Foundations of Grand Strategy
Assess grand strategic theory and practice in Thucydides and Plutarch.
Why do nations go to war? Do shifts in the balance of power between rising and status quo powers inevitably produce conflict? What challenges are democracies likely to face in fighting a long war against a determined, ideologically hostile adversary? Is there a “Thucydides Trap,” and if so, can we avoid it?
Thucydides wrote that his history was for “those inquirers who desire an exact knowledge of the past as an aid to the understanding of the future.” In this seminar, distinguished Yale historian and classicist Donald Kagan will reprise one of his most popular courses – a close study both of the Peloponnesian War and Thucydides’ account of it, with a view toward elucidating the fundamental and recurring problems of geopolitics at all times and places.
Donald Kagan on war and human nature
This course will take place over 12 weekly evening sessions (6:00 – 8:00 pm) at the Hertog Foundation’s office in Washington, DC. Dinner will be served.
Donald Kagan is the Sterling Professor Emeritus of Classics and History at Yale University. His four-volume History of the Peloponnesian War is the leading scholarly work on the subject. He is also the author of many books on ancient and modern topics, including On the Origins of War and the Preservation of Peace.
Donald Kagan is the Sterling Professor Emeritus of Classics and History at Yale University. His four-volume History of the Peloponnesian War is the leading scholarly work on the subject. He is also the author of many books on ancient and modern topics, including On the Origins of War and the Preservation of Peace, The Great Dialogue: A History of Greek Political Thought from Homer to Polybius, and Thucydides: The Reinvention of History.
A former dean of Yale College, he received his Ph.D. in 1958 from The Ohio State University. Professor Kagan has won numerous awards and fellowships, including four teaching awards at Cornell and Yale. In 2002 he was the recipient of the National Humanities Medal, and in 2005 was named the National Endowment for the Humanities Jefferson Lecturer.
Learn the theory, practice, organization, and control of war and military forces.
Explore the nature of the world order and America’s role in shaping it.
Study Plato’s Republic, perhaps the greatest work of political philosophy ever written.
Jakub J. Grygiel
Jakub Grygiel is an Associate Professor at the Catholic University of America. From 2017–18, he was a member of the Policy Planning Staff at the U.S. Department of State. His most recent book is Return of the Barbarians: Confronting Non-State Actors from Ancient Rome to the Present.
Diana J. Schaub is Professor of Political Science at Loyola University Maryland and a member of the Hoover Institution’s task force on The Virtues of a Free Society. From 2004 to 2009 she was a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics.
Mick Ryan is a retired major general in the Australian Army. He is now an adjunct fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC, and a non-resident fellow of the Lowy Institute in Sydney. In January 2023 Mick was also appointed as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia.
Robert Kagan is a senior fellow with the Project on International Order and Strategy in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution. He is a contributing columnist at The Washington Post. His most recent book is The New York Times bestseller, The World America Made.
Bryan Garsten is Professor of Political Science at Yale University. He writes on questions about political rhetoric and deliberation, the meaning of representative government, the relationship of politics and religion, and the place of emotions in political life.
Benjamin Storey is a senior fellow in Social, Cultural, and Constitutional Studies at the American Enterprise Institute. He recently co-authored a book with Jenna Silber Storey entitled Why We Are Restless: On the Modern Quest for Contentment.