Washington DC


 

Classics of Historical Thought and Literature     

James M. Banner, Jr. '57

Tuesdays, October 3- November 7,  6:30 - 8:00 pm

Location: Kramerbooks and Afterwords Cafe, 1517 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036

**This location is not Handicapped accessible

 

Course Description: 

We often forget two aspects of historical thought and literature: 1. That it has its own history extending back to no later than the works of Homer; and 2. That history can be read as literature as well as knowledge about the past. This course will approach these two aspects of written history through some classic works of historical literature— such as those of Herodotus, Thucydides, Eusebius, Lorenzo Valla, Nicolo Machiavelli, Edward Gibbon, Thomas Carlyle, and Leopold von Ranke —while exploring the context of each of their works and, at the end of the course, making a quick run through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  The course seeks to make clear that history has a history of its own, that historical thought and knowledge are never stable.  The course also seeks to introduce you to the pleasures of immersing yourself in ways of treating the past that are different from those encountered today in most works of history.

 

Course material:

John Burrow, A History of Histories: Epics, Chronicles, and Inquiries from Herodotus and Thucydides to the Twentieth Century, available in a Vintage paperback.

 

Syllabus:

Week 1- Oct. 3: Introduction: Herodotus, Thucydides.  Burrow: Prologue, Chaps. 1, 2

Week 2- Oct. 10: Christian historiography: Eusebius et al.  Burrow: Chaps. 12-15

Week 3- Oct. 17: The Renaissance: Valla, Machiavelli, Guicciardini.  Burrow: Chaps. 16, 18

Week 4- Oct. 24: The Enlightenment: Gibbon. et al Burrow: Chap. 21

Week 5- Oct. 31: Revolutions and Romantics: Macauley, Carlyle, Michelet.  Burrow: Chap. 22

Week 6- Nov. 7: Modernity: Burckhardt, Ranke.  Burrow: Chaps. 23, 25

 

James M.Banner '57

James M. Banner, Jr., holds a B.A. from Yale and a Ph.D. from Columbia, where he studied with Richard Hofstadter.  He was a member of the history department of Princeton University from 1966 to 1980, which he left to found the American Association for the Advancement of the Humanities.  A former Guggenheim Fellow, fellow of the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History at Harvard, member of the board of directors of the American Council of Learned Societies, and Fulbright Visiting Professor of American History at Charles University, Prague, he is the author of many books and articles in American history, education, and public affairs.   They include To the Hartford Convention: The Federalists and the Origins of Party Politics in Massachusetts, 1789-1815; with James M. McPherson et al., Blacks in America: Bibliographical Essays; with Harold C. Cannon,  The Elements of Teaching and The Elements of Learning; and, most recently, Being a Historian: An Introduction to the Professional World of History.  He is currently writing a book about revisionist history tentatively entitled “Battles Over the Past: Revisionist History—What It Is, Why We Have It” and hoping for a production of a play, “Good and Faithful Servants,” drawn from the correspondence between John and Abigail Adams and Thomas Jefferson.  Banner was a co-founder of the History News Service and the moving spirit behind the National History Center.


 

America and the Collapse of World Order:  Reflections on Past and Present

Robert Kagan '80

Wednesdays, October 4- November 8,  5:30 - 7:30 pm

Location: Kramerbooks and Afterwords Cafe, 1517 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036

**This location is not Handicapped accessible

 

Course Description: 

What is America’s proper relationship with the rest of the world?  Twice in the past century, in 1919 and 1945, Americans have faced that question and answered in very different ways.  They are now facing that question again.  How will Americans answer?  How should they answer?  This course will explore ways of looking at this most fundamental of issues.  It will examine the nature of the international system and the place of the United States within that system.  What are American interests in the world and what, if any, are America’s responsibilities, to itself and to the international system?  How high a price should Americans pay to uphold an international order?  The course will compare the past with the present and look at both continuities and discontinuities in thinking about American foreign policy over the past hundred years as a way of understanding and situating the present debate in a historical context.

 

Required Texts:

Robert Kagan, The World America Made, 2012

 

Syllabus: 

Week 1- Oct 4: America and the World -- 1900-1918

Week 2- Oct 11: 1920-1940

Week 3- Oct 18: The World America Made 1945-1989

Week 4- Oct 25: The End of History/ The Indispensable Nation

Week 5- Nov 1: Disillusion and the Post-American World

Week 6- Nov 8: America at the Crossroads

 

Professor Robert Kagan '80

Robert Kagan is a senior fellow in the Project on International Order and Strategy in the Foreign Policy Program at the Brookings Institution. His most recent book is The New York Times bestseller, The World America Made (Random House, 2012).

Kagan also serves as a member of the secretary of state’s foreign affairs policy board. He writes a monthly column on world affairs for The Washington Post.

Among his many additional works, Kagan’s books include: The Return of History and the End of Dreams (Knopf 2008), Dangerous Nation: America’s Place in the World from its Earliest Days to the Dawn of the 20th Century (Knopf, 2006), and Of Paradise and Power (Knopf, 2003). His most recent writing include: “The Twilight of the Liberal World Order” in Brookings Big Ideas for America (Brookings Institution Press, 2017) and “Backing into World War III” in Foreign Policy.

In 2016, Politico Magazine named him as one of “Politico’s 50,” the collection of leading “thinkers, doers, and visionaries transforming American politics.” He served in the State Department from 1984 to 1988 as a member of the policy planning staff, as principal speechwriter for Secretary of State George P. Shultz, and as deputy for policy in the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs.

Kagan is a graduate of Yale University and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and holds a doctorate in American history from American University.


 

A Global Tour of Economics, Politics, Culture and International Relations (Part 1)          

Paul Sullivan, ’86 PhD, Professor of Economics at the National Defense University, Adjunct Professor of Security Studies at Georgetown University

Saturdays, October 7- November 11,  10:00 - 12:00 pm

Location: Kramerbooks and Afterwords Cafe, 1517 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036

**This location is not Handicapped accessible

 

Course Description: 

This course will provide a practical intellectual tour of various countries in the world through the lenses of their economies, politics, cultures and international relations.  We also will look at the similarities, differences and connections across these countries and their regions to better understand the global environment via understanding national and regional environments. There will also be discussions about US, Chinese, Russian, Indian, EU and others’ relations with these various countries along the way.

All readings will be provided in each session's scope sheets and will be internet links to practical, readable and hopefully very interesting articles related to the country of focus of that day.

 

Syllabus:

Week 1- Oct 7: The economics, politics, cultures and international relations of Saudi Arabia

Week 2- Oct 14:  The economics, politics, cultures and international relations of Egypt

Week 3- Oct 21:  The economics, politics, cultures and international relations of Iran 

Week 4- Oct 28:  The economics, politics, cultures and international relations of Japan

Week 5- Nov 4:  The economics, politics, cultures and international relations of Mongolia 

Week 6- Nov 11:  The economics, politics, cultures and international relations of North Korea

 

Dr. Paul Sullivan, '81 M.A., '82 M.Phil, '86 Ph.D 

  

Dr. Paul Sullivan has been a professor of economics at the National Defense University (NDU) since July 1999. He has been a primary faculty adviser to U.S. officers at the colonel and equivalent ranks, and flag officers from the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Europe and East Asia while at NDU. He has been part of the leadership and faculty of the NDU Energy Industry Study for 15 years. Dr. Sullivan has run field studies on the energy, environment and agribusiness industries in Tanzania, Egypt, Morocco, Spain, Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, France, Greece, Turkey, the UAE, Qatar, Australia, Japan, Mongolia, China, and many other places as part of his duties at NDU. Dr. Sullivan is an Adjunct Professor of Security Studies at Georgetown University, where he has taught classes on global energy and international security (which include analyses of energy issues for the EU, Russia, the Middle East and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, India, China, Japan, Southeast Asia, Australia, the United States, Canada, and the Arctic) for over 13 years. He is a Senior International Fellow at the National Council of U.S. Arab Relations and an Adjunct Senior Fellow for Future Global Resource Threats at the Federation of American Scientists. He is an internationally recognized expert on the economics, politics, and energy, water and security in the MENA region and parts of Asia. He has a Ph.D. (highest honors) from Yale, graduated Summa Cum Laude from Brandeis, and was in the 2006 class of Seminar XXI at MIT. His experiences and knowledge from very recent professional and personal travels to the Middle East, Japan and Mongolia will also contribute to the class.

 


 

""