Philosopher Wins Fellowship to Produce “Good Life” Guide to Rome


Scott Samuelson, professor of philosophy at Kirkwood Community College in Iowa, has been awarded a Mellon/ACLS Community College Faculty Fellowship to put together a philosophical guidebook to the city of Rome focusing on the idea of a good life.

His project is called “Rome as a Guide to the Good Life: A Philosophical Grand Tour”:

Given all that’s been written about Rome, it’s astonishing there isn’t a philosophical guidebook to the city. “Rome as a Guide to the Good Life” fills that gap by exploring how philosophers, artists, and travelers think about the Eternal City to envision what it means to live well. An eclectic guide to ethics, mixing theory and history, this book roots philosophy in the sites of Rome. What does it mean to see the Forum like Cicero or the Colosseum like Augustine? What does Raphael’s Loggia of Cupid and Psyche teach about love and the soul? What can be learned from the tombs of the Non-Catholic Cemetery about how to build a life? “Rome as a Guide to the Good Life” shows how sculptures, paintings, buildings, and piazzas can be occasions not only for history and beauty, but also for self-knowledge and happiness.

What other cities would this kind of project be good for?

Professor Samuelson won the Hiett Prize in the Humanities in 2015. You can read excerpts from an interview with him here.

The Mellon/ACLS Community College Faculty Fellowships, sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the American Council of Learned Societies, “recognize humanities and social science faculty who teach at two-year institutions and their vital contributions to scholarship, teaching, and their communities.” They include a stipend of up to $40,000 to be used for any activities or expenses related to advancing the project.

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