-Tocqueville’s America-

2019 Intellectual Retreat:

April 26 - 28

Is America a normal country? Or is it somehow fundamentally different from other polities? What accounts for its special status, for our American exceptionalism, as it is sometimes called? What are the roots of American political identity? Of American national identity? Have subsequent American developments fundamentally transformed the nature of the country, or is our destiny as a people working itself out in accord with our beginnings?

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Location: The Seminar will take place in the Renaissance Providence Downtown Hotel, 5 Avenue of the Arts, Providence, RI.

Accommodation: Hotel accommodation will be provided - rooms will be shared between seminar participants of the same sex.

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch and Dinner will be provided during the retreat.

Cost: There is a $100 cost to participants. Scholarships are available, for inquiries please email director@AAICambridge.org. The retreat will be limited to sixteen participants.

Reading and Discussion: The touchstone text is Alexis de Tocqueville’s seminal Democracy in America. The reading will be made available to all invited participants at least one month before the retreat. There will be seven sessions, a schedule of topics is available.

Who should apply?

The retreat is open to college undergraduates with interests in moral philosophy, politics, sociology, and economics.

How to Apply

  • Fill out this application. After completion you will be instructed to upload the following:

    • Writing sample of up to 2,000 words.

    • CV or Resume

The application deadline for the retreat is March 10th, 2019. Applicants can expect to receive a decision by March 15th, 2019.

 - Intellectual Retreat Instructors - 


Prof. James Nolan - Williams College

Professor Nolan’s teaching and research interests fall within the general areas of law and society, culture, technology and social change, and historical comparative sociology. His latest book, published through Cambridge University Press,  is "What They Saw in America: Alexis de Tocqueville, Max Weber, G.K. Chesterton, and Sayyid Qutb", an exploration of the journeys of four distinguished, yet very different foreign visitors who traveled to the United States between 1830 and 1950 . His current research project, "Delivering Little Boy", is a unique look at the Manhattan Project and the early years of the nuclear age. His previous books include Legal Accents, Legal Borrowing: The International Problem-Solving Court Movement (2009); Reinventing Justice: The American Drug Court Movement (2001); and The Therapeutic State: Justifying Government at Century’s End (1998). He is the recipient of several grants and awards including National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships and a Fulbright scholarship. He has held visiting fellowships at Oxford University, Loughborough University, and the University of Notre Dame.


Dr. Danilo Petranovich - Abigail Adams Institute

Dr. Danilo Petranovich is Director of the Abigail Adams Institute and is responsible for the Institute's strategic planning, developing its intellectual mission and academic programming, cultivating faculty and student partners, and contributor outreach in the greater New England area. Dr. Petranovich received his BA from Harvard and his PhD in Political Science from Yale. He taught courses in political theory, social thought, and the humanities at Duke and at Yale. His expertise is in nineteenth century European and American political thought. 


- Questions - 

If you have any questions about the seminar or the application process please do not hesitate to send your queries to director@AAICambridge.org