History Teacher Dan Blanchard Presents at Political Science Conference
Last month, History Teacher Dan Blanchard attended the Northeastern Political Science Association’s Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, where he presented his essay, “The Democratic Man, the Popular Will, and the Inability of Self-Restraint.” The essay’s abstract explained that the democratic man haunted Plato’s political theory, living as he did amidst the confluences of the fundamental tenets of democratic government, equality, and liberty. Freedom of action, thought, and speech, without limitations or semblance of lawfulness, encouraged the appetites and corrupted the democratic man into both the prototypical tyrant and the archetypal slave. This corruption was exploited by modern retail merchants, advertising campaigns, and marketing firms, who used the democratic man for profit and turned the inner savage into a consumer.
Dan’s paper was one of over 250 individual papers presented during a conference that also featured dozens of round-table panels on topics that included political party strategy, gender and race in American politics, and the role of social media in campaigns.
Presenters and attendees came from twenty states and nearly a dozen countries. Not only was Dan the only middle school teacher featured, but he was also the only teacher from an elementary or secondary school. “It was an incredibly intimidating environment. I was surrounded by veteran professors who authored books and articles and were leaders of the political science field,” notes Dan, who found himself repeating, “No, Fay School is not a university, it is an independent middle school in Massachusetts where I currently teach 8th grade!”
Dan presented in a session entitled, “Who is The People? How Should It Act?” alongside professors from the University of Pennsylvania, Wake Forest, and Dickinson College. The commentator for the panel was from Montclair State University. Dan’s essay was well-received, and he received a great deal of useful feedback. He has previously presented drafts of this paper at the Classical Association of New England and submitted it to the Journal Polity for review and feedback. He is excited to pursue revisions to this piece as well his next project, which focuses on the Trial of Socrates.