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John M. Peterson, Ph.D.

Dr. Peterson is Manager of Interdisciplinary Graduate Programs in the Braniff Graduate School of Liberal Arts, where he oversees the administration of the Humanities, Classical Education, American Studies, and Leadership programs, and is Affiliate Assistant Professor of Humanities and Graduate Director of American Studies.

Areas of Expertise

Dr. Peterson specializes in the history of political philosophy, especially ancient and early modern thought. He has a wide interdisciplinary background, including study and teaching of Homer, Vergil, ancient history, and classical rhetoric. His current work is in the history of liberal arts education and the classical education movement in America.


  • Ph.D., Political Philosophy, University of Dallas (2018)
  • M.A., Politics, University of Dallas (2012)
  • B.A., St. John's College, Annapolis (2005)

Academic Appointments

  • Graduate Director, American Studies (2020-Present)
  • Affiliate Assistant Professor, Humanities & Classical Education (2019-Present)
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor, History (Spring 2020)
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Philosophy (2019)
  • Adjunct Instructor, Politics & Philosophy (2018-19)

Professional Experience

  • Manager of Interdisciplinary Programs, Braniff Graduate School of Liberal Arts (April 2019-Present)
  • Upper School History, Literature, Philosophy, & Rhetoric Teacher, Founders Classical Academy of Leander, TX (2014-18)
  • Seminar Leader, Arete in Irving (2012-13)

Recent Courses

Graduate Courses

  • HUM 6348. Classical Pedagogy, Ancient & Modern
  • HUM 6355. History of Liberal Arts Education
  • HUM 6353. Teaching Great American Speeches

Undergraduate Courses

  • HIS 2302. Western Civilization II [1500-Present]
  • PHI 1301. Philosophy and the Ethical Life
  • POL 1311. Principles of American Politics

Research Interests

  • History of Liberal Arts Education
  • Classical Education Movement in America
  • Machiavelli and Education
  • Modern Philosophy of Conscience

Selected Publications

  • In Progress: "Montesquieu’s Neo-Barbarism: Sacred Property and the Birth of Modern Commerce in The Spirit of Laws"
  • 2019: “Imperialism & Moralism: De Alvarez on Aristotle.” Ramify 10, no. 2 (Issue in honor of Leo Paul S. De Alvarez, Fall 2019).
  • 2015:, Web Portal for Karl Marx. Including Biography, Introduction to His Works, and Selected Bibliography.
  • 2011: “On Hippodamus: The Classical Critique of Innovation in Aristotle’s Politics,” Ramify 2, no. 1 (2011): 119–30.



  • 2020: “Seminar & Classical Pedagogy,” Professional Development In-Service for Diocese of Austin Schools
  • 2019: “Upper School Classroom Management and Discipline” and “How to Lead a Seminar Discussion,” Professional Development In-Service for Founders Classical Academy of Flower Mound; “The Spirit of Barbarian Law,” Association for Core Texts and Courses (ACTC)
  • 2018: “Montesquieu and Plato on the Sacredness of Property,” Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA) Annual Conference; “Property, Belief, and the Barbarian in Montesquieu’s Spirit of the Laws,” St. John’s College, Graduate Institute, Annapolis, MD, June 2018; “Property and Privacy of Conscience in Montesquieu’s Spirit of the Laws,” University of Dallas (Dissertation Lecture), October 2018; “Be Nobody: ‘My Friends’ in ‘That Untravell’d World’,” Founders Classical Academy of Leander Commencement, May 2018; “What is a Hero?: On Achilles, Odysseus, and Aeneas,” Address to Founders Classical Academy of Leander Grammar School Faculty, March 2018
  • 2017: “Honing the Seminar Discussion,” Hillsdale College, Barney Charter School Initiative Teacher Training, July 2017
  • 2014: “Deeming Some Island: Milton’s Critique of Hobbes,” ACTC; “Milton on Hobbes' Leviathan and Political Beginnings in Paradise Lost I,” Institute of Philosophic Studies Colloquium
  • 2013: “Aristotle on the Many, Fortune, and Laughter,” MPSA; "‘Annuit Coeptis’ and the Declaration of Independence,” Arête: An Introduction to the Classics, July 2013
  • 2012: “The Family: Bulwark or Stumbling Block of Lockean Liberalism?,” MPSA
  • 2011: “The Classical Critique of Innovation in Aristotle’s Politics and Plato’s Laws,” MPSA; “Rousseau’s Critique of Hobbes’ Rhetoric,” Institute of Philosophic Studies Colloquium


  • 2017: “Andrew Scott Bibby, Montesquieu’s Political Economy,” Interpretation 44, no. 1, (September 2017): 123–29.

Awards & Honors

  • 2020: Jack Miller Center Summer Institute Fellowship (postponed to 2021)
  • 2019: James Madison Seminar on the Moral Foundations of the American Constitutional Order, James Madison Program, Princeton University
  • 2018–19: Adam Smith Fellowship, Mercatus Center, George Mason University
  • 2014: Louise Cowan Scholarship
  • 2012–14: Braniff Graduate Student Association Travel Stipend (3x)
  • 2012: Publius Fellowship, Claremont Institute
  • 2011–14: H.B. Earhart Fellowship