scholars and faculty fellows

The Benson Center at the University of Colorado Boulder has announced the appointment of two scholars in residence and three faculty fellows for the 2021-22 academic year. They join previously announced Visiting Scholar in Conservative Thought and Policy (VSCTP) Alan S. Kahan and Visiting Research Professor David McPherson.

Fundamental to the Benson Center's mission is expanding the richness and diversity of academic collaborations, dialogues and curricula across the university by sponsoring annual fellowships for faculty and scholars from other institutions and from CU. The academic-year program offers visiting and CU Boulder faculty an opportunity to join an interdisciplinary campus community which fosters research, debate and dialogue on the fundamental issues of our time and explores the enduring ideas of the Western intellectual tradition. Scholars in Residence and Fellows teach, participate in research seminars, represent the Center at events, interact with guest speakers, colleagues and students, shape programming and participate in the broader intellectual life of the Center. Since 2015, more than 30 visiting and CU faculty have participated in the program.

Catherine (Catie) Steidl, scholar in residence with the Classics Department, is returning for a second year. Steidl received her PhD from Brown University in 2018. Steidl has conducted archaeological fieldwork in multiple countries, most recently at Koç University, Istanbul, Turkey and was a Lecturer at Dartmouth College. Her research focuses on the dynamics of community belonging and interaction in the 1st millennium BCE, the processes of migration in the Mediterranean during this period, and how material culture can be used to study identity and interaction in contexts of cross-cultural interaction and mobility, In fall 2021, Dr. Steidl will again teach Mediterranean Migrations, a course of her own design which deals directly with the topics and themes of her research.

Tristan Rogers, scholar in residence with the Philosophy Department, was a Lecturer in Philosophy at UC Davis and CSU, Sacramento. He completed his PhD at the University of Arizona in 2017. Rogers works in political philosophy, ethics, and ancient philosophy. His book, The Authority of Virtue: Institutions and Character in the Good Society, was published by Routledge in November 2020. He is currently working on his next book, under contract with Routledge, tentatively titled Conservatism Past and Present: A Philosophical Introduction. Rogers grew up in Canada and lives in Sacramento with his wife, two daughters, and dog, Argos. In his spare time, he enjoys writing and playing music. In fall 2021, Dr. Rogers will teach History of Ancient Philosophy.

The three new Benson Center Faculty Fellows were selected from faculty rostered in academic disciplines across the CU Boulder campus. 

Matthew Burgess is an assistant professor in the Environmental Studies Program, a faculty affiliate in Economics, and a fellow at the Cooperative Institute in Environmental Sciences (CIRES). His research interests are economic growth futures and their environmental impacts, natural resource management and conservation, mathematical modeling of human-environment systems, and political polarization of environmental issues. Burgess has worked extensively on promoting intellectual diversity and dialog on campus, including organizing the CU Reducing Polarization Dialog series and developing a course (ENVS 3555) that centers these ideals in an environmental context. These efforts which were recognized with a 2020 Heterodox Academy Open Inquiry Award. Burgess has a BSc from the University of Toronto and a PhD from the University of Minnesota. As a faculty fellow, Burgess is interested in exploring “new collaborative programming opportunities around reducing polarization of climate change and environmental issues.”

Paul Diduch, an instructor in the Herbst Program for Engineering, Ethics & Society, also directs the Herbst Certificate for Engineering, Ethics & Society and the Herbst “Culture Wars in Rome” study abroad program at CU Boulder. Diduch considers himself first and primarily a scholar of ancient philosophy, mainly Platonic philosophy, and secondarily a student, teacher, and researcher of the history and philosophy of science, with special emphasis on the cultural and political implications of technology. Diduch has an MA in Political Science/Political Theory from the University of Alberta and a PhD from the Institute of Philosophic Studies at the University of Dallas. Diduch says, “I think it is especially important for students to see the virtues of liberal debate, intellectual charity, and genuine freedom of thought reflected in [Benson Center] public forums.”

Taylor Jaworski is an assistant professor in the Department of Economics. His research and teaching interests are in economic history and economic geography. Jaworski has been a regular participant in Benson Center faculty seminars and a host/panelist in several events including lectures with Jared Rubin and Noel Johnson, and the Hamilton: The Man Behind the Musical panel discussion. Jaworski received his BA from The George Washington University, MSc from the London School of Economics and PhD from the University of Arizona. Jaworski is particularly interested in bringing lecturers to CU “that can speak to researchers in a range of fields as well as engage with the public on the critical issues of our time.”

The Benson Center promotes study of the intellectual, artistic and political traditions that characterize Western civilization. The Center offers a forum for free inquiry and supports academic freedom and intellectual diversity on campus in a time of increasing political polarization and homogeneity.    

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