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Power Line

Steven Hattward

Sept. 21 2022

In my review last spring of Glenn Ellmers’ The Soul of Politics, I included this passage about the Leo Strauss Dissertation Award that the American Political Science Association (APSA) gives out each year:


One last stark example of [Harry Jaffa’s] vindication in the controversies that are at the root of the rancor associated with his name is his attack, in the mid-1970s, on the American Political Science Association’s establishment of the Leo Strauss Dissertation Award. Jaffa argued that the award would come to represent the opposite of everything Strauss stood for: “Works of genuine brilliance and distinction will seldom if ever have a chance, because they will antagonize by their uncompromising superiority.”

This seemed a trivial quarrel to most everyone in the wider Straussian community. Joseph Cropsey thought Jaffa was overreacting, with “absolute conviction that what everybody else understands to be insignificant is the germ of universal calamity,” and the episode was taken to be yet another example of what Harvey Mansfield called Jaffa’s “excess of fighting spirit.” Yet APSA’s 2020 winner of the Leo Strauss Dissertation Award was Elena Gambino of Rutgers University, who “works at the intersections of feminist, queer, and critical race theories.” Title of the dissertation: “Presence in Our Own Land:’ Second Wave Feminism and the Lesbian Body Politic.”

Turns out the APSA was just warming up. Here is this year’s winner of the Leo Strauss Dissertation Award:


Yeah, this really looks like the kind of analysis Strauss would have respected. (Sarc.)



Bold Me

There's an intersections of feminist, queer, and critical race theories? All pretty much The Same DAMN thing.

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