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Washington, DC Varieties of American Conservatism, Part 2 July 30 – August 5, 2017

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Part of our 7-week Political Studies Program. Apply for this course or our full summer program. $500 stipend, plus course materials and housing.

The story of American politics in the twentieth century cannot be told without reference to the conservative movement. This collection of journalists, policy experts, activists, and politicians, and the journals and institutions around which they congregated, had a decisive impact on the Republican Party and on the country that is still being felt today. Indeed, so successful was modern American conservatism in reorienting the intellectual and political direction of the country that its opponents, including President Obama, have sought to emulate its tactics if not its goals.

Whence did this movement arise? How did the ideas and arguments put forth in obscure magazines come to shape the worldview and policy of American presidents and congressional leaders? Who were the principal intellectual figures of the conservative movement, and how did they seek to influence American elites?

Through a close reading of essays, opinion pieces, and political speeches, students will trace how the principles of conservative leaders have been translated into concrete reality. Students will recall the biographies and histories of important conservative figures and publications such as William F. Buckley Jr.’s National Review, Irving Kristol’s Public Interest, Norman Podhoretz’s Commentary, and Robert Bartley’s Wall Street Journal. And they will reflect on what the story of that movement might teach us about the status and prospects of conservative thought and practice today.

This course is offered in two parts. The first week will cover the early years of the conservative movement, with sessions on libertarianism, traditionalism, anti-Communism, and the founding of National Review. The second week will cover the 1960s to the present day, with sessions on neoconservatism, populism, the religious right, and the current conservative moment. Students may apply to attend both weeks of the course, only the first week, or only the second week.

Time and Location
This one-week course will take place in Washington, DC. It is a full-time commitment for Monday–Friday, with required sessions in the morning, afternoon, and some evenings.

Syllabus

Recommended Reading: To learn more about the figures covered in this course, we encourage you to visit ContemporaryThinkers.org, a website devoted to the ideas and influence of pioneering intellectuals of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Sponsored by the Hertog Foundation, ContemporaryThinkers.org includes sites devoted to Irving Kristol, Edward C. Banfield, Nathan Glazer, James Q. Wilson, and many others.

Session 1: The Neoconservatives

Readings:


Session 2: The Populists

Readings:

Film Screening:


Session 3: The Religious Conservatives

Readings:


Session 4: Neos vs. Paleos

Readings:


Session 5: Reformicons & the Alt Right

Readings:

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July 23 – July 29, 2017
Varieties of American Conservatism, Part 1

The story of American politics in the twentieth century cannot be told without reference to the conservative movement. This collection of journalists, policy experts, activists, and politicians, and the journals and institutions around which they congregated, had a decisive impact on the Republican Party and on the country that is still being felt today. Indeed, so successful was modern American conservatism in reorienting the intellectual and political direction of the country that its opponents, including President Barack Obama, have sought to emulate its tactics if not its goals.

Whence did this movement arise? How did the ideas and arguments put forth in obscure magazines come to shape the worldview and policy of American presidents and congressional leaders? Who were the principal intellectual figures of the conservative movement, and how did they seek to influence American elites?

Through a close reading of essays, opinion pieces, and political speeches, students will trace how the principles of conservative leaders have been translated into concrete reality. Students will recall the biographies and histories of important conservative figures and publications such as William F. Buckley Jr.’s National Review, Irving Kristol’s Public Interest, Norman Podhoretz’s Commentary, and Robert Bartley’s Wall Street Journal. And they will reflect on what the story of that movement might teach us about the status and prospects of conservative thought and practice today.

This course is offered in two parts. The first week will cover the early years of the conservative movement, with sessions on libertarianism, traditionalism, anti-Communism, and the founding of National Review. The second week will cover the 1960s to the present day, with sessions on neoconservatism, populism, the religious right, and the current conservative moment. Students may apply to attend both weeks of the course, only the first week, or only the second week.

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