Peter Berkowitz on liberal education

Peter Berkowitz and Bill Kristol

Conversations with Bill Kristol | 2015

Hertog Political Studies dean Peter Berkowitz is interviewed on Conversations with Bill Kristol. An excerpt:

BERKOWITZ: But there’s another matter, another route to follow, and that’s a route that’s followed by organizations that you’re intimately involved with and I as well, the Tikvah Fund and the Hertog Foundation. . . .

These foundations that we are both involved in are, in my view, are doing amazing work. What they’re doing is, in effect, creating an alternative academic universe. Tikvah, the Tikvah Fund, headquartered in New York City, specializes in educational programs both in Israel and in the United States, and the subjects are both a wide range of Jewish subjects but also principles of politics and economics. Subjects generally and for the most part, that really are neglected at our universities.

The Hertog, the Hertog Foundation is, I suppose, in its way more eclectic but it still concentrates in educational programs. You’ve taught in the Hertog Political Studies summer program in Washington, DC. It’s a six-week program that introduces students at a high level, political philosophy, American political thought, American politics, foreign policy – a kind of study that really is hard to come by at the universities.

We’ve been, so far, we’ve talked a lot about politicization of the curriculum but there’s also scientism in the university, such that a significant part of the offerings of a political science program will involve study of methods for studying political science. And those subjects that draw not just young people but people to the study of politics – questions about justice and injustice, questions about power, questions about diplomacy, military might and so on. Questions about public policy. These questions often get neglected in political science departments, and the Hertog Foundation brings it together in their program. 


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