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Shadia B. Drury (born 1950) is a Canadian academic and political commentator of Egyptian Arab Christian origin. She is Canada Research Chair in Social Justice at the University of Regina, in Regina, the provincial capital of Saskatchewan, Canada. In 2005, she was elected to fellowship in the Royal Society of Canada. She is a columnist for Free Inquiry magazine.
Education and academic interests
Drury was educated at Queen's University (BA Hons, MA), in Kingston, Ontario, and York University (Ph.D., Political Science, 1978) in Toronto, Ontario. Her doctoral thesis was entitled The Concept of Natural Law.
Drury has taught Political Science and Philosophy at two western Canadian universities: first at the University of Calgary and now at the University of Regina, where she holds the Canada Research Chair in Social Justice. Her objective in the position is to undertake an extensive publishing program, which includes books on St. Thomas Aquinas's theory of justice and its relation to the current Darwinian trends, a critique of the rise of populism in Canada, an analysis of the liberal and conservative approaches to tradition (Tradition and Taboo), and a book on the relationship between Western liberalism and the growth of radical feminism.
Drury has stated her aim as an interdisciplinary social scientist is to temper enthusiasm for social ideals and values that are taken too seriously and which thus threaten moderation and justice. In her opinion, when society starts to believe that its ideals and values are "worthy of every sacrifice, every hardship and every abomination", moderation and justice are threatened. Accordingly, much of her writing is aimed at a debunking of, or an attempt at critique of, extreme political views, as she sees them.
In Drury's opinion, contemporary society is threatened by a small school of American academics labeled Straussians, after the German born, Jewish-American political scientist, Leo Strauss (1899–1973). She has not shied away from voicing a critical interpretation of Strauss' work, linking it to American right-wing public policy. In print and on the airwaves she has stated that Straussians are a "cult" (CBC Radio, Michael Enright interview CBC Sunday Edition), a group of dangerous people who need to be exposed and analyzed not in terms of what they say, but what they do.
Several leading political philosophers consider Drury's attacks on Strauss and his followers to be unfounded. In his 2009 book, Straussophobia: Defending Leo Strauss and Straussians against Shadia Drury and Other Accusers, Peter Minowitz argues that Drury’s work is “plagued by exaggerations, misquotations, contradictions, factual errors, and defective documentation.” Thomas Pangle, former professor of political philosophy at Yale, has described Drury's writings on Strauss as simplistic, incompetent, and unscholarly.
She has also received criticism as a result of her latest book where she examines "two equally arrogant and self-righteous civilizations confronting one another". In Terror and Civilization: Christianity, Politics, and the Western Psyche, Drury regards the contemporary political problem as "thoroughly Biblical." "Each (civilization) is convinced that it is on the side of God, truth and justice, while its enemy is allied with Satan, wickedness, and barbarism."
Drury has been active in publicly countering members of the Calgary School, a group of right-wing academics at the University of Calgary who have advised the Conservative Party. She often compares American right-wing policy with the Alberta-bred Reform Party-Canadian Alliance Party, one of the predecessors of the Conservative Party formed through a merger between it and the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada which has formed a minority government since 2006, with former Reform Party MP Stephen Harper as its leader and Prime Minister.
Despite her efforts to link members of "the Calgary School" to Leo Strauss, they have dismissed the connection and have labeled her work "Strauss for morons".
List of works
- The Concept of Natural Law, Thesis (Ph.D.)--York University, 1978. Canadian Theses Division, National Library, Ottawa, Canadiana: 790230615
- Law and Politics: Readings in Legal and Political Thought. Edited with introduction and essay by Shadia B. Drury ; associate editor, Rainer Knopff. Calgary: Detselig, 1980. ISBN 0-920490-12-3
- The Political Ideas of Leo Strauss, Revised Edition. New York: St. Martin's Press,(originally published in 1988) 2005.
- Alexandre Kojève: The Roots of Postmodern Politics. Palgrave Macmillan. 1994. ISBN 0-312-12092-3
- Leo Strauss and the American Right. Palgrave Macmillan. 1999. ISBN 0-312-21783-8
- Terror and Civilization: Christianity, Politics, and the Western Psyche. Palgrave Macmillan, 2004 ISBN 1-4039-6404-1
- Aquinas and Modernity: The Lost Promise of Natural Law. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. 2008. ISBN 0-7425-2258-X
- Canada. Canada Research Chairs. (web site) available online  5 August 2005.
- Drury, Shadia B. Alexandre Kojève: The Roots of Postmodern Politics. Palgrave Macmillan: London, 1994. ISBN 0-312-12092-3
- Drury, Shadia B. The Political Ideas of Leo Strauss. 1st ed. Macmillan: London, 1988. ISBN 0-333-41256-7
- Drury, Shadia B. Leo Strauss and the American Right. Palgrave Macmillan: London, 1999. ISBN 0-312-21783-8
- Drury, Shadia B. Terror and Civilization: Christianity, Politics, and the Western Psyche. Palgrave Macmillan: London, 2004. ISBN 1-4039-6404-1
- Official website
- Shadia Drury: Leo Strauss and the American Right, On Point radio show. May 15, 2003.
- Matthew Rothschild. Shadia Drury interview: Political Ideas of Leo Strauss, Progressive Radio, 2005.
- The New Machiavelli: Leo Strauss and the Politics of Fear, CBC, April 27, 2005.
- Shadia Drury. Leo Strauss and the Grand Inquisitor, Free Inquiry magazine, June 2004.
- Shadia Drury. Leo Strauss and the neoconservatives, Evatt Foundation, September 11, 2004.
- Shadia Drury, "Gurus of Endless War", New Humanist, May/June 2007
- Thom Hartmann. Book: Leo Strauss and the American Right, by Shadia Drury, Buzz Flash, August 4, 2005.
- Michael Doliner. Book Review: Leo Strauss and the American Right, Swans.com, October 10, 2005.
- "Strauss and the Straussians" conservative criticism of Strauss by Professor Paul Gottfried.
- "Leo Strauss and History" conservative criticism of Strauss by Professor Claes G. Ryn.
- "Free Inquiry editorial staff".
- Peter Minowitz, Straussophobia: Defending Leo Strauss and Straussians against Shadia Drury and Other Accusers (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2009).
- Leo Strauss: An Introduction to His Thought and Intellectual Legacy. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 2006
- "Terror and Civilization: Christianity, Politics, and the Western Psyche". jknirp. jknirp. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
- "School for paranoia: The not-so-scary 'school' behind Stephen Harper" National Post 28/01/06