays in Political Thought. Edited by John von Heyking and Richard Avramenko (University of Notre Dame Press, 2008), 214-47.

“On the Fourth Law of Nature.” Hobbes Studies 16 (2003): 84-94.

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