Writer and Independent Scholar
PhD in Political Science, 2003
An Adjunct Research Professor in the Political Science department, Robert concluded a 40-year career in journalism in 2017. While working on his doctorate in the 1990s, he joined the Ottawa Citizen editorial board to write editorials, columns and essays, earning more than a dozen journalism awards over the years. Since graduating, he’s produced several books, including Northern Spirits: John Watson, George Grant, and Charles Taylor – Appropriations of Hegelian Political Thought (2008), The Way of the 88 Temples: Journeys on the Shikoku Pilgrimage (2013), and The Way of the Stars: Journeys on the Camino de Santiago (2012). More recently, he contributed two chapters for the book Hegel and Canada: Unity of Opposites? and co-edited and contributed to Sojourns in the Western Twilight (2016), a festschrift honouring long-time Carleton professor Tom Darby.
Robert is currently writing a philosophic pilgrimage – The Way of Mountains: Journeys in the Spirit of Nietzsche and Heidegger – for the University of Virginia Press. And he’s preparing an academic paper after becoming obsessed with understanding how Kierkegaard and Heidegger use the concept of repetition as an hermeneutic device. He thinks Nietzsche’s doctrine of eternal recurrence fits in there somehow if he can only figure out how.
“A good teacher,” George Steiner said, “is an alarm awakening us from a state of amnesia.” I came to Carleton in a mood of disillusion after a couple of decades as a journalist. Studying philosophy with the department’s teachers not only woke me from my amnesia but also rejuvenated my career.