Tuesday, November 29, 2016

GPSA Hosts Roundtable on EGSC Dean’s Book

by Katelyn Moore | November 23, 2016


   The annual meeting of the Georgia Political Science Association included a panel devoted to analyzing an East Georgia State College dean and professor’s recent book. The decision to organize a panel on a recently scholarly book at a professional meeting signifies the importance of the work, as well as the timeliness of the issues contained in the book. The professor, Dr. Lee Cheek, and his newly edited book, A Theory of Public Opinion, published by Transaction Books at Rutgers University, an internationally-respected publisher, was featured at the meeting. Dr. Cheek edited the volume, which surveys the limitations of public opinion research in today’s politics.

   In support of the conference theme "The Relevancy of Political Science?," this panel examined the relationship between political theory and the study of public opinion, as well analyzing the tension between these two “subdisciplines” of political science in contemporary scholarship. As the basis for the panelists’ comments, the relevance of the study, A Theory of Public Opinion, was surveyed, which is perhaps the last major reappraisal of theory’s potential contribution to understanding public opinion, as well as a novel critique of the academic study of public opinion.

   Panelists traced the emergence of the ideas and institutions that evolved to give people mastery over their own destiny through the force of public opinion. The Greek belief in citizen participation, for example, was described as the ground upon which the idea of public opinion began and upon which it grew. Cheek’s argument that public opinion is always an "orderly force," contributing to social and political life, was critiqued, especially in light of the Election of 2016.

   The annual meeting of the Georgia Political Science Association took place from November 10-12 in Savannah, Ga. The panel also included Professor Hans E. Schmeisser (Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College), Professor Daniel Mancill (East Georgia State College), Dr. Craig Albert (Augusta University), Dr. James LaPlant (Valdosta State University), and Dr. Brett Larson (East Georgia State College).  EGSC’s Dr. Tom Caiazzo and Professor Randy Carter also provided commentary on the book at the conference.

   Dr. Cheek is the Dean of the Social Sciences and Professor of Political Science and History at East Georgia State College in Swainsboro, Ga. His many publications include Calhoun and Popular Rule (2001) and Order and Legitimacy (2004).













Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Dean Joins Editorial Board of 18th Century Studies Journal

by Katelyn Moore | August 30, 2016




Dr. Lee Cheek, Dean of the School of Social Sciences at EGSC, was recently invited to join the Editorial Advisory Board Studies of Studies in Burke, a leading interdisciplinary academic journal dedicated to the study, interpretation, and application of the life and thought of Edmund Burke.  Its guiding principle is that the substance of Burke’s political thought should remain the subject of vigorous discussion and debate, and that an interest in his thought and in its significance historically is of vital importance to the academic community.

   According to Dr. Ian Crowe, the Executive Editor of Studies in Burke, the journal attempts “through its activities and publications, to present the perennial insight and wisdom of Edmund Burke to a new generation as a salutary guide for action, reform, and renewal.”  Crowe noted that Cheek was asked to join the editorial board as the result of his “academic accomplishments and scholarly devotion to the study of Burke and 18th century political thought.”

   Before assuming his duties at EGSC, Dr. Cheek previously served as Dean of the School of Social Sciences at the  University of North Georgia, as Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at Athens State University in Alabama, and Vice-President for College Advancement and Professor of Political Science at  Brewton-Parker College in Mt. Vernon, Georgia. Dr. Cheek taught at Brewton-Parker College from 1997-2000, and from 2005-2009. In 2000, 2006, and 2007, the student body of Brewton-Parker College selected Cheek as Professor of the Year; and, in 2008, the Jordon Excellence in Teaching   award was bestowed upon him by the College's faculty and administration. From 2000 to 2005, Dr. Cheek served as Associate Professor of Political Science at Lee University. In 2002, Dr. Cheek was given Lee University’s Excellence in Scholarship award; and in 2004, he received  Lee University's Excellence in Advising award. In 2008, Western Carolina University presented Dr. Cheek with the University's  Distinguished Alumni Award for Academic and Professional Achievement.

   He has also been a congressional aide and a political consultant. Dr. Cheek's books include Political Philosophy and Cultural Renewal (Transaction/Rutgers, 2001, with Kathy B. Cheek); Calhoun and Popular Rule, published by the University of Missouri Press (2001;  paper edition, 2004); Calhoun: Selected Speeches and Writings (Regnery, 2003); Order and Legitimacy (Transaction/Rutgers, 2004); an edition of Calhoun's A Disquisition on Government (St. Augustine's, 2007); a critical edition of W. H. Mallock's The Limits of Pure Democracy (Transaction/Rutgers, 2007); a monograph on Wesleyan theology (Wesley Studies Society, 2010); an edition of the classic study, A Theory of Public Opinion (Transaction/Rutgers, 2013); Patrick-Henry Onslow Debate: Liberty and Republicanism in American Political Thought (Lexington, 2013); and, The Founding of the American Republic (Bloomsbury, 2017). He has also published dozens of scholarly articles in academic publications, and is a regular commentator on American politics and religion. Dr. Cheek’s current research includes completing an intellectual biography of Francis Graham Wilson (I.S.I. Books), and a book on Patrick Henry's constitutionalism and political theory. He currently serves on the editorial boards of Humanitas, The Political Science Reviewer, Anamnesis, and The University Bookman, as a Senior Fellow of the Alexander Hamilton Institute, and as a Fellow of the Academy of Philosophy and Letters (elected). Dr. Cheek has been a Fellow of the Wilbur Foundation, the Earhart Foundation, the Center for Judicial Studies, and the Center for International Media Studies.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Dean Contributes to International Festschrift




EGSC’s Dean of the School of Social Sciences, Dr. Lee Cheek, recently contributed a book chapter to a volume honoring the life and scholarship of Dr. Tom Darby, an internationally respected political scientist on the faculty of Carleton University in Canada. The book was announced at the annual meeting of the Canadian Political Science Association, and is being published next month by Fermentation Press, a leading publisher in the social sciences, located in Quebec, Canada.
   Cheek’s chapter in the collection, entitled “Confronting Nihilism: Towards a Political Theory of the Psalms,” continues a decade of scholarship by Cheek on the political meaning of the Psalms.  According to Cheek, the “writer [of the Psalms] is a political and spiritual reformer who argues that life can have meaning.  The Psalmist is no longer a messenger of the divine reality, but an actual participant. Most importantly, the psalmist urges a spirit of restraint in social and political life.”
   Before assuming his duties at EGSC, Dr. Cheek previously served as  Dean of the School of Social Sciences at the  University of North Georgia), as Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at Athens State University in Alabama, and Vice-President for College Advancement and Professor of Political Science at  Brewton-Parker College in Mt. Vernon, Georgia. Dr. Cheek taught at Brewton-Parker College from 1997-2000, and from 2005-2009. In 2000, 2006, and 2007, the student body of Brewton-Parker College selected Cheek as Professor of the Year; and, in 2008, the Jordon Excellence in Teaching   award was bestowed upon him by the College's faculty and administration. From 2000 to 2005, Dr. Cheek served as Associate Professor of Political Science at Lee University. In 2002, Dr. Cheek was given Lee University’s Excellence in Scholarship award; and in 2004, he received  Lee University's Excellence in Advising award. In 2008, Western Carolina University presented Dr. Cheek with the University's  Distinguished Alumni Award for Academic and Professional Achievement.
   He has also been a congressional aide and a political consultant. Dr. Cheek's books include  Political Philosophy and Cultural Renewal (Transaction/Rutgers, 2001, with Kathy B. Cheek); Calhoun and Popular Rule, published by the University of Missouri Press (2001;  paper edition, 2004); Calhoun: Selected Speeches and Writings (Regnery, 2003); Order and Legitimacy (Transaction/Rutgers, 2004); an edition of Calhoun's A Disquisition on Government (St. Augustine's, 2007); a critical edition of W. H. Mallock's The Limits of Pure Democracy (Transaction/Rutgers, 2007); a monograph on Wesleyan theology (Wesley Studies Society, 2010); an edition of the classic study, A Theory of Public Opinion (Transaction/Rutgers, 2013); Patrick-Henry Onslow Debate: Liberty and Republicanism in American Political Thought (Lexington, 2013); and, The Founding of the American Republic (Bloomsbury, 2017). He has also published dozens of scholarly articles in academic publications, and is a regular commentator on American politics and religion. Dr. Cheek’s current research includes completing an intellectual biography of Francis Graham Wilson (I.S.I. Books), and a book on Patrick Henry's constitutionalism and political theory. He currently serves on the editorial boards of Humanitas, The Political Science Reviewer, Anamnesis, and The University Bookman, as a Senior Fellow of the Alexander Hamilton Institute, and as a Fellow of the Academy of Philosophy and Letters (elected). Cheek has been a Fellow of the Wilbur Foundation, the Earhart Foundation, the Center for Judicial Studies, and the Center for International Media Studies.

Original posting: http://www.ega.edu/articles/detail/dr.-cheek-contributes-to-international-festschrift

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Rising Tide of Kirk Scholarship

A Project of Liberty Fund
A Kirkian Renaissance


No other major figure in 20th century American social and political life has deserved study more than Russell Amos Kirk (1918-1994). The existing studies of Kirk are excellent, but the latest effort, by Professor Brad Birzer, surpasses all previous attempts to appreciate the magnitude of Kirk’s personal mission and scholarly opus. Birzer has a command of the primary sources that is truly amazing, and his archival labors evince the work of a superior scholar and world-class historian. In other words, a significant advance in scholarly knowledge is upon us, as well as an advance in evaluating Kirk as a political thinker.[1]
Before I turn to Birzer’s 2015 book (which was reviewed for Law and Liberty by Mark Pulliam), let me discuss the previous works, both their virtues and their limitations.
The first sustained study of Kirk to appear was James E. Person, Jr.’s highly accessible and readable introduction to the life and works of the Duke of Mecosta, Russell Kirk: A Critical Biography of a Conservative Mind. Person provides a coherent and convincing analysis of Kirk’s enduring significance to American politics and humane learning. Originally published in 1999, and reprinted in 2016, the volume has not been revised, although it remains an excellent contribution to scholarship. Person’s mission is to introduce a new generation of readers to “one of the greatest minds this nation has produced during the twentieth century.”
The book is organized in four sections that outline Kirk’s achievement. The first section is devoted to interpreting Kirk’s background, use of historical consciousness, views on education, and constitutionalism. The second section critiques Kirk’s devotion to the importance of literature and social criticism. The last two sections survey Kirk’s economic thought and his lasting importance as a political thinker. The greatest contribution of this worthwhile volume can be found in the author’s review of Kirk’s defense of a social order grounded in justice and the diffusion of political power.
Person’s biography is written for the general reader, with the intent to elucidate the life and work of Kirk, while avoiding the arcane scholarly controversies and personages that often dominate such academic efforts. In a similar vein, John M. Pafford’s Russell Kirk, a volume in Bloomsbury’s “Major Conservative and Libertarian Thinkers,” published in 2013, provides a clear and sympathetic account of Kirk’s continued importance as a political thinker.
As the first purely academic treatise on Kirk to appear in this revival, my late friend Wesley McDonald’s book on Kirk’s political thought, Russell Kirk and the Age of Ideology, initially faces the challenge of his imposed, direct framework of transference of ideas—from Burke to Babbitt to Kirk.[2] The influence of Babbitt is significant and should not be minimized, although the propensity to incorporate the insights of Irving Babbitt when Kirk’s own critique would be preferable has manifested itself on occasion among Kirk scholars.  Secondly, the role of literature and humane letters was even more of an overwhelming influence upon Kirk than McDonald initially suggested.
Contrary to the claim that the role of literature became important to Kirk in midlife, it was actually central to his thought as early as the 1940s: witness, for example, Kirk’s early writings on tragedy (1940), George Gissing (1950), and Sir Walter Scott (1952). To his great credit, McDonald provides a close reading and explication of the very extensive corpus of Kirk’s writings. McDonald’s exegesis of Kirk’s Enemies of the Permanent Things (1969) should encourage interest anew in a work that outlines many of the most important themes of the Kirkian enterprise.
McDonald brilliantly articulates Kirk’s use of history as a tool of analysis for his political thought. His depiction of the errors of Leo Strauss’s view of Burke, especially in Natural Right and History (1950), as compared to Kirk’s own critique, are groundbreaking as well. Kirk often noted that Strauss had reconsidered his original assessment of Burke. According to Kirk, Strauss offered these comments to him while Kirk was a guest lecturer under the auspices of Strauss at the University of Chicago. Kirk noted that Strauss moderated his earlier criticism of Burke, suggesting he was more receptive to Kirk’s own analysis.[3]
The more precise contours of this dialogue and related issues remain opaque in nature, but continue to receive great attention from the epigones of Strauss, as well as from Burke scholars.[4] Finally, McDonald’s discussion of technology in relation to Kirk’s thought is a seminal contribution to our knowledge of Kirk as a critic of contemporary culture.[5]
Gerald J. Russello’s The Postmodern Imagination of Russell Kirk (2007) attempts to revise Kirk’s insights for the 21st century by examining five aspects of his thought: overall mission; interpretation of history; political life; jurisprudence; and his criticism of modern life (Kirk’s “counternarrative”). Kirk’s active engagement with society and politics is detailed, and those who have neglected his work—viewing Kirk as either an advocate of “nostalgia” or a “static version of some ideal past”—are introduced to the more engaging potentialities of his achievement. The vital role of tradition and history for Kirk are explored with great clarity and sensitivity, along with Kirk’s views of politics and statesmanship. The treatment of the interconnection between natural law and American constitutionalism in Kirk’s writings also deserves commendation. Most importantly, Russello provides a sagacious refutation of the often unreflective criticisms of Kirk, while affirming the vitality of his thought for contemporary politics.
As noted, all of these Kirk studies are outstanding efforts, but Birzer’s encyclopedic critique of the Duke of Mecosta is a masterwork. When approaching a study of the greatest figure in modern conservatism, it should be noted that Russell Kirk was a political thinker, historian, political theorist, journalist, and one who served in many other capacities. Kirk’s significance is also not limited to the conservative movement, and while he identified himself as a conservative, he was a man of humane learning who engaged the major political movements he encountered and all personages who crossed his path.
In Birzer’s first chapter, entitled “Desert Humanist,” the reader will discover a very useful survey of Kirk’s early life, and a critique of Kirk’s emerging plea for the return to traditional concepts of political order and power. Kirk’s early academic experiences, especially at Duke University as a graduate student under the influence of his two mentors, Jay Hubbell (English) and Charles Sydnor (history), are also important to the narrative Birzer constructs. Unfortunately, Hubbell does not receive mention in the text, but was a major influence upon the young Kirk in all matters literary.
Birzer appropriately spends a great deal of time on Kirk’s developmental defense of the moral basis of social and political life. Two problems arise, though: the overdependence on Catholicism to explain Kirk’s emerging worldview; and the unintentional effort to make Kirk more libertarian than he was, even in his earlier writings. Kirk was essentially a Christian ecumenist, although he did make his way to Rome. Of Kirk’s four greatest clerical friends, Canon Basil Alec Smith, Rev. Dr. Lynn Harold Hough, Canon Bernard Iddings Bell, and Father Martin D’Arcy, S. J., only one was Roman Catholic—and all four were major advocates of ecumenism, properly understood—Smith as a man of letters and leading Anglican clergyman, Hough as the Dean of Drew Divinity School, Bell as a leading cleric and President of what is now Bard College, and D’Arcy as an internationally respected intellectual.[6] Additionally, Kirk’s view of natural law is closer to the classical, consensual Christian tradition than other schools of interpretation.
Perhaps of greatest enduring importance to scholarship is Birzer’s very convincing and accurate depiction Kirk’s abiding humanism and the centrality of community to Kirk’s thought. Kirk believed that humankind’s primary obligation lies in his or her community.  Self-discipline and love of neighbor began with the individual, and spread to the community, and then to society as a whole. In other words, Kirk’s concept of community serves to define the limitations of society and politics for on one hand, while on the other it presupposes and defends the necessity of a properly constituted community for securing the moral and ethical results concomitant to society’s perpetuation.
With Birzer’s Russell Kirk, the academic community has the definitive assessment of Kirk as a social, historical, and political thinker. The work also encourages a much-needed reaffirmation of the vitality of the conservative intellectual tradition. With great clarity and erudition, this new study allows readers to appreciate Kirk as a defender of community and genuine diversity.
[1] Another exception to the inadequacy of thoughtful and scholarly engaged recent scholarship on Kirk is James McClellan’s “Russell Kirk’s Anglo-American Conservatism,” in History of American Political Thought, edited by Bryan-Paul Frost and Jeffrey Sikkenga (Lexington Books, 2003).
[3] Russell Kirk, Edmund Burke: A Genius Reconsidered (Sherwood Sugden and Company, 1988), p. 185.
[4] See Bradley J. Birzer, Russell Kirk: American Conservative (University Press of Kentucky, 2015), p. 190.
[5] Consider Kirk’s “Humane Learning in the Age of the Computer,” in Wise Men (republished in the posthumously published collection of essays, Redeeming the Time {1996}). Kirk’s response to the critical reviews of Wise Men may provide some additional commentary as well.
[6] Birzer neglects to integrate Father D’Arcy into his larger Kirkian narrative, but he is appreciative of his contribution to scholarship and Catholic social and political life.  See Bradley J. Birzer, “Order”: The Brief and Extraordinary Life of a Catholic Movement,” Catholic World Report, September 13, 2015.

H. Lee Cheek, Jr., is Dean of the Social Sciences and Professor of Political Science and Religion at East Georgia State College, and a Senior Fellow of the Alexander Hamilton Institute. Dr. Cheek's latest book is Patrick Henry-Onslow: Liberty and Republicanism in American Political Thought (Lexington Books, 2013).

- See more at: http://www.libertylawsite.org/2016/03/29/a-kirkian-renaissance/#sthash.QtFIkjTh.dpuf

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Second edition of popular edited “classic” text by EGSC Dean to Appear


Second edition of popular edited “classic” text by EGSC Dean to appear
 

  EGSC’s Lee Cheek, Dean of the School of Social Sciences, has edited one of the major works on American politics, John C. Calhoun’s A Disquisition on Government. Cheek’s edited book is the most widely adopted version of the text among colleges and universities in America today, and a second edition of the book will appear next month.

   According Cheek’s publisher, Bruce Fingerhut, President of St. Augustine’s Press, “this volume provides the most economical and textually accurate version of Calhoun’s Disquisition available today. As a treatise, the Disquisition is one of the greatest and most enduring works of American political thought, and a text of seminal importance to all students of American politics, history, philosophy, and law.”

   In the Disquisition, Calhoun believed he had laid a “solid foundation for political science” through revitalizing popular rule. To complete his theoretical and practical mission, Calhoun attempts to explain the best example of the diffusion of authority and cultivation of liberty: the American Constitution.

   Dr. Cheek’s introduction to the classic edition notes that “Calhoun presents a theory of politics that is both original and in accord with the mainstream of the American political tradition. More than any other thinker of his period, Calhoun sought to explain the enduring qualities of American political thought in light of the troubled world of the mid-nineteenth century.”

   For Cheek, the book seeks to reconcile the good of popular rule with political ethics, and this has special importance to many nations in the twenty-first century, despite the ethnic animosities threatening their destruction.

Originally Posted: January 22, 2016 by Katelyn Moore
Last Edited: February 03, 2016 by Katelyn Moore

Monday, February 8, 2016

Dr. Cheek's Commencement Address at EGSC, 12 December 2015

Commencement address by Dr. H. Lee Cheek, Jr., Dean of the School of Social Sciences, at East Georgia State College, 12 December 2015, Swainsboro, Georgia.  The title of the address was "Where Are You Going?"https://youtu.be/jvFidZGb3lY




Sunday, May 17, 2015

EGSC Dean Cheek Publishes Article on Major 20th Century Southern Thinker

EGSC Dean Cheek Publishes Article on Major 20th Century Southern Thinker
         
Dr. Lee Cheek, Dean of the School of Social Sciences at East Georgia State College, recently published (with Sean Busick) on the scholarly legacy of Mel Bradford, a significant figure in recent scholarly studies of the American South, in the current issue of Modern Age, a leading academic journal.

His books include Political Philosophy and Cultural Renewal (Transaction/Rutgers, 2001, with Kathy B. Cheek); Calhoun and Popular Rule, published by the University of Missouri Press (2001; paper edition, 2004); Calhoun: Selected Speeches and Writings (Regnery, 2003); Order and Legitimacy (Transaction/Rutgers, 2004); an edition of Calhoun's A Disquisition on Government (St. Augustine's, 2007); a critical edition of W. H. Mallock's The Limits of Pure Democracy (Transaction/Rutgers, 2007); a monograph on Wesleyan theology (Wesley Studies Society, 2010); an edition of the classic study, A Theory of Public Opinion (Transaction/Rutgers, 2013); Patrick-Henry Onslow Debate: Liberty and Republicanism in American Political Thought (Lexington, 2013); and, The Founding of the American Republic (Bloomsbury, 2016).  Cheek is a Senior Fellow of the Alexander Hamilton Institute in New York, and he has been a Fellow of the Wilbur Foundation, the Earhart Foundation, the Center for Judicial Studies, and the Center for International Media Studies.

Source: http://www.ega.edu/articles/detail/egsc_dean_cheek_publishes_article_on_major_20th_century_southern_thinker