Joseph Postell

Position: Faculty Fellow, Graduate School of Government

Higher education is one of the few remaining environments where human beings can be at leisure to read, think, and study. Hillsdale College is one of the few remaining places in higher education where students are actively encouraged and required to engage in those activities. This opportunity to be at leisure to think about the most fundamental and pressing questions of modern life is precious and transformative.

As a first-year undergraduate at a liberal arts college, my own life was changed over several evenings of reading in the library about the history of the French Revolution. It was in that moment that I realized the importance of the perennial and perplexing questions in which we engage in the liberal arts setting. I switched my major to political science, history, and philosophy, and have never looked back.

In my graduate studies, I focused extensively on political theory, but my current thinking and research are directed to understanding the political institutions that determine how politics works in America. I am especially interested in understanding the modern administrative state, Congress, and political parties. We must grapple with the interaction of these institutions, and how they relate to the basic principles of American constitutionalism, if we want to preserve and restore constitutional government in the United States.

In my teaching, I aim to engage students in a common enterprise, where we think together and discuss fundamental questions. My goal is not to instruct, but to educate students. That requires active and thoughtful engagement rather than passively receiving information. I am blessed to be at a place like Hillsdale where the students are drawn to this model of education and thrive in such an environment.