Brown University SealBrown University

About this Department

Catallaxy: Building Friendship at Brown

The mission of the Political Theory Project (PTP) is to invigorate the study of institutions and ideas that make societies free, prosperous, and fair. The Project drives beneath the familiar and easy ideological labels, focusing on questions about what actually works in the world. The PTP creates new spaces at Brown where students of good faith, and diverse viewpoints, can come together to debate one another, freely and passionately, about the most pressing political problems of our day.

The Political Theory Project aspires to be a true Catallaxy, a marketplace that brings together people who affirm diverse political ideologies and who wish to interact and learn from each other. Catallaxy is derived from the Greek verb katalatto, which means "to exchange," or "to become reconciled with," or "to admit into the community," or, getting closer to our purposes, "to change from an enemy into a friend." The cognate catallaxy, therefore, refers to a pattern of mutually beneficial interaction ("friendship") that does not require that participants share the same ends. The PTP, through our program of visiting scholars and postdoctoral fellows, and through our student programs such as the Janus Forum, provides a unique space for encouraging "catallactic friendships" here at Brown.