When it comes to academic exploration and research, nurturing bright, up-and-coming scholars who are fostering intellectual growth and advancing the boundaries of knowledge, is crucial for freedom to flourish. Kevin Vallier’s academic journey illustrates the power and importance of the vast support network IHS offers.
Vallier, an associate professor of philosophy at Bowling Green State University, began his journey with IHS while in his undergraduate years at Washington University in St. Louis. As a senior in college, he discovered IHS’s Summer Seminars program. Now known as the Junior Fellowship program, this discovery opened doors to a world of intellectual engagement and challenged his initial preconceptions of classical liberal ideas. Having first attended these seminars in 2004, they served as a platform for networking and forging connections with fellow scholars, both peers and faculty. The relationships built during these events have continued to shape Kevin’s academic path to this day.
After graduating from Washington University, Vallier embarked on his graduate school journey. During this crucial period of academic development, Vallier received support from IHS via the Humane Studies Fellowship which afforded him the opportunity to hone his research and focus on publishing, reaching broader audiences with his work. Publishing is a significant benchmark for success within academia and provides scholars with the tools necessary for more widespread impact of their ideas and research. Given the great need for resources such as this, the Humane Studies Fellowship continues to serve as a critical component of a young scholar’s academic career.
As his academic career path progressed, Vaillier secured a tenure-track position at Bowling Green State University, where he also began participating in IHS events as faculty, paying it forward by contributing his expertise to future generations of scholars.
Additionally, Vallier highlights how the IHS expansion into support for academic research had a transformative and profound impact on his recent work, particularly in his current role as a senior visiting scholar at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Social Norms and Behavioral Dynamics. There, he will be joined by fellow IHS alum, Cristina Bicchieri, exploring the challenges surrounding social trust and seeking solutions for depolarization.
Most notably, Vallier utilized an IHS research discussion while in the manuscript stage for his latest book, All the Kingdoms of the World. The manuscript workshop, which took place in the spring of 2022, provided insightful feedback from a variety of scholars within the IHS network, including IHS alum, Mark Koyama, regarding religious toleration and persecution. This type of feedback was instrumental for Vallier’s book, especially in stressing the importance of allowing for space for mixing faith and politics while exploring the concept of radical federalism.
Throughout his academic journey, Vallier has come to view IHS as much more than an organization that provides scholarly financial support. He sees it as a thriving community of scholars, thinkers, and researchers, all dedicated to exploring and advancing the principles of classical liberalism, such as freedom of speech, limited government, toleration, and pluralism. He emphasizes the organization’s pivotal role in funding research across various fields and its growing commitment to building academic networks. Over the past 20 years of his involvement with IHS, Vallier has both witnessed and experienced its evolution into a vital force in advancing scholarly inquiry and facilitating collaborative endeavors.
Kevin Vallier’s journey serves as a testament to the enduring impact of support and community-building that is vital for young scholars and researchers. From his early experiences as an undergraduate to his current role as a senior visiting scholar, having a robust scholarly community has been a catalyst for his intellectual growth and academic pursuits. Stories like Kevin Vallier’s underscores the importance of fostering ideas and research dedicated to the pursuit of a thriving, more peaceful society and cultivating a community of scholars committed to advancing classical liberal ideas and exploring the intricate dynamics of our world.