Recently, my Department Chair complimented me with the description of ‘polymath’ in reference to both my mind and historiographic knowledge. I am proud to have received excellent training through my studies at Brown, PC and St Andrews along with my incredibly intensive individual studies. While I will always be primarily an intellectual historian, I am fascinated by many different fields within History. Such knowledge appears in front of undergraduates, Institute of Intellectual History seminars and my publications. My passion emerges from my writings and deep enjoyment in teaching History to young people. As a mature student said during a night class at the University of Rhode Island, “Dr. P, you love what you do.” I deeply care for my students and desire to help them succeed through excellent instruction, detailed assessment and encouraging support. Such vocational fulfillment enriches my life and makes my efforts worthwhile.
Combining intellectual breadth as well as depth of knowledge cannot be overemphasized in undergraduate instruction. Too often, graduate students and professors fall into pedantic myopia and refuse to educate themselves beyond their increasingly narrow fields. While at Providence College, I became profoundly impressed by its Development of Western Civilization program. Inspired by Columbia’s core curriculum, this intensive two-year course provides students with a master metanarrative of Western History. While sometimes dismissed as a ‘Plato to NATO’ sweep, such programs are frequently necessary in order to provide foundational knowledge to students.
I enjoyed teaching the Development of Western Civilization course along with its strong Catholic themes supplied by two solid Dominican friars. Both priests provided their students with a serious class incorporating History, literature, philosophy and theology. Their own fascinating educations gained at the Pontifical Gregorian University and the Catholic University of America complemented the class. Similarly, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute agrees with this curricular approach and offers students vital arrays of lectures, seminars and key texts in both American and European History. Many lectures are available through ISI’s online library including recorded seminars led by Russell Kirk, Eric Voegelin, Mel Bradford, Stephen Tonsor and other lions of the postwar intellectual right. Oftentimes, the most enjoyable aspects of these recording are their question and answer periods, when American undergraduates asked informed questions and their professors regaled them with both informed answers and rollicking stories of academic life.
Jonathan M. Paquette is an American Historian at the University of St Andrews. A PhD and Tutor at "Scotland's first University", Jonathan Paquette delights in examining British History, Mythology, Scottish Unionism and Toryist Thought. Published in various journals, he continuously strives to expand his knowledge of the field and is regularly attending conferences, the dates of which can be found on his website. To contact Jonathan Paquette, click here!