The grand strategists of tomorrow will not have to wait a year to begin their training.
Professors John Gaddis and Paul Kennedy and diplomat-in-residence Charles Hill said they will teach their two-semester seminar “Grand Strategy” again beginning this spring, rather than waiting until next spring as they had originally planned.
Gaddis said a high level of student interest and the Bush administration “dramatically changing American grand strategy” this year were the reasons why the course would be taught again next year.
“We are living in an extremely important time internationally,” Hill said. “The ideas that become institutionalized will affect the way people do things for a decade or more.”
The course focuses on grand strategy in areas including warfare, globalization, finance, culture and ideology. The year-long course begins in the spring semester. During the summer between semesters, students participate in research or internships related to the course.
Admission to the course, which will be cross-listed in the History and Political Science departments, is by application only.
Hill said the interdisciplinary course — open to both undergraduates and graduate students — is aimed at training students to be leaders in many aspects of world affairs.
“We want to broaden education,” Hill said. “You cannot simply take a single view. You need to be multidimensional.”
Gaddis said the course is designed with the understanding that many Yale students will be leaders — of countries, businesses and movements. He added that the narrow emphasis of majors and professional paths often pushes students into “folding their wings.”
“We see it as long-term investment in the future,” Gaddis said. “We believe in training generalists.”
Gaddis said the course has attracted attention elsewhere, including Washington, D.C., and the Naval and U.S. Army War Colleges.
“As far as I know we are the only Ivy League school that is doing this,” Gaddis said. “It is unusual enough that other people are talking about it.”
The spring semester focuses on classic grand strategists of the past, including Sun Tzu, Thucydides, Machiavelli and Kant. Hill said he hoped to break ground by adding other classic texts not always associated with grand strategy, including possibly Paradise Lost.
During the summer students participate in research projects and internships, which Hill said would be “not just your average internship.”
In the fall semester the course turns to contemporary issues in grand strategy including some simulations of a possible event, Hill said.
Eleanore Douglas ’03, who is finishing “Grand Strategy” this semester, said she did research for a professor at the Naval War College last summer. She said it was one of the best summer experiences she ever had.
Gaddis said the course has a ratio of undergraduates to graduate students of 60-40.
“We find Yale College students to be very good at this, but we do not want to change the graduate level of the course,” Hill said.
Douglas said when she applied to the course she thought, “If I take this class it will probably change my life.”
“It definitely did,” Douglas said. “It gives you a framework for looking at the world.”