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Politics Faculty

Claes G. Ryn – Ordinary Professor


Ryn's areas of research and teaching include the history of Western political thought, politics and the imagination, historicism, the theory of knowledge, conservatism, American political thought, constitutionalism, and the moral and cultural dimensions of international relations.  Ryn has taught also at the University of Virginia, Georgetown University, and Louisiana State University.

Ryn is the Founding Director of the new Center for the Study of Statesmanship at Catholic University.  The Center studies the moral, cultural and political preconditions of peaceful and respectful relations among persons, peoples and civilizations and explores sources of foreign policy and domestic leadership in keeping with American traditions of restraint and compromise.

The recipient of many awards and grants, Professor Ryn was named Outstanding Graduate Professor by the CUA Graduate Student Association in 1992. In 2011 he received the CUA faculty award for Distinguished Achievement in Research.

His many books include A Common Human Ground, America the Virtuous, Will, Imagination and Reason, Democracy and the Ethical Life, and the novel A Desperate Man.  He has published and lectured widely on both sides of the Atlantic and in Asia, especially China.  In 2000 he gave the Distinguished Foreign Scholar Lectures at Beijing University, which published this series as a book, Unity Through Diversity (in Chinese translation). Three of Ryn's books and many of his other writings have appeared in Chinese translation.

In 2012 Beijing Normal University named him Honorary Professor. Ryn is editor of Humanitas.  He was co-founder and President of the Academy of Philosophy and Letters and co-founder and Chairman of the National Humanities Institute. He served as president of the Philadelphia Society. He was chairman of the Department from 1979 to 1985.

Name teaching



Research, Writing, Honors and Appointments

Recent Articles and Edited Volumes

"Conservatives in Denial," The American Conservative, October 26, 2016.

"How Desperate Should We Be?" Humanitas 28:1-2, 2015.

"Political Morality Reconsidered: A Rejoinder," Humanitas 28:1-2, 2015.

"The Moral Path to Peace," The American Conservative, Nov./Dec. 2014

"Eric Vogelin and Irving Babbitt," Vogelin View, Nov. 7, 2014

"Power without Limits:  The Allure of Political Idealism and the Crumbling of American Constitutionalism," Humanitas 26:1-2, 2013


A Desperate Man (Athena Books, 2014)

America the Virtuous: The Crisis of Democracy and the Quest for Empire (Transaction Publishers, 2003)

A Common Human Ground: Universality and Particularity in a Multicultural World (University of Missouri Press, 2003)

The New Jacobanism:  Can Democracy Survive? (National Humanities Institute, 1991, 2nd edition 2011)

Will, Imagination, and Reason:  Irving Babbitt and the Problem of Reality (Regnery Books, 1986)

Democracy and the Ethical Life:  A Philosophy of Politics and Community (LSU Press, 1978, 2nd edition 1990)


Honors and Appointments

Founding Director, Center for the Study of Statesmanship, 2017-present.

Honorary Professor, Beijing Normal University, 2012-present.

Professor of Politics, Catholic University of America, 1982-present.

Adjunct Professor of Politics, Georgetown University, 2002-2006.

Associate Professor of Politics, Catholic University of America, 1978-1982.

Visiting Associate Professor of Government and Foreign Affairs, University of Virginia, 1981.

Assistant Professor of Politics, Catholic University of America, 1974-1978. 

> Claes Ryn's CV



Office: 473 Law School 
The Catholic University of America
620 Michigan Ave.
Washington, D.C. 20064

Phone: 202-319-6225




  • POL 359 – Ancient and Medieval Political Thought
  • POL 428 -- Conservatism and American Politics
  • POL 651 – Political Theory I
  • POL 652 – Political Theory II
  • POL 723 -- Politics and the Imagination
  • POL 737 -- Historicism and the Ethics of Politics


Ph.D. Louisiana State, 1974


Areas of Expertise

  • Western political thought
  • Ethics
  • Politics and Culture
  • Historical Consciousness
  • Constitutionalism
  • Philosophy of International Relations

> Curriculum Vitae