About this Department

The Political Theory Project (PTP) is an interdisplinary research center at Brown University. The mission of the PTP is to invigorate the study of institutions and ideas that make societies free, prosperous, and fair. The PTP is based on the belief that responsible criticism of public institutions must be conducted in light of economic realities and the findings of mainstream social science, as viewed through moral lenses provided by a variety of ideological paradigms. The PTP believes that great scholarship and responsible teaching is best fostered by an enviroment where different and sometimes divergent ideals are bought together into serious and respectful conversations with each other. Brown University has a long and distinguished tradition of pluralism. The Brown Charter of 1764 states: It is hereby enacted and declared that into this liberal and catholic institution shall never be admitted any religious tests: But, on the contrary, all the members hereof shall foever enjoy full, free, absolute and uninterrupted liberty of conscience.

In her convocation address in 2001 Brown President Ruth Simmons declared, "While other types of communities devise covenants so as to avoid conflict, our covenant is rooted in quarrel, in opposition. We encourage ideas and opinions to collide in the service of learning. We freely trespass boundaries, criticize each other’s views, test every theory. No idea is beyond range or out of bounds."  The Political Theory Project is proud to carry on this tradition at Brown today.